How I Learned Everything I Needed To Know About Sales From A Vending Machine

A boy, not much older than 14 was walking down the street one afternoon. School was over, and his mind was formulating ideas on how to make money for his next big goal; his very own Nintendo Wii. He decided to sell lemonade that day, so on his way home he stopped by a grocery store and picked up some supplies. On his way out, however, he stopped in front of a couple vending machine, dug a few coins out of his pocket, and grabbed a soda and a gumball. He popped the gumball in his mouth and continued on home. Just before he walked in the front door, an idea hit him. It was so mind-blowing he almost swallowed his gum!

“Why do I always have to sit out on a busy street corner for several hours trying to sell lemonade and get sunburned in the process? I love running businesses, but sometimes a kid wants to play with his friends and not work all the time.” He thought to himself. “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life, there has to be an easier process. Hey, what about hiring somebody to do it for me? Nah, I don’t think they would appreciate that, especially if it was one of my friends… I got it! What if there was a machine that did it for me? Kind of like a vending machine of sorts? I THINK I FOUND THE ANSWER!!”

He spent the next 27 minutes drawing up an idea for a lemonade vending machine. Basically, he would make the lemonade and put it into containers that the vending machine could hold. He would then setup the vending machine at a busy street corner and let it do the work from there. It would work just like a normal vending machine: deposit money and get the lemonade. But he needed money and a vehicle to transport the machine. He went to ask his mother about it.

“Mom, I am going to make a lemonade vending machine but I need money and a vehicle to transport the machine to and from street corners. Can you help me out with this?” He asked. “Sure can.” replied Mom. “But I think I know of something even better to help you out with this.”

She went on to explain that while the lemonade vending machine idea was a good one, there was somebody else who already went through all the hassles and had done all the work. She also mentioned something about it being illegal to setup vending machines on street corners. She directed him to a couple websites where he found information on how to setup his own vending machine business. There were articles on how and where to buy vending machines, where to find suppliers and how to approach them, and how to choose the most profitable locations to setup the vending machine. Everything he needed was right in front of him, he just needed to read up on it and take action.

30 days later he had read all the information he needed to start up his vending machine business. He was able to track down some candy vending machines, a supplier, and a desirable location inside a small grocery store nearby. He had purchased the vending machines and supplies with the money he had in his savings account, and had signed a contract with the store allowing him to place the vending machines at the entrances. The day had come for him to place the vending machines inside the store, and boy was he excited! He enthusiastically setup the vending machine in its spot, filled it with some of his supplies, and talked to the owner of the store to finalize a couple minor details. Not long after, the money started to pour in. Not much at first, but it soon started to catch on and more money started to pour in. All he had to do was set it up once, and it would run by itself for the rest of its life. He now had time to play with friends and not worry about making money because the machine made the money for him!

What 4 Lessons can we take away from this?

1. Create the product once and let it sell itself

There is nothing worse than having a product but having to spend hours promoting it to make a sale. With everything you have setup and created, the product should be able to sell itself right?

2. Put your product where the people who need it can find it

Don’t stuff it away in the back closet. Don’t try and sell it to the people who don’t need it. You’ve done your research. You know who needs it and where they go to find it. Put it right in front of them.

3. Be as transparent in your sales as possible

In the example of the vending machine, you don’t have the product hidden behind a tinted window. You have it in a clear glass container where they can see it and visualize consuming it. If you have people commenting on how clear the “glass” is, you are focusing a bit too much on the sales.

4. Make sure the product is fresh

No one likes eating “old candy”, drinking “stale soda”, or looking at gunk on the vending machine. Make sure the product is fresh and the “vending machine” is always clean.

Am I missing anything you’d like to contribute? Comments are open. Add yours.

(PS: I know the picture used is a girl and the story is about a boy. Click on the picture though and read the little story on the caption and I think you’ll start to see it matches quite well. Pretty impressive eh?)

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Taylor Marek is no "newbie" when it comes to social media. Years of experience, combined with exceptional content and connections with the top industry leaders define his leadership and mark his passion. Read more here.

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