back to resources

Lead Generation Guide for Wholesale Food Distributors

Rianna Greenfield
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Table of Contents

We’ve all heard the cliche that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Not only that, but your probability of successfully selling into an existing customer is closer to 70% compared to 20% for a new customer. That said, if you’re already following all the best practices for growing average order size and new product sales with your current customers, your best bet for growing your business is to look for new customers.

Whereas previously you would laboriously contact local prospects with cold calls, flyers, promotional offers, free samples, and so on, acquiring new customers in the digital age is not as time-consuming nor as costly as you might expect. Yes, you still need to build awareness, and that means having digital savvy and offering modern conveniences to your buyers, but at the same time, you can avoid wasting hours and days of your sales reps time chasing leads that may result in no business.

What are some of the most effective tactics you can use to acquire new business for your sales reps?

1. Implement a Referral Program

Did you know that 83% of happy customers are willing to refer a company to their friends and professional contacts? With that being said, implementing a referral program to your current customers is a great way to attract new buyers and grow your business. There are countless incentives you can offer to your customers, such as gift cards, free shipping, or a percentage off of their next order, for each new buyer they refer.

2. Offer Special Deals for New Customers

Getting your loyal customers to recommend new buyers is easy - capturing the attention of referrals is the hard part. Help your wholesale company stand out by offering exclusive deals to new customers. Wholesale buyers are 54% more likely to turn into repeat customers after they make three consecutive purchases with a supplier, so it is best to offer new customers a series of discounts on their first orders.

3. Get Listed In An Industry Directory

Wholesale distributor directories are a go-to resource for buyers in the foodservice industry, and getting listed in one can help expose your company to a large number of potential customers, with very little effort on your part.

4. Have An Optimized Mobile Website

The typical foodservice buyer doesn’t often have time to sit down at their computer and search the internet for local wholesale distributors. Instead, they turn to their cellphones for quick browsing during their few rare minutes of downtime. Knowing this, it is important to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. This means it needs to scale correctly to smaller screens, load quickly, and offer seamless, uninterrupted browsing.

5. Advertise Online

While taking out ads in local newspapers may no longer be that lucrative, advertising online is. Sure, online advertising and digital marketing can be intimidating (especially if you do not have a dedicated marketer on staff), but the internet is full of free and low-cost resources to help you get started. Common advertising methods for beginners include Facebook and LinkedIn ads, banners on industry websites, or promoting your wholesale company on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

6. Go To Trade Shows

A lot of credit can still be given to trade shows when it comes to generating new business for your foodservice distribution company, especially if you offer a B2B eCommerce solution for your customers. Think of trade show attendees as your own personal captive audience and have your sales reps walk the floor, showcasing your digital mobile and online ordering platform. Currently, BlueCart offers free promotional postcards to all of its suppliers - perfect for trade shows!

These are just a few of the many ways wholesale suppliers are attracting new leads and generating more revenue in the changing distribution industry. What worked best for another company, may not necessarily work well for you. With that being said, a surefire way to stand out against the competition and appeal to a wider potential customer base is to offer your buyers a comprehensive and robust B2B eCommerce experience.

Are you interested in learning more about growing your business with a mobile and online ordering platform?

To schedule your free demo, contact us at, or call (650) 242-9444 ext. 2.