Pour It On

Tips for being a sales-savvy business owner

It's not so easy being a coffee roaster in the land of latte--a.k.a. Seattle.If you want your business to amount to more than a hill of beans, you need topour on the sales savvy. Otherwise, you're just another face in a verypopulated crowd.

That's why Dillanos Coffee Roasters LLC in Sumner, Washington, goes full steamahead with its own blend of marketing moxie. "The key is differentiatingyourself," says David Morris, co-founder of the company. For Dillanos, thesecret is communicating with customers. Here's how:

For the record. Dillanos puts tape recorders inside each of its deliverytrucks so the drivers can record comments about each interaction with customerswhile it's still fresh in their minds.

Seeing is believing. Since potential customers can't always come to theroasting facility to check it out, Dillanos brings the facility to them via alively sales video. Says Morris, whose 15-minute video showcases smilingemployees and coffee seminars sponsored by the company, "It's workedtremendously."

In the loop. Another tactic the $4 million company uses is simplykeeping customers informed about things like the Monday morning office meetingdress code that requires staffers to wear T-shirts featuring their clients'logos.