Our clients and prospective clients often ask, “How far in advance of the expiration date should I start thinking about the contract?”
The right answer is “now”.
If Your Contract Will Soon Expire:
For a contract that will expire soon, a two-year window is the least amount of time for beginning the process. If you wait until a year prior to expiration, you may not have time to easily and properly set the groundwork for a successful outcome.
Soft drink contract negotiations are much like a choreographed dance performance, in which each side has a predictable script. If you know the script and you are prepared to turn the script upside down in the right way, your chances of success are much greater. Knowing the script gives you a chance to prepare in advance the proper set, the right actions, the right meetings, and the right set of responses to meet your goals.
While two years in advance is the least amount of time for an ideal state, three years is ideal. With a three-year window, everyone involved in the process can begin to prepare at leisure.
If You Are in the Middle of Your Contract:
Contract expiry is not the only time you should think about your soft drink agreement. There are several reasons why periodic contract check-ups are important.
- Soft drink demand and consumer tastes are changing more rapidly now than they ever have been in the last 50 years.
- Benchmarking your deal periodically allows you to get a feel for how competitive your funding is. If it is way off, your competition has an advantage you will want to address.
- Where is funding going? Is it for things that are still relevant?
- Did you sign a volume commitment that is elongating the contract? If so, how can you work with your beverage partner to find a solution?
- Are you getting the appropriate level of equipment and service? Have your needs changed? Are you using all of the service your contract calls for? Make sure you aren’t leaving money sitting unlocked in these two areas.
You Always Have Options
Beverage partnerships should be two-way roads. You always have options to make sure your relationship with your supplier is optimal – both for you and for them. You and your beverage partner should always be ready to make adjustments that make sense as the beverage landscape and your business evolve. That’s what a partnership is all about, after all.
Are you interested in getting started? Contact us today.