Selling Food Safety to Your Employees

In today’s economic climate, businesses are trying to gain the upper hand by taking advantage of every selling opportunity. Smart business executives put together a strategic sales plan that gives the company a competitive advantage. Using social marketing methods in that plan is essential for changing consumers’ buying behaviors.

To create a safe food supply, we must develop a strategic sales plan that includes social marketing methods to sell food safety behavior to our employees. We need to ask ourselves, “Is employee behavior as important to food safety as food science?” Of course it is. For the past two years, every food safety conference has focused on creating a food safety culture and changing the behavior of food employees. This change in focus has been a great reminder that as food scientists we need to put “people” into our food safety management equation.

Let’s dive deeply into different selling strategies that have been proven effective over time and use them as part of our food safety management system. To do this, we’ll need to step away, look at our business from the outside, and think like entrepreneurs.

Believe to Achieve

The first rule of sales is that you must believe in what you are selling. You must move from being committed to food safety to being converted to practicing food safety. The words committed and converted are defined as:

• Committed—com•mit•ted (adjective): devoted, devoted to somebody or something such as a cause or relationship.

• Converted—con•vert•ed (verb): to be changed in character, form, or function.

As an adjective, the word “committed” is passive. It is a decision that you make, not an action. But the word “converted” is a verb, involving action. Once you are converted, you do not just believe in something, you change your behavior to reflect your conversion. Working in food safety is more than a job, it is a calling—a calling to protect your customers’ health and safety first.

When you are converted to practicing food safety, you take action to convert others, too. Converting employees to practice food safety usually occurs over an extended period of time, but conversion can happen more quickly if certain events occur, such as a foodborne illness outbreak, a large recall due to pathogenic contamination, or when employees are given the right tools to make following food safety practices easier.

Selling food safety must start at the top and work its way down. Start with converting your executive team. And be passionate. Passion is contagious. When you have a real passion for what you do, others will join you. Your passion for food safety should show in everything you do. When it becomes contagious, you will see food safety become second nature to all of your employees.

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