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Brian Scoggin of Merchants Foodservice, Jackson, Mississippi is AFDR’s December DSR of the Month for 2017 earning him a permanent place in the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame.
Brian began his foodservice distribution career with Sysco in the maintenance department before asking the sales manager if he could try his hand in sales as an MA. The manager put him in training very soon after that and he’s been at it ever since.
Scoggin’s most difficult part of his job transition into sales was learning about the products and their particulars.
Tips on securing new accounts:
- Qualify the account to make sure it will be a profitable one for all parties involved.
- Be a customer and observe what products they are using, take inventory. How well do servers know their menu? What is the most popular item on the menu? What’s their personal favorite? How are they trained? Are they trained to upsell more profitable items? What are the servers writing the orders on or are they remembering the orders? Do they wear uniforms? What is the culture of the place?
- The information Brian gathers during this phase helps him with whether he should pursue the account, and also aides him with ideas of what he can offer the potential customer as points of service to them, as opposed to just selling them. For example, do they need a different training program for servers to better represent themselves and to increase their profitability.
- In conversation with his server or bartender as a customer, Brian likes to pick up key names of the restaurant like the owner, front-of-house manager, back-of-house manager, etc. so he knows who he’s dealing with later.
- Brian will also ask while he’s only a customer what he could do to get his foot in the door. They may say when their DSR retires or give him other helpful information.
- Scoggin’s goal is to become a part of their restaurant family without applying any sales pressure. So, he continues to come in as a customer and not as a salesman.
When it’s time to fill out the credit application, if they give him “that look,” he just starts filling it out for them, while still with them, asking them the questions.
As a part of his customer care and desire to become more like a part of their restaurant family, once Brian gets their first order and delivery, he meets the truck at their place to help them check in the products. He does this to make them comfortable if the boxes or containers they are receiving are different looking by size or shape than what they have been used to getting. His goal is to ease their mind by being there to answer any questions and to let them know he and his company care about them and are going to take care of them.
Quick tips for Greenhorns:
- Do not give up.
- Biggest concern for him was the rollercoaster of highs and the lows. As times goes on, the lows won’t be as low, and things will begin to level out more.
- PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE is KEY and will help get you through the difficult conversations, so you don’t have to dance around about yields, portion control or other product details.
- Do the homework and you can make the money.
- And, don’t be afraid to charge for it.
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!