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Sysco Ventura’s Brian Perlman has been inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame and is the DSR of the Month for April 2019. Brian’s territory is in Los Angeles, California not far from the warehouse in Oxnard, California.
Pearlman has won Sysco’s prestigious Torchbearer award a remarkable 19 times!!
Brian got his start in the foodservice business managing restaurants after graduating from college which has helped with his success. After a few years of managing restaurants, he became interested in trying his hand at selling for a distributor and took a job with CFS Continental. Brian also did a stint of about 4 years catering with a friend when his son was young but as his son grew into sports, Brian didn’t want to miss his athletic games on weekends, which were prime catering times, so he went back to working as a distributor sales rep which was the best decision he ever made. He learned a lot from the catering from the operator side of the business dealing with distributors, which further benefitted him in his sales career which has been 31 of last the 35 years.
Being a very competitive person, Brian doesn’t like to lose even a case. He’s available seven days a week, 16-17 hours a day. He doesn’t claim to know everything but calls his brokers, specialists (his extended sales force) or whoever is needed to get them information and gets back to them. It’s about being himself and treating people the way he’d want to be treated with honesty and respect and people appreciate that.
- Uses the internet and local knowledge
- Leads with who he is and what he can do for them
- Asks what current provider does or does not do for them and leaves his card
When asked how often an operator says they are happy with their current supplier, Pearlman says, “A good 70-75% of the time an operator will indirectly indicate that they don’t need a new person just so you won’t bother them, but as a sales person you can read into that and keep going.” Next call is a warmer call and he tries not to go empty handed, taking POS, literature, etc. He lets them know he appreciates they are happy with current supplier because his customers would do that for him, but says he’d like to come back in a few weeks to check in on them and 99-100% of time, they are fine with that. It might take 3-5 months but stick with it. Change is hard for customers, it involves their habits, different delivery times, different drivers, a different DSR, and even some different product labels.
Advice for Greenhorns
The harder you work, the more breaks you’ll get. As long as you see an increase, then you’re in good shape. A territory is not built in a few months but takes a few years. Rejection was the hardest part for him because he likes people but says you must be able to withstand the highs and lows and stay in the even. Helps to grow thick skin. Tenacity is important. “No means yes. Sooner or later they’re going to say yes,” according to this award-winning DSR of the Month.
DSRs, Be a Resource… and Sell Something!