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The Hardest thing is Learning the Products
“Product knowledge is the core of our industry.”
Hall of Fame DSR Jamie Schadt of Martin Bros. explains to DSR Dave that learning products was the hardest part of the job when she first began because she was completely new to foodservice. Jamie says that even learning what to call a product was difficult because each customer called the same product by a different name.
“Product knowledge is the core of our industry.” You must be a seeker of this essential information, otherwise you’re not valuable. If you don’t have product knowledge and don’t know how products are used in different applications… you’re almost useless.
Technology is changing the DSR job now since answers are at the customer’s fingertips. To ensure her customers keep purchasing from her, Jamie strives to make herself valuable, so they won’t want to change. She is doing this by knowing and learning how to use each of the tools that are a part of her toolbelt enabling her to be resourceful with anything her customers may need help with, not just the items she sells.
To stay on top of products, Jamie says, “I like to take new items out to my customers and ask what they would do with it. I know what I’d do with it, but based on what they say, it keeps me on trend. The perception is so different from customer to customer and segment to segment.” Then she can share the ideas with her other customers.
Also, Schadt surfs the web all the time. When customers ask about nutritionals or specs or if a product can be baked, she goes to the website for the info and she’s always amazed with the products she encounters that she wasn’t even looking for.
- Dive into learning everything about products, not just what you might find on the internet about a product.
- Never be ashamed to ask customers questions because you will grow and move forward with them and with other customers. Customers enjoy sharing their knowledge and take pride in knowing they taught you something.
- Ask your customers questions about products and how they use it even when you think you know all there is to know about it, chances are you’ll learn something new.
DSRs, Be a Resourceand Sell Something!