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Mike Budden of Martin Bros. Distributing in Cedar Falls, Iowa is the latest inductee into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as the DSR of the Month for October 2019.
During high school, Mike’s parents owned a C-Store that he was always around and noticed his parents really liked and respected the sales reps who called on them. Budden thought the sales rep’s job looked like fun. So, after college Mike checked out the company their rep sold for, but only a truck driver job was open, so he took it and did that job for 3 1/2 years before moving into sales for 7 years at that company. Budden felt like a little change and began working for a broker. During those 10 years as a broker, he worked with Martin Bros. some and saw an opening there and applied and has been a DSR for them for 3 ½ years.
Budden is thankful for his time as a driver because he saw things from a different perspective and listened to customers talk about their sales rep, the good and the bad. When he got into sales, from a company standpoint, he knew what the drivers went through and learned how to make things flow more smoothly by good communication.
DSR Dave and Mike agree that DSRs would greatly benefit from working with a driver every once-in-a-while on someone else’s sales route, so customers don’t know them, and listen to the feedback of what those customers say about their salespeople, and get an understanding of that job.
Product knowledge is the hardest part of the DSR’s job. He felt familiar with seeing products as a driver, but the technical details and which chicken strip, for example, out of a hundred a customer is looking for was the most difficult.
Tips for Greenhorns:
- He used brokers and buyers and culinary specialists to figure it all out.
- Take a broker or manufacturer rep to ride with you to learn about their products- -through the repetition of hearing them all day.
- Layout a good game plan of qualified leads for that rep so they’re more excited to ride with you.
- Don’t give up too soon! Don’t be afraid to fail. It takes about 5 years to feel comfortable.
- Googles accounts online, for feedback from customers
- Be a customer first
- Describes the benefits of his company and what they could offer to their business for success
- Usually shows up at consistent time and day, unless the prospect is trying to avoid him
- Try us for a month with a handful of products and see how we do for you
Tips for growing:
- Communication is key and treating your inhouse peers in different departments with respect and consideration goes a long way.
- This is a relationship business, so look for opportunity within your existing accounts to penetrate them further to become the main supplier. Chemicals, produce, or whatever you haven’t already got with them.
DSRs, Be a Resource… and Sell Something!