“I’ll be the most honest guy you ever dealt with and I’ll work the hardest for you.” ~ Randy McDaniel
Randy McDaniel of Sysco – Ventura, California is AFDR’s latest inductee to the AFDR Hall of Fame as the November 2020 DSR of the Month.
McDaniel began working at a milk company and got a little experience selling dairy products to schools (he also had a Little Debbie distributorship for five years). His brother started working at Sysco and suggested Randy apply for an opening, and he has been there as a Distributor Sales Rep for 25 years and is an 11-time Torchbearer Award winner.
Randy’s sales territory is in Bakersfield, California which is about 110 miles from the warehouse in Oxnard, California.
Part 1: Starting out in the business and prospecting
What was the most difficult to learn?
Randy: Products. I was fortunate to have 10 weeks of training and was given a small territory, and test kitchen to try products. We had a lot of sales classes for training. Not as much of that going on now as it was back then. Was used to selling and dealing with managers to not be intimidated and having confidence. Gained confidence from being active in sports and my upbringing.
How long did it take to be comfortable with products and selling?
Randy: Product knowledge took about a year. Asking operators about the products and how they use them, I learned so much by LISTENING to why a certain product worked and why another did not. As you have said many times on your shows, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen and Learn.
Sales class was helpful and with brokers who were willing to stay and talk/answer questions afterwards.
Of course, fellow coworkers are a valuable resource for learning and solving problems.
Randy: Gathering information from the internet for my area, reading the Sunday newspaper which has an article where a fella tries out new restaurants and reviews them, also talking about others opening soon or a second location.
Reading the publication of “The Best of Bakersfield” discussing best restaurants in categories. Going through it to check them out and cross them off as I go. Checking out internet reviews of restaurants. Just because a review is bad doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad account; it could be that their current distributor is not helping them, and I can be that guy to help them.
I like cold calling. I like people. Checking out these publications “warms up” the cold call with the owner’s name, certain plates, and their pricing range.
I service a lot of schools and convenience stores in addition to restaurants. With all the oil fields and farm workers, some of the convenience stores are killer accounts.
Randy: I walk in the front door with a goal to make the next appointment, give a little introductory about myself, letting them know I want to get to know more about them and their restaurant. Soft selling with the “good ole boy” approach. As long as they do not say to not come back, I go back the same day, same time every week. Maybe bringing a brochure or an item on special, trying to add value as a partner who wants to help them with their business. Being humble, not brash. Looking to find a connection.
“I’ll be the most honest guy you ever dealt with and I’ll work the hardest for you.”
Follow through is a must. Over time, McDaniel shows them he can be their backup for those out-of-stock items, being patient because it is a slow-growing thing, so he can get a customer for long term, not just for 6 months.
It is an interview on both sides with the prospect checking him out and him checking them out to see if it could be a valuable relationship.
What if they are totally happy with their current sales rep and distributor?
Randy: I show them what we have to offer with pricing in case their rep has become too comfortable and show them I want to work to help them not just sell them.
How long do you pursue an account you want?
Randy: If I really want an account, I will stay at it, not in an annoying way, until I retire. I let them know I am there to help them, not to just be a salesman.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!