Managing & Building your route during COVID
“There are a lot of things in the process, just placing the order is the start, but there are many hands involved, but the DSR is the one who hears about it because you are the one the customers know. Do not shift blame, just take care of it.” ~ Jim Logan
How are you up from last year during COVID?
Jim: Now more than ever, the customers are looking for ways to maximize sales with the constraints that have been put upon them, so there is opportunity. Operators need us more now than ever.
When do you bring up the credit app?
Jim: Every call is unique. You can kind of feel which direction, whether it will take 3 or 4 calls or one I will have to work on a long time, but the harder they are to get, probably the longer you will have them as customers. Normally I bring up credit app by the second or third appointment. I ask what kind of terms they have currently and tell them the reason I would like to set up an account, so I can work on samples and put them on their account.
Is there a time limit in which you work to get an account?
Jim: If I think I have an opportunity to get an account, I will stay with it, but if I see that I am not making any headway with them, I wait about a month and then come back stronger with different ideas/ways because what I was doing maybe wasn’t working. If I feel I can get them, I will keep after it until I open it up. The longest I have worked to get an account was probably about a year. Sometimes you have to be leery of the accounts you open up the first call and check them out!
How do you manage A/R?
Jim: I have a mix – – a quarter who pay with credit card, some online through debit account, 50% who still like to give a check even though I explain to them the new way of payment. I collect all through the week. Of the 50%, some are C.O.D. with the drivers getting the check, but I have several customers that I pick up the check directly. Some I pick up once a week on a Friday when I got the order earlier in the week, and some I pick up the check before I take their order.
Is it more difficult due to COVID to collect?
Jim: When it first hit, I did hear the excuse that they didn’t have the money and needed to pay differently, but we worked with the customers best we could to keep stopping the trucks with still getting paid. That was mainly that first month when they were hit so hard.
Working with peers and how to get to the next level:
Jim: You must have a relationship with your peers inside, buyers, credit, fellow sales reps, drivers, etc. Your attitude and how you react to situations says it all. You must remain positive, learn from the mistake, work with your peers, and be honest so there is credibility. If you say you are going to do something with a customer, do it, for credibility.
Try to figure out why it happened so it does not happen again. Having a particularly good relationship with those you work with is important because it is your reputation and good things will happen if you work well with others.
Tips for Greenhorns:
- Earning a customer’s trust takes time.
- You must stick it out by having thick skin and keeping a positive attitude.
- Manage your time and set goals.
- Planning is huge. Take time to plan where you will be during the week.
- Have brokers and samples, be a consultant for your customers.
- Get help from other sales reps and learn.
Tips for Veterans to stay motivated:
- Always be learning and staying one step ahead of the competition.
- Outperform, outwork, outhustle the competition.
- Keep a positive attitude and be an example and leader for other sales reps not only in your district, but with the company.
- Do not be complacent, continue to strive ahead.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!