Prospecting Tips from a Pro
“Don’t just sell, spend money with your customers.”
When making cold calls, DSR Hall of Famer, Frank Cedeno of Ben E Keith likes to do his research before actually calling on a prospect. He digs up who owns it, who they buy from, the culture, and more before walking in. Frank prefers a non-pushy style of sales. He eats at a prospect’s place two or three times before he even tells them he’s a salesman. They may begin to recognize his face as a customer or even know his name, but he simply enjoys a meal there.
Finally, when paying his tab after like the third time dining there, he might compliment them on his dinner and introduce himself, give them a card and let them know if they need anything, to just give him a call, then he says, “Dinner was great, and I’ll see you soon.”
Frank prefers not to mix the meal and a call together; it gives off the impression he is pretending to be a customer. He also may take other customers in with him to dine.
DSRs, you might want to listen to Frank talk about how he takes his customers to dinner at his other customer’s restaurants, or to a prospect’s restaurant.
“No strings attached” (not in selling mode) is the message he likes to send to the customers he takes out to eat and the prospects he’s dining at so that they don’t think he wants something in exchange other than their friendship.
Then later, a customer will tell Frank thanks for bringing the owner of XYZ restaurant in with him because now he has become a regular customer.
Frank explains to DSR Dave that he has a customer he never says “NO” to when it comes to a product they need or want to try. Frank explains that not saying “NO” about a product, makes it impossible for his customers to not rely on him.
Frank says if you tell a customer “NO,” or that you don’t have a product right off the bat, the customer will call the other guy. When a customer asks Cedeno about a product he doesn’t carry, he responds by saying, “I don’t think we have it, but let me see if I can find it for you”. If BEK does not stock it, he’ll go to the store and buy it; he’ll even go to a competitor to buy it to keep another distributor out of his account.
When buyers send out “opportunity emails” – – the dead inventory (discontinued lists), Frank tries to be the first DSR to respond and sell those products and keeps a running tally that he shares with the buyer at the end of a day that he’s sold them. He believes the buyers remember this and when he needs help bringing a product in, they may be more receptive. This also helps Frank to not have to say “NO” to his customers.
The more you give, and the more you do for your customers, the more you will get in return. It is important to not just sell but spend money with your customers.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!