Do you use Manufacturer Reps/Brokers to help you when prospecting and in accounts you are already selling?
Lisa: Yes, 100%. Why wouldn’t you? Who better to show a product and give the history of it, uses, etc. than the one who reps it? I give brokers the right to go into most of my customers and drop off products/samples. The broker may call me to say they have a specific product and ask if it would be good for a particular customer, and I will tell them to go ahead and take it to them and I will let the customer know they are coming. Then I might get a call from my customer saying they loved it and can they order it… Of course! Brokers are an essential part of what we do, and they save me time.
How do you get/learn Product Knowledge?
Lisa: First thing I do is research it online and go on DOT to see what is available and research it if we do not carry it plus, I will call brokers to see if they rep the line. Mostly, I keep in touch with the brokers enough that they send me updated lists of what they broker, or I can call to see what they have that is new.
What do you do for self-development and to keep you on the cutting edge?
Lisa: For me, cooking is how I mostly do it. I hands-on cook products and take to a customer which shows me and them of its versatility. Also, when I see things out in the market and on social media that my customers are making and posting online, it allows me to see menu development ideas, or watching across the U.S. in the bigger chains, those items can be implemented into smaller restaurant operations since the smaller independents do not have the same resources that the big chains do. Plus, the big chains advertise on T.V. a new item that makes people want to go there to get that, and I can create ideas from that to implement in their restaurant.
How do you manage A/R?
Lisa: I audit every customer’s account every Sunday. I see where they are with their A/R, any credit that needs applied, if behind, I send them an email saying I need them to catch up on an invoice so we can get them their products. With COVID, I personally have told my customers that it is mandatory for them to set up on ACH, even though it is not mandatory with Merchants. I chose it and told them in order for me to service their account, ACH is better to keep them on track and rolling and not worrying about writing the check so we can talk food. You must be aggressive on this because you cannot back-pedal, or it gets you in trouble.
How do you stay on top of Credits?
Lisa: Before I shut my laptop off and end my business day, I send in every credit that needs to be done. Otherwise, they build up on you and customers are waiting on the credits to be applied.
How do you manage your customers’ online order entries to ensure nothing is missed?
Lisa: As the orders come in, as soon as I can, I open the order and go through every single item before the end of business that day. With PowerNet people, I sample them and go see them just like I would with customers that I’m taking their order live. I always follow through on additional samples and watching those accounts. I also go in to see them and add line items with suggestions and pricing I have for them, especially if something is on sale. I will jot it down on a sticky note and stick it on their computer screen or desk and tell them to look it up because I think it is a good opportunity for them. It shows them you care and that they are important to you that you’ve taken the time to drive to them to show them something.
The biggest reason customers do not want to go to online ordering is because they think they will never see their sales rep. Online ordering people get ignored way too much.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!