Steve Edwards, DSR of the Month Part 3 – Selling Brands, Communications, A/R, Getting that Next Item
Do you communicate more now than you did 13 years ago when you began?
Steve: Yes, because it is a necessity with everything changing so rapidly. Menu adjustments have been necessary more often due to prices going up. We have never had as many menu adjustments in my career as there are now. Operators need to be aggressive and not afraid to take those steps of price adjustments from the beginning or they are not going to make it. These are daily conversations.
When do you ask for a credit application to be filled out?
Steve: The Food Safety Act has required so many checks and such that it cannot be done overnight, it must be in place well in advance.
Do you have a system to manage your A/R?
Steve: If you do not pay your bills on time, I do not chase checks. I set that tone right from the beginning that it will not be tolerated.
Do you ever turn your phone off?
Steve: NO, never. Because that next call could have gotten my name from someone else and wants to buy groceries from me. I may not be able to answer, but I will call right back.
When you are not selling that next item to a current customer that they are buying from your competitor, what do you do?
Steve: I get the manufacturer code and send it to my folks and get the match of the product and sample it or send a sample case in and see where it lands. You do this daily because that one item could net you 15 cases a week or zero if you don’t do anything about it. If we carry that same product but we are priced higher, and there is any movement at all, I lean on the manufacturer through the broker, and we sell the product.
Do you think you have any advantage for having national brand names and not your own distributor label?
Steve: Yes. Brand names pack their products consistently, whereas private labels can pack how they want so it may not always be consistent.
Advice for Greenhorns:
Steve: Stay the course and do not let the daily grind of it bring you down. It may look like unorganized confusion, but you can make a great living, make good friends, and tons of great connections. It can be organized confusion if done correctly.
Advice for Veterans:
Steve: You are a veteran for a reason, so keep doing it, and enjoy yourself even though it is a crazy, chaotic job. Focus on the things that got you this far and keep doing it.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!