“Make it about them and discover the most important thing, their wants and needs, and go from there.”
When Prospecting, how many times out of five accounts you go into will a prospect say they are happy with their current distributor/rep?
Scott: Pre-Covid, I would say about 3-4 out of 5 times. But lately, with all the struggles with getting and shipping product, I will ask open-ended questions like if they are satisfied. Then they might tell me they are not happy with this or that, and I can address those areas. They are more forthcoming since Covid. Looking for substitutes and such makes them a little more open than in the past.
Since Covid, how are you protecting your accounts from other DSRs trying to take your account?
Scott: I have been fortunate with loyal customers, but when we cannot get certain items, I will guide my customers to Webstaurant Store or Amazon and help them set up an account so they can purchase that item I cannot fulfill so they do not go to my competitor. Of course, sometimes they do not have the elusive item in stock either.
When do you try to get the Credit App filled out with a prospect?
Scott: Usually by the third appointment, I will approach getting it set up, no obligation, just in case.
Has it been easier since Covid to get a Credit App filled out?
Scott: Yes and No. I have received calls over the last year or so who said they were not interested, and then I get a call from them saying they want to do business with me and want to set up a credit app right away. You have to wonder if they are having issues with payments, so I tell them I have to set them up on COD initially before discussing terms. At least with COD, we will have our money upfront until they prove themselves.
How long will you continue to call on a prospect who has told you that they are happy with their current distributor?
Scott: If I know they are a good customer based on whom they are buying from and the size of the operation, I will stop in about every other week to say hello, maybe take in some point of sale, have lunch, and speak to the manager before I leave.
DSR Dave: I have found over the years that the more I went in as a customer, the better chance there was of getting their account. Most operators say that less than one DSR will come back after being told that the prospect is happy with their current supplier.
Scott: “No” in this business does not necessarily mean “No.” Get their email address off their website and email them the latest trends or info on new products. You never know, one day when you walk in their door, they may reach out to you about a problem they are having, and your foot is in the door.
DSR Dave: You may be going in on say Tuesday because the order must be in on Wednesday. You maybe are not getting different results because you are not doing anything different. I found that Fridays were a good day to stop in because people were in a good mood, they got paid that day, and no other sales reps were in there that day. Or you may just be going in at the wrong time.
Scott: In the beginning, I had been told to go in the same time every week, but I found that it was helpful to shake it up occasionally, including going in on Fridays because other reps were working on paperwork, etc.
What do you talk about on that first call when you do get the appointment?
Scott: The first thing I do is ask open-ended questions which tell you what you need to work on helping them with right away. Make it about them and discover the most important thing, their wants and needs and go from there.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!