“I use the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. We all make mistakes, but do not want to be talked down to. It is best to build a relationship with everybody whether customers, credit manager, buyers, inside salespeople, drivers – – I treat them well and I get so much more.” ~Scott McMaster
What percentage of your customers place their orders online?
Scott: Maybe 20-25%. I have many old school type accounts. Quite a few will email me or call me with their order. I see a lot of customers on a daily basis.
Do you use brokers and manufacturer reps much?
Scott: Lately it has been a struggle with Covid. Most of our sales meetings are virtual. The brokers on the virtual meetings will email us point of sale on new items. I can call the majority of them about an account who would like to sample a particular product, and they are willing to help, but it is not the same as pre-Covid.
Do you think Covid has changed the way manufacturer reps and brokers will continue to do business or do you think they will go back to the way it was?
Scott: I think it has changed it. If people can do the work from home, they will no longer see the need for people to be in the office. Same goes for brokers, we see it all the time when a broker is no longer handling a line, or the line goes direct. If a manufacturer does not want to use a broker, they will have someone send the information out online.
Do you get on manufacturer’s websites?
Scott: Not that often, but I have Dart, Tyson Foods, and others on my desktop that I will look for suitable substitutes for an item, and if I cannot find one, then I will go to Amazon or the Restaurant Store or I can Google it.
Does it make a difference in your sales by the way you treat the people you work with?
Scott: I use the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. We all make mistakes, but do not want to be talked down to. We are human and complain but I have found that over my 21 years that it is best to build a relationship with everybody whether customers, credit manager, buyers, inside salespeople, drivers – – I treat them well and I get so much more. When I respectfully talk with the buyers for example, I have gotten more sales with the buyers because of it or talking with the credit managers right away about any issues with customers, I have very little problems in those areas.
DSR Dave: Recently I talked with a DSR of the Month who would contact his buyers and ask for three items they needed to get rid of/move. If you help out your buyers with problems they have, this is going to be beneficial for your working relationship with them when you do need something.
How do you like to manage returning phone calls?
Scott: I think getting back to them within 24 hours is good. Same goes for when I have calls into others, I am satisfied if I hear back from them withing that period of time.
Do you ever turn your phone off?
Scott: No. I may text them back asking if I can call them back if I am out to dinner or whatever. But missing calls on a Saturday could be missed opportunities in this 24-hour business.
Tips for Greenhorns:
- It is like any other job… you get out of it what you put into it.
- You will learn your products within a few years.
- Get to know your customers/operators!! Noticing what pictures are on their desk or walls to drum up conversation (i.e., Golf, grandkids, sports, etc.). Develop a relationship with them. You will look forward to seeing them and the growing friendships.
- You will keep those customers for a long time when they are based on relationships.
Tips for Veterans:
- To stay motivated, you need to smile and make the best of the Covid obstacles, there is only so much you can control.
- Do the research to find substitutes for the out of stocks through manufacturer websites.
- Possibly get an account with another supplier and go to their cash and carry or will call to pick items up. Local produce suppliers, small mom & pop foodservice outlets are good options also.
- Those relationships you have built up over the years will help. They count on you.
Do you have any new habits or ways of doing business that you began during Covid that you will keep moving forward?
Scott: I will remain proactive about substitutions. In some instances, busy days, it would be more profitable staying home, working. But I love staying in contact with my customers in person too.
I stayed in contact with the majority of my customers when all was locked down which really helped me significantly because many of the sales reps out there did not and I picked up their business.
Get to know your delivery drivers. They are seeing your customers all the time and if you know your driver and thank them for their help, they will go back at the end of a day of delivering when they randomly find a case of product in the back of the truck that was missed and take it back to that customer. Or you may have one who notices something out of the ordinary such as products he knows they normally do not buy, and he will call you to let you know. Your drivers need to be treated with respect!
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!