LISTEN TO THE AUDIO PODCAST for 4 or 5 stories of problems and solutions that will give you great insights and tools to help you help your customers!
Any advice on working with Brokers and Manufacturer Reps in this COVID climate?
Todd: An example. We have a new salad/entree company. It’s very small, but very high quality, great product. The broker rep made a visit to one of my larger customers while I was there, and it went great. The rep got enough interest from other customers, so we’re testing the waters and brought it in.
The problem – It’s not moving fast enough, and it’s dated stuff.
What would have helped – Have the big sales meeting to get everybody excited to taste it, maybe have a short Zoom meeting, and get a few point-of-sale things to the DSRs.
The number of items the average DSR sells, especially now that they’re all doing more with less, they are going to take care of their customers’ immediate need. But if Manufacturers have something new, it would help us to learn and know their product quickly if they were to do those couple things so we can go share the joy with our customers.
If the manufacturer and broker reps, and a lot of them do it with us, would educate us like we are to educate our end user, it would just be awesome! With those who educate us on their products, we have a much higher success rate when we go out and show their product.
DSR Dave: DSR Smart is a training tool that we use with manufacturers for product categories to help DSRs to learn key information to help them sell.
Todd: Keep in mind though, that what I need as a Veteran DSR is different from what a Greenhorn might need. They do need some of the same stuff, but a little more.
DSR Dave: Todd said something real important there. That the Greenhorn, two and a half years or less, versus a Veteran, somebody who has been doing it five years or more need a different message. Whether it’s at a sales meeting or in a training video or anything that you do.
You can either have a “Shrek-like” message, one that covers all the generations/experience levels or have two different messages for training or videos.
Advice for Greenhorns:
Todd: Back when I was 22 years old, a really good insurance guy once told me, “I don’t care if you sell cars, insurance, or food, or if you’re commission or salaried. It doesn’t happen overnight. Each stage/couple years will indicate your prospect of being successful.”
This is not a 40 hours a week job, but if you want to make more money, and have the freedom to, it is a good job. It’s sort of like owning your own business with some of the risk that you would have owning your own business, but it’s worked out really well for me.
So, if you’re three to five years into your sales career and you’re not sure it’s for you, but you don’t really want to give up all the time you’ve invested and you want to get to the next level, call your peers and your own company. Ask them what they do and how they got over this hump rather than just throw in the towel. Rely on the veterans you see as being successful in your own company and pick their brains. I’m learning every day about products. If you’re dedicated and you want to make more money than a nine to five job, it’s out there.
DSR Dave: My mentor who got me into this business was a restaurant operator and he used to say all the time to me, “Your audience, all the folks that you’re trying to sell out there, they all need your stuff tomorrow to be in business. There are not many industries out there that can say that. So, if you make it easier than your competitor to buy from you, you’ll win.”
Advice for Veterans:
Todd: During these times it can be difficult, but you must put a smile on your face and some pep in your step when you talk to that operator, even though you might not be any more excited about the work world than they are. But they are looking for ideas, they are looking for help.
I have always said that even when you are having your own troubles, nobody wants to have a salesman come in all humdrum complaining about their life. It is part of our job to be empathetic and listen to our customers do that and try to be helpful. But you must be upbeat and positive.
And trust me, I’ve had my weeks or months in the last 37 years when I wasn’t always positive or always upbeat, and my sales reflected it. What I love about this business is that if I can help people solve problems, help them make money, when maybe they weren’t so profitable, and give them some advice and sell them some products that makes them a little more money, and they’re happy… that’s the joy I get. I like helping people be successful.
When you have a qualified prospect, meaning you know they’re interested, you know they’re a great account, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Spend as much time with that prospect as you do with your best customer and there’s a very good chance that prospect will become your customer.
One of the best things that you can do for a prospect, or a current customer is try and be their best employee. In addition to doing the best you can with their prices and products, you’re making sure the driver’s there, you are looking out for them. Pay attention to details like if they normally do a good job keeping their restrooms clean, and you see that it is dirty, let them know about it. If you see the bartender being paid for drinks and not ringing it up, but instead stuffing the money in their pocket, tell the owner.
If your customer has had a dip in sales and all other things are in line, try saving them some money on their garbage pickup or insurance carrier by recommending a different service you know could help. It is the unexpected things you do for them that make you stand out. If you notice one customer always has nice, clean windows, compliment them on the windows, and ask if they use a service. Make a note of that service and share that with another customer who needs help.
And do not forget about that personal touch, such as a handwritten note. Nobody ever sends handwritten notes and I hardly ever do it. But in this world of email and technology, sending a letter or a card that thanks them for being a great customer and spending your money taking your family or friends to eat at their place.
There are many little things that will make a big difference, as long as you’re doing the big things like you have to be in the game. But many times, it is the little things that operators will remember you by.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!