Objections, Time Management, working with Colleagues
How do you overcome when a prospect tells you they are very happy with their current sales rep/company?
Troy: I will let them know that I am glad they are being taken care of, but also, I acknowledge that I know there are some items that can be difficult to get these days. I ask if he runs out of paper goods and they might respond that they struggle to get a couple particular items, so I tell them that I can help out by bringing them those few items, so they don’t have to worry about it. Then little by little, you just start picking items off.
DSR Dave: I talked to several DSRs recently, and we were discussing how the pandemic opened up some opportunities to sell other prospects more than normal, but some DSRs rather not “get used” for just an item or two. How do you feel about that?
Troy: I don’t mind it at all. It is sales and we have to do whatever it takes. The first three years I was in the business, I got used to the point I was delivering groceries on a Saturday morning in my pajamas because my biggest restaurant needed it. Yeah, we get used, but it’s part of the business, because we also get paid.
Does it make a difference in your business by the way you treat those who work with you?
Troy: 100% it matters. I buy gift cards from a customer of mine and give them to our transportation guys who help me a lot, and our inside salespeople too. The more you help, the more it kind of comes back to you.
What way do you communicate with your customers most, email, text, Zoom, Teams, telephone?
Troy: Mostly cell phone because I tell them to call me anytime.
What percentage of your customers place their orders online?
Troy: About 85% and I have 15 who do not want to go online. I have one customer who wants to see me twice a week and key the order in there. If they buy enough groceries, I will do whatever they need, but time is money. Time management, that is what this business is about. DSRs need to think about how they can get the most out of their day.
What can you do to try to get customers to place their orders online when they are strongly resisting?
Troy: I’ll show them kind of a dashboard showing them they can keep track of invoices, new items, rebates, and see the Chef’s Corner where the chef cooks a bunch of items on a video for them. There’s so much more our website can offer than just me coming in and punching in the order. But relationships can also make that decision for you. I have a customer that wants me to come in person to do the order, and it works because it is just a bunch of fun there.
What percentage of your customers are paying their bill online?
Troy: Probably 20%. Most of them mail it in. It always gets collected. It just takes time.
Do you ever turn your phone off?
Troy: When I go to bed, I turn it off. But I start my day at 4:00 am. I go to the gym at 4:30, leave there by 6 am. The exercise is a must. It makes me feel good, plus when I started, I was about 185, and then I was 230. Good Lord, if you’re going to sell it, you have to eat it.
Then I am seeing kitchen staff and schools early having coffee with them and chatting and having a lunch break by about 10 when many of their bosses are just getting started.
Do you use brokers and manufacturer reps much?
Troy: I usually reach out to the brokers and the manufacturer reps, and I ask them for samples. I fill up a huge ice chest. I will put the ice chest in my car with dry ice and I’ll go hit somewhere around 15 or 16 nursing homes in the middle of nowhere. I will go in with pre-made Ziploc bags with item numbers and product and ask them to try it. We’ll cook them up and then they usually will say they like it and want to order it. It also helps when contests are going on.
Do you use DOT Foods?
Troy: We are DOT. Our IT have it in our system so there’s no special process. You just click it just like a regular item.
Advice for Greenhorns:
Troy: Do they like people because that is really what it comes down to. Do you like what you’re doing? If you like it, but you’re just not good at it, you can figure that out. We can overcome that. If you’re just not succeeding and having a tough time, ride with the other reps. I learned a ton riding with several sales reps, just being around them, and working with them seeing how they operate.
Veterans, how to stay motivated?
Troy: Everybody experiences burnout, but I would fire up some more Zig Ziglar. Remember what you got in the business for. Find something, read a book. There’s a book called, David versus Goliath and it is fantastic.
It boils down to if you like people, if you like your job and you’re just not growing, figure out what you’re doing wrong and have a reflection time. Because if you have gotten this far and you’re already doing good, but things fell off, then you must ask yourself, what you are doing? Try to freshen it up by trying things a new way. Stay honest and positive, and work hard, penetrating your existing customers and keep going after new customers.
I am on commissioned sales and love that, but don’t be discouraged if you have been put on salary. There are bonuses, so keep striving forward.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!