1531: Part 3 Kelli Sawyer, DSR of the Month, Customer’s Relationships with your Colleagues, Greenhorn & Vet Advice, Brokers, Samples


Is it important for your customers to have relationships with your colleagues at Ben E. Keith?

Kelli: YES, helping your customers to build relationships with others who work with you at Ben E. Keith is very important. Even though I’m two and half hours away from the warehouse, I make the time to take customers to meet my colleagues (transportation manager, buyers, credit department, etc.) at the office because I find it helpful for all parties involved to accomplish goals. It has been a challenge the past few years because of COVID, but we are gearing back up. It takes a day pretty much to get all that done right.

Also, the better relationship that a DSR has with their colleagues is vital. Drivers can make or break you because they are also the face of the company. You must treat them the way you want to be treated. I hope my coworkers know how important they are to my territory, to my business.

DSR Dave: Kelli is two and a half hours from her warehouse, but many of you work closer to your warehouse… GET YOUR CUSTOMERS TO THE WAREHOUSE AND LET THEM MEET EVERYBODY. YOUR SALES WILL GROW!


  • DOT Foods is on my list this year to use them more effectively with special orders. Our buyers have done a fantastic job helping me in this area in the past.
  • I drive around 700 to 800 miles per week, or around 40,000 miles a year.
  • I get a lot of work done while driving, I’m on my phone a lot, of course, hands-free. But yes, I get a lot of work done when I’m driving. I have to.

Advice for Greenhorns: I was working 70 hours a week when I first started, and it was worth it because eventually, I got to the point of fewer hours because I gained people’s trust and began getting referrals. I got into it because I became a mom, and it is flexible. The good and the bad of being “on 24/7” is that you can also not miss the things that your family and children are doing. You can always be there, and as long as you treat your customers right, they’re going to understand that. They’re going to want you to be there for those things. And so, the flexibility is worth it in the end for me. Also, the harder you work, the more you earn, and so it’s been a really good career for me.

Advice for Veterans. I think in this time that we’re in right now, the way I stay motivated is just realizing how much my customers need me, even more, to stay engaged and to do my part and to really research and look at ways they can make money and be profitable, even with the inflation and the supply chain issues that we have going on right now. And so even more than 16 years ago when I started, I think it’s more vital to have a consultant and not just an order taker to walk through the door. That’s how I stay motivated even through this very tough season.

Brokers & Reps: Every month I have a broker to come ride with me and show my customers new items and have samples, and so I do that every single month. I have a broker in my car with me or following me and seeing all my customers for that day.

SAMPLES WORK… I think that it is very important to get people to try and taste products and use them in their own kitchen in order to purchase it.

Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!