1602: Tom Kars Part 2 DSR of the Month – Prospecting as a Coach, a Consultant, and sometimes a Counselor


On this podcast DSR of the Month Tom Kars, DSR Dave and guest host former DSR, Joe discuss many different approaches to prospecting, opening new accounts, and communicating with prospects and current customers.

There is too much great content to type out, so we recommend you LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!!


Q: What’s the process that you go about to get them as an account?

Tom: First stop for lunch or dinner just to get a feel for the place. The second thing would be to study the menu. Most menus are online these days, so I don’t have to go into the restaurant to do that. You are looking for opportunities.

Strike up conversation with server and glean a little information about who the decision maker is. Is it the owner, chef, kitchen manager or general manger.

Once you find that out it’s just a matter of getting in front of the person. Keep in mind that your timing may not be good so you want to watch their body language and such and you might want to say, “You know what, I realize this might not be a good time for you. Can I make an appointment to come back and see you at a later time?” This can kind of diffuses an uncomfortable situation quickly and gives you a chance to reset the opportunity.

I always walk in the front door. I do not go in the back door until that customer gives me permission to do so which is usually when we have built some kind of relationship and respect for each other.

Understand that this customer has been doing business without you (in some cases for many years) and in many cases they are confident they will be fine by doing it the way they have been doing it. You need to show them some kind of value different than what they currently have.

So, it’s a lot about those first calls, asking that customer about their business. Let them talk. Let them tell you, you have one mouth and two ears for a reason, therefore, listen twice as much as you talk. Take notes in front of them so they know you really care what they’re saying and your chances will improve to get another meeting with them.

Then I’ll go back and analyze my notes, come up with some products or ideas, something to bring back to that customer to show them value. Where it goes from there depends on the notes you take, that’s where it all starts.

Q: What do you say when you talk to them and they say, “I’m happy with who we’re buying from, I really don’t need another distributor”?

Tom: You’re going to get objections. You almost have to expect it. If they don’t have any objections, that makes me more nervous. This is a tough one. Just don’t give up if you really want the account.

You have to be persistent. You can’t give up, but at the same time, you can overdo it, don’t be a pest. Go in and eat verses going in as a sales rep is a good way of being persistent and not being a pest, you are a customer, and they will respect that. You’re still showing interest. You’re not giving up.

Sometimes in this role as a DSR, you’re a coach, sometimes you’re a consultant, sometimes you’re a counselor. It is a relationship business and that means something different to different customers. To me it’s just finding that niche with every customer that you have to find out what’s important to them and fill that need. It all starts with building trust and credibility, and you need to show respect to that customer.

Other topics discussed:

  • Communicating with your prospects and your customers
  • Making sure your customers understand how you follow-up and what to expect from you
  • Time management
  • I still print an old-school itinerary so I can write notes while the customer is watching on what action items we are going to work on.
  • I’ve developed a form that I’ll bring into a customer and say, okay, out of all these items that we can work on, which are most important to you?

There is much more great content packed into this show! You might want to LISTEN to the entire show for some great professional development tips!

Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!