Tony Eichelberger, DSR of the Month Part 2 – Samples, Brokers, AR, Greenhorn & VET Tips
“I love my job, even though it’s work, I don’t look at it as work. I look at it as enjoying myself, taking care of customers, helping them grow their businesses. For me, it’s just natural motivation. I guess it’s just in my DNA.” ~Tony Eichelberger
We are back with Tony Eichelberger of Wood Fruitticher Foodservice, DSR of the Month for July for Part 2 of his interview.
DSR Dave: When manufacturers want to help DSRs plus want to encourage them to be loyal to their brand, wouldn’t you recommend Samples and to make it really easy for them to get enough samples for a prospect to maybe run a lunch or dinner special?
Tony: Yes, absolutely. Our brokers work with us really well.
- First of all, the sales rep and the District Manager qualify an account and then most of our brokers/manufacturer reps will approve a sample that we can get shipped on the truck either to a customer or to a drop point where we meet the customer since the warehouse is 200 miles away and maybe the broker cannot come quickly enough due to their schedule.
- If the customers really want an item to try, the quicker you can get the sample to them the better.
- Sometimes we may split up a case for different customers or DSRs, or if the account is big enough, they may need the entire case. We just qualify them.
- Getting to know brokers in the breakout rooms, two-day food shows, and ride-withs and communicating with them weekly helps you to learn and grow your business.
- If I contact a broker/manufacturer rep before 9 a.m. about a sample, I pretty much expect a response by the end of the day.
DSR Dave: Do you ever turn off your phone?
- Especially because the Mexican restaurant managers and owners stay up until 3:00 a.m. and don’t get up early, so they may call me at 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. needing something on their next truck.
- I’ve taken calls from truck drivers at 4:30 a.m. I also take calls on vacation because they need to know I am there for them; it is my livelihood.
- I’ve been asked by reps how I stay motivated, but for me it’s not like a job. I love it and enjoy myself, taking care of customers. It helps to be self-motivated and stay hungry.
DSR Dave: What percentage of your customers pay their bills by ACH, and what percentage order online?
- 45% ACH
- 15% order online
- I offer it to them, but I will not insist on it because many of my rural customers have cell phones, but not computers at work, and they are run by a husband and wife, especially the Mexican restaurants.
- I do whatever they are comfortable with and believe I get more mileage out of doing it that way versus forcing them to do it.
- Mobile depositing has helped considerably. We can collect checks and deposit them at the end of the day once home.
- I always print statements for the entire week on Sunday for all my weekly accounts and use that as planning for when I see the customer. I let them know up front what they owe us.
- It is about organization and pre-planning with statements, pre-planning who you are going to show samples to in the next week.
- Going through your list and stops so you are hitting your stops in the best way possible, not wasting time.
- Checking to make sure customers are getting their deliveries on the best day for them or if it would be better to switch it for your end, ask them, many times they do not care.
- It helps to love what you do. That you want to get up and go to work.
- Focus on the good points your company offers and let that drive your sales.
DSR Dave: Does it matter how you treat your coworkers?
- For example, if my credit manager emails me that my customer is a week behind, and I get it collected, that builds credibility with that department, just like with customers when you do what you say you’re going to do.
- At Wood Fruitticher, they are a fourth-generation company, good Christian owners, and the best move I’ve ever made since I’ve been in the business. Everybody treats everybody like family.
- If I needed to call my owner or sales manager at 10:00 p.m. at night, they’d take my call because they know there is a good reason for it and we work together to do the best we can for our customers.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!