“Rule 21: With new customers, make sure everything is perfect for 21 days, it will become a habit.” ~ Jimmy Battaglia
Jimmy Battaglia of Sirna & Sons Produce, Ravenna, Ohio is AFDR’s March DSR of the Month for 2019, earning him a permanent place in the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame. Jimmy’s territory is in Eastern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Northwest West Virginia.
Tending bar and waiting tables throughout college was the beginning of Battaglia’s restaurant and food world experience. After graduation he interviewed with a small Italian chain and ended up managing two or three places for about a year and then managed a Perkins. But what Jimmy really enjoyed was interacting with people and sales. So, he began working for Sirna & Sons Produce a couple of years before moving to Las Vegas, getting married and working for FreshPoint for a couple more years. After moving back to Ohio and back with Sirna & Sons, Jimmy’s been in this business for about 20 years.
Now he manages 230+ customers through a combination of independent operators, multi-unit accounts, contract accounts, hospitals, nursing home chains, Mexican restaurants, everything, averaging deliveries three days a week per customer! This is why dairy fits in so well with produce. Battaglia’s distributor also has a full line of dairy, salad dressings, dried fruits and nuts, olive oils, and more for him to sell.
Jimmy treats all his accounts the same, but he uses the ABC theory to manage his time, but he’s always trying to add items to each of his customers.
Mondays are his day in the office for the sales meeting and his interaction with the people in the office because they are his lifeline. It’s a great time to listen to and try to help the younger and newer sales people and keep them focused. Also, Jimmy says he can always learn from other sales reps and try a new approach when the situation calls for it.
You will want to LISTEN to HOW Jimmy OPENS NEW ACCOUNTS!
He uses a note pad (old school) when writing down prospects he wants. He breaks them down into working sections of four at a time with about 100 on the big list, crossing out those he gets and moving new ones into their place in his box of four. He tries to get two new accounts per month. Last year Jimmy opened 35-40 new accounts!
- Plays OSU fight song before going in to get focused.
- Eats lunch at prospect’s during the 1:00-2:30 time when a little less busy.
- Over prepares by doing his homework… knowing what’s on menu and which items they use, which tomatoes, what salads, big or small potato, etc.
- Asks if Executive Chef or owner can speak with him for a few minutes. If not, he leaves a card and gets chef’s/owner’s contact info and follows up within 2-3 days with an email while it’s still hot (in 2-3 days his card will be lost or in the trash).
- Believes the first face to face couple of minutes is important. Being in front of someone is a bigger chance for success.
- Calls on prospect three times before moving their name back to his big list to revisit in a month or two.
He takes the first 7-10 orders in person to show he’s invested in them and to make sure they develop an accurate history. About 60-65% of his customers order online thereafter.
Jimmy’s Rule 21: With new customers, Jimmy closely monitors their account for 21 days, checking orders and interacting with his own team. It takes 21 days to become a habit, that’s 7-10 orders of the customer getting the right product. You want everything perfect for them. They’re giving you an opportunity and you want to take advantage of that.
Battaglia’s theory is this, “I don’t punch in at 7 am and don’t clock out at 3pm, I’m a 24-hour guy.”