809: Future of DSRs is about controlling the sales channel chaos

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I just got back from another conference where once again the future of the DSR was the hot topic. Many people assume that the role of the DSR is quickly being replaced by technology or, at least, radically changing because of company mergers and new types of competitors cropping up.

Sure, how the goods are ordered and delivered is changing. But those changes mean DSRs are more important than ever.

Why? Independent operators are too busy to constantly hop around to test new-fangled ways to get groceries. So, whoever (or whatever!) makes it easier to get the job done wins the day.

That means operators might order from Restaurant Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club or competing storefronts that distributors like Gordon Foodservice are opening up. Or they may order from broadline distributors — large and small — produce houses, farmer’s markets or right from the farm itself. Heck, many products are easily ordered online and shipped in by FedEx or UPS.

Sorting it all out to get the ideal mix of product delivered in the simplest way is exactly what great DSRs do every day. They focus on operators’ problems and fix them! Pros don’t get distracted by all the ordering and delivery options — they take advantage of them!

  • No distributor has everything an operator truly needs. But you do! It’s at your fingertips. Seek out and set up ordering for those Japanese sardines the operator wants but can’t find locally. UPS will deliver them straight to the operator’s door.
  • I know wildly successful DSRs who keep competitors out of accounts because they swing by produce markets each morning to pick up rare items their company doesn’t stock. Let’s see all that fancy online ordering software do that!
  • Don’t fret about operators who insist on buying their coffee at Sam’s. Go with it. Pick up and deliver a few cases each week so they don’t have to make the trip (or walk around Sam’s and get other ideas of things to buy). Better yet, set up their Sam’s online account and order the coffee on their behalf and let Sam’s do all the heavy lifting with delivery.

Just make it easy. That’s what operators really value. And nobody can deliver “easy” better than DSRs.

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!