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DSRs, you need to be an expert on some basic restaurant operations and/or have a network of professional service providers who can help your customers so that prospects will have a good reason to do business with you.
I worked with a DSR who grew his business from basically nothing into a 5 million dollar a year of profitable business in just four (4) years by leaving prospects with his “unique” business card. He learned this “secret” while he was struggling to grow business in his rookie year when a prospect asked him, “Why should I buy from you given that your company carries the same products that my current distributor sells, just with a different brand label on the case?”
That question and the DSR’s answer changed everything in his sales career. When the DSR responded that he had overheard that prospect and a manager talking about recurring problems with their walk-in cooler’s refrigeration unit being out ‘again’ and that they didn’t want to use the same guy from last time, this DSR spoke up and said, “I think I can help. I used to be in the refrigeration business and know some really good refrigeration guys that I trust. I can call one that I think could get here quickly and get it fixed, plus he’s reasonable with his rates!” The prospect picked up his card and said with a laugh, “You should have printed on your card that you’re an expert in refrigeration, that way I would have known how you could help me in my business.”
This DSR took it to heart and went home and had his wife add “Refrigeration Professional” on the back of his cards. Pretty quickly he added other recommended Professional Service providers that would be valuable to operators. If you truly want to be successful at this job, you must become a real consultant and business partner for each and every customer you deal with or want to deal with.
If you’re a Greenhorn, you might be thinking that independent operators have the extra money to pay professionals to plan and price menus, figure the yield loss, prep the right amount, set up the accounting system, build and maintain the operator’s website, provide marketing systems and manage the social media that helps build business.
Think again! This is where YOU can help.
DSRs need to have a network of all of the above professionals, a.k.a. Pros, along with plumbers, electricians, accountants, refrigeration contractors, grease trap cleaners, hood cleaners, landscape contractors, window cleaners, beverage line cleaners and other Pros who might be needed. You find these Pros by asking your customers, prospects and other DSRs you work with for names of folks who have performed work that they would recommend. It would be a good idea to actually meet every Pro before you recommend them to a customer or prospect.
The key to an independent operator’s sustainable growth and profit has always been restaurant operational competence coupled with great business skills, along with having a DSR who helps them with all the things they can’t afford, but really need.
DSRs, you might want to print on the back of your business card the areas of the business in which you are an expert (even if it’s only a few), plus have your network of Pros listed so prospects have a better understanding of how you might help them if they were to do business with you. If your company has a problem with you adding info onto your business card, simply print up a small index card with your contact info, expertise and your network of professional service providers and staple it to your business card.
Having your expertise and your network of Pros listed on your card will help prospects understand why they should start doing business with you, and will also remind your current customers why they’re in business with you. One thing for sure, prospects and customers will NOT throw your business card away with all of those Pros listed on it!
P.S. Good news, business cards are cheap nowadays with many online “do it yourself” sites. So when you need to update your Pro network it’s cheap for the ROI you get. I just paid $12.95 plus $4 in shipping for 500 cards J!!
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!