921: Marie Horikawa of HFM Foodservice, DSR of the Month

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Marie Horikawa with HFM Foodservice of Honolulu, Hawaii is AFDR’s latest inductee into the DSR Hall of Fame as the June DSR of the Month for 2016.

Ms. Horikawa is a native of Hawaii and began her distributor sales career in 1983 after the hospitality company she was working for in the Food & Beverage department sold out. That sell out basically left her out of a job. She found a sales administrator position for the sales manager of a then small, but growing HFM Foodservice, that had been selling mainly flour and bakery supplies. They were expanding to become a broadline distributor and she began working on the inside with all the sales people and their customers.

Those first two years became a wonderful center of learning from all the sales folks Marie worked with of what was important to do for customers that she still practices today. Marie tells in her interview that she learned that the “personal touch” makes all the difference because this business is all about the people in it. They taught her that this business moves so fast, and the independent operators are so involved with their business that they don’t have time to do much of anything but run their business, so the weekly visits to the customers needed to be about those PEOPLE.

Marie got the chance to put all of this knowledge to work when a DSR job on the street became available and the Sales Manager offered Horikawa the job. She inherited some accounts from some of the other DSRs and she was off and running, building relationships that eventually helped her grow her sales to $6 million over her 33-year career.

This DSR of the Month learned early on that she had to respond to ANY customer call in a very timely manner or the customer would just “move on” to one of her competitors because they have to get an answer. Marie says she tries to treat each customer the same no matter whether they’re one of her smallest customers or largest, they’re all “people” that need her help.

Horikawa is passionate about her job and this shows in her personal dedication and commitment to quality in everything she does. She’s a creative thinker and has a winner’s attitude. According to Marie’s sales manager, her desire and willingness to ensure her customer’s businesses thrive leads their company to success.

Horikawa tries to teach Greenhorns that they need to have passion to thrive in this business. She advises those who are not passionate after the first few years to look for another career.   Marie declares that you have to be passionate about your customer’s business for them to be passionate about you and your company.

DSR Hall of Fame advice on this DSR Live audio interview:

  • Be passionate about the job and your customer’s business and they’ll be passionate about you.
  • Put your foot inside of the shoes that your peers wear and treat them with respect.
  • Manage your time better by having a plan and write things down.
  • ALWAYS RESPOND to your customer’s calls in a timely manner.
  • Handle the bad and good issues with respect to all parties involved.
  • Be persistent until the job gets done.
  • Having an attitude that “NO” is not an option is a winning attitude.
  • Seeing an alternate perspective gives you the ability to recognize and react to opportunity which results in personal and mutual success.
  • Provide service that exceeds expectations.

DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!