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Look, Listen & Learn (3-L’s), and don’t ever give up! Look around and listen to what the customers want and learn what their needs are is the advice from DSR of the Month, Benjie Bellard.
Benjie Bellard of DOERLE FOOD SERVICES, Broussard, Louisiana is the latest DSR to be inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as the April DSR of the Month.
Bellard got his start in the foodservice business selling beer for 15 years and then owning C-Stores for 10 years. A friend told Bellard that he would be a good DSR and the next thing Benjie knew, he had a route at Doerle calling on the same mom & pops he had been selling beer to.
Benjie says living on a farm and being a “country boy” makes him feel at home when he’s dealing with his customers each week. His route is in Church Point, LA and Acadia Parish where he was born and raised. He has just about every segment (C-Stores, nursing homes, Mom & Pops, and Boudin & Cracklin joints) in the foodservice business except white-tablecloth establishments.
When prospecting or “poking around” as Benjie says, he’s looking around to see what his action plan might be. He uses a good old fashion yellow pad and pen to makes notes when he gets back into his pickup truck. He makes notes not only about menu items, but also what a prospect’s interests in life may be by looking at whatever they have hanging on the walls, including any photos he can find. Do they like sports? Do they like to hunt? What is it they like? Next time he stops into their place, Benjie starts a conversation about those things he discovered. He does not like to jump in and start quoting prices.
Bellard always includes and acknowledges everybody in an operation by shaking their hand and “shooting the bull” because you never know where that person might end up.
Topics discussed on audio interview with DSR of the Month, Benjie Bellard:
- Prospecting, using the good old fashion yellow pad and pen, takes him about 6 weeks.
- Don’t judge a prospect by the looks of the building, stop in and make the call. Benjie stopped into a prospect’s place (apparently, no other DSRs did) that was pretty awful to look at, but was several weeks into gutting and renovating, and as a result, has had that customer for 8 years!
- Talk and makes friends with everybody in each account because you never know when they’ll open-up a place of their own.
- When making cold calls on C-Stores, offer up foodservice sizes of product for their in-store preparation of items such as baked beans versus them using the small retail cans off their shelves for prep.
- Greenhorn advice: Practice the 3 L’s “Look, Listen & Learn” and never give up.
- Veteran DSR advice: For motivation & learning, listen to the other DSRs at sales meetings who are having good successes.
- Billy’s Homemade Boudin & Cracklins, you gotta listen to Benjie talk about Boudin!
- Dumpster diving and driving around calling on prospects keeps you sharp, don’t ever stop.
- Don’t spray gravel when you burn-out of a prospect’s parking lot if they tell you NO!
Be a Resource…and Sell Something!