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“I keep my phone on 24/7, on holidays and when I’m on vacation because my customers rarely close and I want to be available and ‘open’ when they are.” ~ Kathy Miglizzi
Kathy Miglizzi of Jacmar Foodservice Distribution, Southern California division is AFDR’s April DSR of the Month for 2018 earning her a spot in the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame. Kathy’s territory is in and around the Inland Empire area of California which is 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
A friend of Kathy’s thought she would be a good DSR and recommended her for a job at a small specialty Italian distributor which she worked with for the first couple years of her career. Miglizzi then was recommended by a vendor to Jacmar whose niche is pizza/Italian where she has spent the last 18 years honing her sales skills.
Kathy’s territory has a lot of miles between stops, so she uses her “windshield time” listening to podcasts — entrepreneur stories and recommendations from other sales reps, talk radio, uses Twitter– a lot of publications for instant news, and Instagram following restaurants all over the world for menu ideas.
Cold calling is very easy for Kathy since she loves meeting new people. Her first time in to a prospect, she goes in the front door versus the back door because of the current environment being questionable, thereafter she enters through the back. When out at restaurants she likes to check out their menus to see what they’re using and what works. When trying to break into new accounts, some prospects are very loyal to their current sales rep and don’t want to change, which she appreciates since she has accounts that are loyal to her also. It usually takes something big to happen for a customer to change, like someone retiring or a second generation begins running things, or A/R or delivery issues. Almost always, she says it’s the prospect who calls her when something does change because she has faithfully stopped into their place and bought their food, sometimes for years, developing familiarity and a sense of dependability therefore she’s the one they call.
She then creates a custom order guide because her company sells a lot of name brands and it’s important to compare apples to apples, especially if they’re using private labels. Price can vary quite a bit and there’s usually a reason for that like pack size, quality, etc. Kathy will use a drain weight test to help show a customer the difference in what they’re paying for as in product versus water.
Miglizzi manages her A/R a little closer than when she first started. She does this by looking at the A/R before going in for an order, then she likes to get it out of the way, so she discusses it up front with the customer because if the account is not up-to-date, she may not be able to take an order.
Kathy likes using her brokers by having them ride with her showing their products to her customers who love it as do the brokers, plus it’s a great way to learn more about their products. She follows up with emails or calls, plus if she’s comfortable with them, she’ll let them take products out on their own if she’s not available. If the customer wants the product, she gets with purchasing for pricing and they bring it in.
Vegan and gluten-free are fast growing trends in California. Because of this, Cauliflower pizza crust hit the scene and is a big favorite. It’s gaining popularity because it’s naturally gluten free, low in carbs, and has a decent amount of protein.
She’s available 24/7 for her customers because they rarely close so she doesn’t ‘close’ either. Kathy’s always answering calls or texts on Saturdays, Sundays and when she’s on vacation. She treats her customers the way she’d want to be treated and they truly value her and the job she does.
When working with her peers she prefers verbal communication that’s followed up with emails. Communication is Key!
Advice for Greenhorns:
- Listen more and talk less.
- Be available and be honest with integrity.
- Treat customers the way you want to be treated.
“I like what I do every day… I like who I work with and I like my customers which is self-motivating.”
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!