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DSR of the Year, Dennis Dempsey of Performance Foodservice, Hickory, North Carolina began his foodservice career working in his high school cafeteria and continued learning the business in college by waiting tables in restaurants and working in the back of the house
As the latest inductee into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as DSR of the Year, Dennis has been a DSR for 20 years and credits his early experience in the business for much of his success because he understands what his customers are going through. When calling on prospects, Dempsey sometimes uses that experience by offering to work a few shifts in the kitchen so the potential customer can see firsthand that he understands the business and has valuable knowledge that could help them make money.
When Dennis is trying to get a prospect or a customer to try something that he thinks might work in their operation, he brings a sample of it in for their opinion on the product. They tell him that they either like it or not, but the key is that he puts the customer in control so they actually want to buy versus being sold.
A/R was difficult to learn how to manage, but after hard work, he now has a great routine that he completes A/R issues by Wednesday and has plenty of time on Thursday and Friday to build new business.
Although A/R took many years of practice to master, Dempsey has learned that relationships are more important today than they were 20 years ago and that if you listen to the customer more than you talk, they will tell you what you need to work on to sell them more stuff. You have to learn how to manage customers who think they know how to run their businesses, but they don’t know what they don’t know. Also, ask customers to help you with the learning of new products by having them try them and give their opinion so you know how to proceed. If you love and understand the business, it will reward you with success.
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!