Green beans are green beans but produce will set you apart!
Gerry Weitzman of BEN E. KEITH – Dallas Fort Worth, Texas has been inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as the DSR of the Month for February 2019.
Gerry got his start in a produce department at 16 years of age in Boston where he grew up. When he moved to Texas and saw a job in the paper for a sales person for a small produce jobber and thought to himself, “I can do that,” and the next thing he knew he was knocking on restaurant doors.
Selling produce led him to his current job (for the last 25 years) at BEN E. Keith where he will sell around 12.5 million this year while harvesting around 4 million in produce alone! His sales territory is the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Weitzman’s favorite brand to sell is Markon Produce because of its superior quality and traceability, noting that food safety is more important than ever when it comes to produce.
Gerry leads with his produce when calling on new customers, and he sells every account he has all or most of the produce they each use. Produce is personal to most chefs/cooks.
Important points when selling produce:
- Yield and shelf life
- Food safety
- Specialty items can set you apart
When scouting a prospect, Gerry eats breakfast or lunch and pays attention to the labels (especially if its an open kitchen) and watches food coming out… noticing pink tomatoes or wilted lettuce to get an idea of how they run things, taking notes. In a few days, he pokes in the backdoor to see if it’s a line cook, etc. and introduces himself and brings up the hot spots he noticed, such as the tomatoes, and might tell them about their beefsteaks and the Markon label.
Gerry tries to knock out the credit app in first couple visits if they show interest.
With AR at existing customer, when he senses slow paying, he addresses it with the owner right away, and gets them on COD so they know where they are each day. Don’t let it snowball.
Treat people you work with the way you want to be treated because you are all on the same team.
Do DSRs have less interaction with customers than in past? Gerry stays in constant communication with them via texting, emails following up and checking on things because they’ve become friends and are supporting each other in their businesses.
TIPS for GREENHORNS:
- Keep knocking on doors
- Build relationships, build trust and friendships
- Do what you say you’re going to do
TIPS for SEASONED DSRs:
- Sell more and you’re going to get paid more
- Try not to share your customers with competitors
- Be something special for them
Gerry is such a team player that he gives a shout out to his sales manager of 20 years who takes a lot of pressure off of him and his AGM who he can call 24/7. Without them he could not do what he does and he’s grateful.