“The more educated you can be on the products you are selling helps you when speaking with the operators and chefs, and then PRICE is not the first thing they want to talk about.” ~ Mesa Farrell
Mesa Farrell of Shamrock Foods based in Phoenix, Arizona is AFDR’s November DSR of the Month for 2022, earning her a permanent place in the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame. Mesa’s territory is in and around Phoenix and most of its surrounding cities. She resides in the Phoenix area about 25 minutes from the warehouse.
PART 1 – Getting started and overcoming hurdles in the first few years.
Mesa’s first job in the foodservice industry was waiting tables and tending bar while in college. Her degree was in marketing and international business and a friend who began a minority produce company asked her to come and help promote and sell their produce. She helped expand that and then they were acquired by an Italian Specialty distributor where she became a DSR and learned to sell a bigger variety of products for them. Her journey brought her to Shamrock Foods in Phoenix, AZ.
Subjects discussed on this Podcast:
- She was educated on produce by the buyers in the office, the seasonality and market reports, and also was able to visit some of the actual local farms and learn from the farmers.
- Hands-on training working with current reps, the brokers and manufacturers, and the management team helped to learn Italian products.
- Then you can always learn more through company research and Google.
- Learning from mentors has been one of the most helpful tools in my first few years.
- Pizza dough is not just another flour, and it was the hardest to learn versus Cheese and Sauce.
- When selling cheese, you need to really learn the cheese markets.
- Learn and understand your customer’s needs so you know what to bring in next.
- Learning and selling COP, I appreciate our Specialists who can help me, and also meet with my customers.
- It’s okay to say, “I’ll get back to you. I’m really not sure about that product, so let me do a little bit more research.” Then ALWAYS follow up.
- Learning about NEW products is exciting! Have fun with it when you are excited about products and take them into customers and try them in applications together. You can encourage them to try something new and add it to their menu.
- Vets, if you find yourself needing to be motivated, find 5 items in your warehouse that you don’t sell and study those items. What kind of customers are ordering them, who is the broker, who is the buyer etc.
- A/R is always difficult. I think a lot of sales reps coming into this business don’t realize that you do have to be responsible for your customer paying their invoices on time, and some are hesitant to talk about money because they don’t want to cross that salesperson – – bill collector line with them.
- Greenhorns in our business must learn to be okay with communicating that (A/R) in a very professional way, and collections become easier each week especially when your customers know what to expect.
Be a Resource and SELL SOMETHING!!