2-14: DSR INSIGHTS: DSR loyalty programs should be part of the marketing budget


Where's the loyalty these days?  Especially among DSRs.

"DSRs just don't seem loyal like back in the good old days," we often hear manufacturers say.  "They don't appreciate the rubber jar opener (complete with our logo embossed in gold leaf) that we sent them as a thank you last year.  Let alone the $50 in cash for selling an extra 25 cases six months ago!"

Well, all of the above is pretty much true!  Here's why:

  • The typical DSR has 12-15 spiff or promotion programs going on during any particular week. Most spiffs are very similar... in fact, almost downright identical! Offer a few bucks when DSRs sell more cases during a specific time period. Maybe throw in a big trip for the top case mover. Ho hum...
  • They flip through the spiff options before them. Pick out the spiffs for products they routinely sell anyway and concentrate on those to make some extra cash. There's no learning curve or much additional work... so, it's a fast decision.
  • The rest of the spiffs go on ignore. If they luck into a sale, so be it. But putting much energy into possibly earning an extra $100 over the course of 90 days for a product they really don't know anything about is frankly not worth the hassle. Even if you passed out kazoos and party hats at the sales meeting to get them excited!

Often brands try to "build loyalty" through financial incentives that are tied strictly to the sale of products.  That might actually work if there were only a few products from which to choose (say like when you pick an airline to gather up frequent flier points!). 

But a DSR is confronted each day with hundreds of brands representing thousands of products.  There's no natural "loyalty" just because the occasional spiff comes by.

Again, it's simple Foodservice Sales Science:

  • Step 1: Most DSRs have a "default" recommendation in their brain for your product category (hope it's your brand!). You might distract them with the occasional spiff... but you won't become the default unless they have come to know and love your brand and products.
  • Step 2: To get DSRs to know and love you (a.k.a. "loyalty"), separate out knowledge-building from the tired old case-sales spiffs. There's a place for these spiffs to keep loyalty, but spiffs do little to help you gain loyalty in the first place!
  • Step 3: Reach and frequency. Reach and frequency. Reach and frequency. Reach and frequency. Like any successful marketing campaign, DSR loyalty is built on consistent and relevant communications, activities and, ultimately, experience with your product. You got to start warming up to them... offer engaging product training using AFDR's DSRSmart product training program, a Virtual "relationship building" tool.  

The DSRSmart program is a great supplement if you or your brokers can't find time to get to know them personally. It can also be used for idea sharing that will help them in their sales success beyond simply tying a case sale to your friendship (no, not more recipes... but rather tell real stories of how operators are using the stuff).  Every Product has a story; DSRs need to know the story about each of your products.


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Contact Us: DSR Dave Miesse (614) 402-0228
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