1228: Opening New Accounts with Three Hall of Fame DSRs

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First up: 2012 AFDR DSR Hall of Fame, David Ross, “Opening new accounts is my specialty.”

David Ross says that most customers will never stop buying from you if you are making money for them.  “My goal is to help move them from making $100k this year to making $150k next year. “I’m selling money, not products.  The right products make my customers money.”          

David describes his prospecting as “pull marketing” versus “push marketing.”  He conducts his research on a prospect by becoming a customer and eating in their operation.  In most cases, the prospect will ask Ross what he does for a living, and when he tells them he works in sales at Hillcrest Foodsthey ASK HIM why he’s not selling them (a.k.a. pull marketing)!

Most operators will not make a change with the distributors they use without seeing proof of savings.  Ross makes sure a prospect understands he has the pricing program worked out in their best interest, but also good for his company.

Second up: 2018 AFDR DSR Hall of Fame, Grace Lee, "I never give up on a prospect once I start working on them."

Grace moved fromAlbuquerque to San Diego with Shamrock Foods to open-up the California market. For the first month and a half, she drove up and down every street writing down every foodservice establishment developing her prospect list. Then she began going into places and telling them “the Shamrock story” because Shamrock was unknown in that area.

Grace always follows this two-step pattern when prospecting:

  1. She would check out their business to see if it’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do they do all three and which menu daypart has the most sales?
  2. She never gives up on an account and continues going into them one or two times a week at different times of the day, taking samples, price guides, and specials to entice them. It’s just not in her DNA to give up because she will always finish what she’s started.

She is famous at Shamrock for “dumpster diving.” She will do this to get the correct information on products they told her they use so she quotes accurately (red onion, size medium or large; chicken breast, 4 or 6 oz). When she meets with the owner or chef, even though they might ask for a price guide at that first meeting, she takes it in the second or third meeting to have a reason to come back.

Third up: 2011 ADFR DSR Hall of Fame, Franke Hilson, “This card is good for ONE FREE, NO OBLIGATION - GET ME OUT OF A JAM!”

When a prospect tells Frank they’re highly loyal and very happy with their current supplier, Hilson pulls out one of his cards and hand-writes that message on the back of his Ben E Keith business card.

Franke does not look at his first call on a prospect as a “cold call.” He looks at it like this prospect might become one of his best friends in about a year or so; he’s looking for a future partner. Hilson says it’s more of an interview process, not a cold call.

One of the first things Hilson does is to find a need the prospect has that he can fill using his “Top 10” products which are always a differentiator. Franke says you need to learn your competitors’ tendencies so you can adjust your products and pricing based on which DSR you are competing with.

Hilson NEVER codes out an order guide that was put together by another distributor when asked to by a prospect.  Instead, he asks the prospect for the last two week’s invoices with prices cut off so he can code out the products that they’re really using, plus he can see how many cases of each product they use so he can price accordingly.

Before leaving a prospect at the end of their first meeting, Franke asks TWO important questions:

  1. “What things do you like the most about your current supplier?” … Then REALLY LISTEN!
  1. “What do you like the LEAST about your current supplier and what do you wish they would change?” … Again, LISTEN!!

Because they will tell you exactly what you need to do to start selling them!

Be a Resource and Sell Something!


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