September 2016, Tamara L. Bales, US Foods, DSR of the Month

DSR Years of experience:   16
Annual volume:     10 million
Number of active accounts:   n/a
Average line items per stop:   n/a
Territory/City/Area where you sell:    Pittsburgh and surrounding areas
Favorite type of account:     Independent restaurants
Best tools that help you sell:     Brokers, US Foods Specialists and the new technology that US Foods has embraced. Working with a Team (My district), and my inside Sales Coordinator that I had for 10 Years, Terri, and my new inside sale Coordinator Pamela,  helped out a lot….we all encourage and help one another whenever it is needed. My success is not solely because of me, it is because of all of those people who surround me that have helped me along the way.
Where you learn about product info:    Brokers, sales meetings, watching Food Programs, cooking mags and online sites
Favorite website:   do not have just one favorite
Hobbies:   Cooking, trivia competitions, going to the gym, socializing with Friends and family.
Favorite Brand to sell:   all of US Foods Scoop items, it gives me something to go to market with that others do not have and it helps our Chefs Make it their own.

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Tamara L. Bales of US FOODS Western Pennsylvania, based out of Greensburg, PA, is the latest DSR to be inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as the September DSR of the Month.

Cold Calls and managing her A/R are two of Tamara’s favorite parts of her job after 16 years of being a DSR. Her sales territory is in downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding five counties.

In her audio interview, Bales explains that when she is making a cold call she not only checks out the place, she talks to everybody she can, including servers, bartenders or the owner. Tamara asks open-ended questions and then really listens to the answers because the prospects always tell her what she needs to do next to keep the conversation going.

Tamara says she treats calling on prospects like a game because it’s all about the numbers. If you call on twenty prospects you might end up with two or three solid customers. To get really good at cold calling you must practice, and the more you practice, the better you get.

This DSR of the Month says that about 3 out of 10 operators really know what they’re doing and truly understand the industry, while the other 7 out of 10 need her help to make money. Bales warns DSRs though that no operators want to hear that they’re not doing it right. One of the best ways she learns what help an operator might need is to ask even more open-ended questions during normal conversation so she can pinpoint the problem and hopefully sell them a solution.

Tamara takes great pride in keeping her A/R collections current. She explains how she “gets her money” in her interview. The short version of her A/R success and recommendation is to make friends with those who pay the bills and also with the folks on your A/R team so when there’s a problem, you’ll get the help you need to get the bills paid.

Topics & Sales Tips discussed by Tamara and DSR Dave:

  • It is important to remember that your success is not solely because of your efforts. If you have a good team, they are partly responsible for your success... be grateful and let them know!
  • DSRs should take vacations to help them stay mentally and physically sharp.
  • During normal discussions with your customers and prospects, you will find solutions to many problems and can make it a point to set up a time to talk about your ideas for a solution.
  • Tamara’s suggestion to Greenhorns is to develop a passion for this profession.  Customers LOVE doing business with DSRs who have PASSION for helping them in their business. The more passion you have for your job and this industry, the easier it is to beat your goals.
  • Practicing cold-calls helps you get better at doing them. Practice every day just like professional athletes do because practice makes you better.

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