October 2016, Jeff Keel, BEN E. KEITH, DSR of the Month

DSR Years of experience:   25
Annual volume:     5.2 million
Number of active accounts:   36
Average line items per stop:   25
Territory/City/Area where you sell:    Dallas—Fort Worth metroplex
Favorite type of account:     Independent
Best tools that help you sell:     Manufacture Reps/brokers, sampling and social media
Where you learn about product info:    Food shows, sales meetings, marketing department.
Favorite website:   Keith IQ [company website]
Hobbies:   Racquetball, riding my Harley, dining out with the family.
Favorite Brand to sell:  Keith Essentails,1855, Markon Produce

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Jeff Keel of BEN E. KEITH, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX is the latest DSR to be inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame as the October DSR of the Month.

In the past 25 years many things have changed in the foodservice distribution industry, but when calling on prospects, DSR of the Month Jeff Keel says he likes to start in the morning by going in the back door when most Chefs and Cooks are in action and knee deep in doing prep.

Hall of Famer Keel says even though most places might have a NO SOLICITING sign hanging on the back door, he walks in and introduces himself as a foodservice representative and more accept him than resist him. If the back door is locked, Keel will go around to the front door or any door so he can check the place out.

Keel says if he’s in a place for just 5 minutes he can gather a ton of useful information. Intel like seeing first-hand if they’re shopping at box stores and who they’re buying their groceries from. He can also see how clean or dirty the place is and get a feeling for their culture. This account discovery process answers questions that might take most DSRs months or even years to figure out.

Jeff says he gets more acceptance than resistance with his cold call approach.

Jeff says in his audio interview, with prospects, he’ll go in whatever door he needs to so he can explain the 110-year Ben E. Keith story. According to Jeff, it’s one heck of a great story and it’s exactly what any prospect needs in 2016 to make money in this business.

Keel says his customers are what keep him motivated after all these years in this profession. Making his calls every week and seeing his customers/his friends, not only motivates him, it also motivates them to be in business!

When it comes to managing his A/R, Jeff is really clear with his customers and tells them the truth when it comes to collecting money. He explains (in a professional manner) that he does not get paid unless they pay their bill. He says, “They’ve got the groceries and now we need the money to purchase more!”

Topics discussed on DSR of the Month, Jeff Keel’s audio interview:

  • ACH form for managing his A/R is part of his application process with prospects
  • It’s a team effort when managing A/R. His Credit Manager has the tough job of approving (or not) the credit for customers, and it is Keel’s job to sell the groceries.
  • Multiple TIPS for GREENHORNS on managing A/R. DO IT EVERYDAY!
  • He figures that by the time he gets to the front-of-the-house he’ll get the feeling of whether a prospect is a good fit for him.
  • He likes to introduce himself to everybody he comes in contact with while working his way from the back-of-the-house to the front-of-the-house.

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