December 2016, Jim Leonard, HPC Foodservice, DSR of the Month

DSR Years of experience:   17
Annual volume:    23 million
Number of active accounts:   135
Average line items per stop:   49
Territory/City/Area where you sell:  MA, CT, NH, PA, NY, RI, ME
Favorite type of account:     Nursing homes and assisted living
Best tools that help you sell:     Always gaining more knowledge of the industry, awareness of food cost in long-term care
Where you learn about new products:    Sales meetings and working with vendors
Favorite website:
Hobbies:   Traveling and reading
Favorite Brand to sell:  Frosty Acres and National Brands


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Jim Leonard says that, “Anybody can sell food, but if you want to avoid the PRICE issue trap you need to provide other services that help your customers run their business.”

Jim Leonard of HPC Foodservice based in South Windsor, Connecticut has been awarded DSR of the Month for December and is being inducted into the AFDR DSR Hall of Fame.

Jim, a 35-year veteran, along with his wife, Barbara and daughter Jenniffer specialize in the long-term care, assisted living and nursing home segment. He started his career selling coffee to all segments in the industry. That all changed when he made a will-call delivery as a favor for the company to a nursing home. The customer said she needed a new sales rep that would take the “extra steps” necessary so she could run the facility more smoothly. The rest is history!

Mr. Leonard explains how the PROLINE division of HPC Foodservice is unique in that they develop customized beverage and chemical programs and services, and unlike most broadline distributors, HPC keeps them in-house. He explains in his audio interview that this commitment to complete customer satisfaction ties all the services and products together so customers depend on Jim and HPC so much that it’s tough for another distributor to get much, if any of the business from one of his accounts.

Not only does Leonard & Co. provide most of the services his customers need, he provides services beyond those by helping find employees for not only the kitchen, but any human resource that might be needed in a facility, including the administrator! Jim will even sit in on a final interview to help ensure they’re hiring the right person.

Leonard says he’s learned how to take vacations and take care of business at the same time. After not really taking a vacation the first ten years in his career, he says now he takes his phone and answers it when a customer calls. Answering your phone when a customer calls and letting them know you’re on vacation makes them feel special that they were important enough for you to answer, that it minimizes the issue. Jim handles the issue, whether big or small. Customers really respect you more, and when you come back from vacation, things are not as chaotic, they are back to normal.

Topics & Sales Tips discussed by Jim Leonard and DSR Dave:

  • When making cold-calls, Jim says unless the prospect tells you to get the hell out, they’re interested!
  • Jim and his daughter invested in top quality freezer bags so they can provide extraordinary customer service to their customers.
  • How do you make cold calls on a long-term facility? Leonard says it’s very simple, call and make an appointment!
  • A/R management advice: Don’t be afraid to ask for your money. Explain that you sold them the product, they understood the terms, so it is appropriate for them to pay the money or you’re not going to ship!

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