“It’s been an awesome journey.”
Aaron Huotari who was a chef for 20 years and is now working as a DSR explains his first year and a half on the job and how things have changed.
It’s amazing what a difference there is in confidence and knowledge of products, relationship building with specialists, vendors, brokers and being a resource for customers after a year and a half on the job compared to when first starting.
Aaron thought it would be a breeze since he had watched his reps (when working in the kitchen) over the years but found out he went in ill-prepared. He admits that in his mind while working as a chef, he used to think that DSRs got to drive around all day and stop and chit chat, take a couple orders here and there, and then go home to be with their families or do whatever they wanted.
But the reality of the situation is that there are so many moving parts. To be a good DSR, there’s so much you need to know, stay on top of, be organized, and manage your time with, plus the whole sales side of it. Aaron says, “I have a whole different level of respect for people that do the job that I do.”
Just in the last 6-9 months, Aaron has experienced incredible growth. A lot of this growth has come as a result of knowledge of products. Additionally, the relationship building with the specialists in his company, the vendor reps, brokers, plus learning the products to be able to be a resource to his customers and providing them with much more relevant information.
When he first started, Aaron realizes now that he didn’t prep properly and wasn’t asking enough questions and then listening to see if he and his company could help them.
Now, prep is huge because he turns a cold lead into a warm one by checking online, social media, coming up with a name through eating there as a customer and asking questions of the bartender or waiter. When there as a customer he receives a warmer welcome than just walking in as a salesman asking the same questions. You have to get past the gatekeeper. So, as a customer, you can check out what kind of food they have and its quality, asking what they sell the most and what their favorite items are on the menu, then ordering it and asking who owns it, runs it, etc.
Aaron then does the research on who he’s going to call on next time in and anticipates possible questions they might ask and jots about 10 down with his answers, plus goes in with some solutions his company offers.
For Aaron, once he’s in the parking lot of the prospect with his research in hand and mind, he says his own car door is the hardest door to go through. His advice is to get out within 5-10 SECONDS so you don’t talk yourself into NOT opening your car door and walking into the place. Once he goes through the prospect’s door, he says you’ll realize it’s not what you thought it would be, it is way better and easier than you ever expected. The more you do it, the better it gets.
Time management has been the hardest thing for Huotari to conquer from those first 10 accounts (that felt like 50). You may feel like you don’t have time to do the things needed, but just hang in there because after a year and a half, that stuff starts becoming second nature and it becomes a lot easier. For Huotari, from where he started to now with his time management is night and day difference. He says you hone your skills. It has become the most satisfying because at the end of his work week, when he’s taken care of all of his customers and his follow ups are done, and he knows it’s all buttoned up, he can rest his head on his pillow at night and feel pretty good about all he accomplished.
Be a Resource and Sell Something!