|Years as a DSR||16|
|Annual sales volume||$4.5 million|
|No. of active accounts||44|
|Type of accounts||Independent street business, daycare and healthcare|
|Biggest attributes||Ability to build relationships with customers and product knowledge|
|Best tools/support||Teamwork with buyers, specialists and brokers|
|Learned the hard way||Important to know everyone in the customer’s operation|
|Never||Don’t talk bad about the competition, over promise or mislead a customer|
|Best thing about being a DSR||Long-term relationships with customers|
|Worst thing||Working hard and being loyal to a customer and they do not return that loyalty|
|Top trends seeing||Customers looking for new ideas in tough times|
|Mojo Motto||“Outwork and outsell the competition”|
DSR of the Month
Many sales people give lip service to providing excellent customer service but only the best execute that skill successfully. A true test of extraordinary customer service is making the seemingly impossible possible. Last fall, Glenn Pudenz, was faced with the seemingly impossible. Pudenz, a distributor sales rep (DSR) at Glazier Foods, received a call at 7 p.m. A customer wanted to take his catering rig to feed workers fighting the wildfires that were raging through the drought-stricken state. He wanted to be on the road the next day!
Pudenz worked through the night and, by 10 a.m. the next day, a truck filled with the necessary provisions was ready to roll. “It was a team effort,” says Pudenz, “between our buyers, transportation and management.” The customer was able to feed close to 3,000 workers. Pudenz didn’t stop at organizing the supplies. He went to the site and helped with the humanitarian project. “I spent a lot of night hours there,” he says.
Building and maintaining strong customer relationships is one of Pudenz’s key strengths. How does he do it? “It’s just common sense,” he says. “If you say you’ll do something, you do it. Plus you have to treat customers with honesty and integrity. You have to be committed to customer service and be passionate about your job.”
One of his customers says, “Pudenz is a race horse when it comes to customer service, not only before but after the sale. I have not seen the work ethic and drive that he puts forward in his job performance from anyone else that I have dealt with in the food industry.” He adds, “He continues to go above and beyond all reasonable expectation. Day or night, week day or weekend, I have called on him and he has delivered.”
Product Knowledge Comes from Years of Practice
Pudenz’s other strength is product knowledge, particularly in the area of center-of-the-plate. He began his career at a center-of-the-plate distributor in Kansas City and spent nine years there, developing in-depth knowledge of the category. He next spent six years at a local broadline company and has now been with Glazier one year.
Like most DSRs, Pudenz’s office is his car; he doesn’t spend a lot of time at a desk. He serves 44 accounts, mostly independent operators with a few day care centers and healthcare facilities. After a full day, he spends the evening pre-planning customer calls. “It’s important to work your plan,” he explains.
Teamwork is a driving force of his ability to serve customers well. He relies on Glazier buyers and specialists – mostly beverage and chemical – and brokers to help him with consultative selling, counting on them for trend information and product applications.
Pudenz has found that operators are looking for new ideas on a regular basis during these tough economic times. He describes one customer who features a number of steak and beef items on his menu. With beef prices increasing, the customer was having margin issues. Pudenz introduced a pork tenderloin that reduced the item cost by 35% and allowed for a decent profit. The customer was thrilled. “I sample new products all the time. You should never think that someone might not want a particular application. Don’t outthink yourself,” he says.
Jeff Oetken, vice president of sales at Glazier, sees Pudenz as “one of the most committed distributor sales professionals I have ever worked with. Glenn will outwork, outsell and outservice any competitor in the industry. He’s the model we would like to see others follow.”
When asked what he would be doing if he were not a DSR, Pudenz says, “This is all I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Caroline Perkins is author of Customer Care & Feeding: The Ultimate B2B Selling Strategy. Visit www.customercareandfeeding.com.