|Years as a DSR||3 1/2|
|Annual sales volume||$4.7 million|
|No. of active accounts||50|
|Type of accounts||Independent restaurants, cash and carry, a regional redistributors, a correctional facility|
|Biggest attributes||Account penetration|
|Best tools/support||Specialists and brokers|
|Favorite categories||Center of the plate and desserts|
|Learned the hard way||You have to treat everyone in the customer location equally|
|Always||Follow through, listen, be positive|
|Never||Fib about anything and never forget to change an order date if the order is for a different day than usual|
|Best thing about being a DSR||Relationships with customers|
|Worst thing||Working on Sunday|
|Top trends seeing||Increasing use of high-end produce|
|Mojo Motto||You are guaranteed to fail if you never try|
DSR of the Month
“You are never doing the same thing. That’s why I like being a DSR,” says Madison Stampley, a distributor sales rep (DSR) for Merchants Foodservice. She has been with Merchants for three and a half years. Previously she was a sales rep for a printing company. Merchants is headquartered in Hattiesburg, Miss., but Stampley works from the company’s Jackson, Miss. Distribution Center. Her territory is Natchez, a small town 90 miles from Jackson.
“I never feel like I’m working,” Stampley explains. Her relationships with customers are so strong that they treat each other like family.
Many of Stampley’s customers are small family restaurants, from casual to fine dining. Her overall mix is eclectic, including a casino, a correctional facility, cash and carry, and healthcare. She also sells to a regional redistributor that has a small route and sells foodservice-size products in a retail location.
Stampley has developed a talent for growing her business through account penetration, primarily by introducing new products. She relies on Merchants’ specialists as well as brokers for new product information.
A challenge most DSRs will never face
One of the biggest challenges in her career occurred with her correctional facility customer. An inmate riot resulted in the facility being shut down for a month. Inmates had set fires and had destroyed the kitchen. There are 2,600 inmates at the facility. Stampley got a desperate call on a Saturday, asking for help. Most distributors did not want to deal with the situation.
Stampley arranged to deliver sandwich makings that day and continued to fill orders until the kitchen was repaired, about a month later. As a result of helping them during the emergency, even though the facility ordinarily buys on bid, she now receives a weekly order.
Stampley strives to be positive in her dealings with customers. “People have bad days,” she says. “But I try not to be negative.” Her advice to new DSRs is to follow through every day to make sure things don’t ‘fall through the cracks.’ She also recommends treating everyone encountered in the back of the house equally “You never know, the dishwasher may end up as the order guy tomorrow,” she says.
Hal Hiatt is the Jackson Division president. He says, “Three things come to mind when I think of Madison: Passion, energy, and personality. She has the passion for her customers that lets them know she is working for them; she has the high energy level to meet the demands that come with this passion; and she has the personality to be a great DSR. Part of our company pledge is ‘I will always do what I say I will do, whatever it takes’ and I feel that these three traits allow Madison to honor this pledge each and every day.”
Written by Caroline Perkins, author of Customer Care & Feeding: The Ultimate B2B Selling Strategy. Visit www.customercareandfeeding.com