|Years as a DSR||More than 2 years|
|Annual sales volume||> $3 million|
|No. of active accounts||28, the majority as sole partner|
|Type of accounts||Restaurants, healthcare facilities, daycares and hotels|
|Territory||SE suburbs of Houston, TX|
|Biggest attributes||Relationship building|
|Best tools/support||Glazier's PIP program|
|Favorite categories||Anything that helps the business owner|
|Learned the hard way||Overcoming the price sheet mentality|
|Always||Look to be better|
|Never||Try to sell before you understand the partner's needs|
|Top trends seeing||Replacing beef with other protiens, farm-to-table, gluten-free|
|Mojo Motto||"Begin with the end in mind." – Steven Covey|
With a background in the professional kitchen, including a year of living and cooking in France, Jorge San Juan has the chops to partner with his clients on a deeper level as a hands-on consultant. He’s been a distributor sales rep with Glazier Foods, now a Gordon Foodservice company, for a little more than two years in the southeast suburbs of Houston, Texas.
San Juan’s territory includes some rural locations, and his culinary background has helped businesses in those areas test out and menu new dishes that suit the current healthful dining trends.
“We did some salmon dishes,” says San Juan. “We got into the kitchen, prepared it together, went over the steps of setting it up for service, and then we tasted it. After, we broke down the cost and the menu price.”
San Juan really sees himself as a consultant, more than a salesman. “I really look to become a part of my partners’ businesses to help them reach higher goals and look at different ways to make things work.”
Partners, not just customers
He knows his partners are busy people, with demanding careers, and that a work/life balance isn’t always in the cards for them. San Juan gets to know them as friends, meeting their families and understanding the demands on their time.
“I try to come up with a service structure that can get them to concentrate on other parts of their business,” he says. “I want to allow them to enjoy what they’re doing while they’re working.”
Just last year, he tackled his first big event with a partner – a German restaurant that wanted to host an Oktoberfest celebration. Sitting down with the owner and general manager, they worked through the logistics and needs a month in advance. It was clear the restaurant would not have the cooler and freezer space needed to store all the volume necessary.
Going back to Glazier and working with the merchandising and transportation departments, San Juan ensured that not only would all the necessary product be available, he had a refrigeration truck set up outside the restaurant for 4-5 days.
“It ensured they had everything there, ready to go, and in all honesty, it went off without a hitch,” says San Juan. “We’re already planning for the next one this year.”
“Jorge has really transitioned well from the foodservice-typical transactional, product features and benefits sales person, to an industry sales professional that is very focused on helping customers improve performance,” says Jeff Oetken, Glazier Foods vice president of sales. “He utilizes his restaurant operations experience, culinary background, as well as Glazier’s PIP Program to help customers build a better business. Jorge is an example of how we want all of our sales staff working to help customers grow.”
PIP, which stands for “Partners in Progress”, is a program Glazier implemented last year that provides DSRs an outline to assist their clients in a variety of aspects of their businesses, from profitability to attracting talent. It gives the client steps to build their businesses, and places the DSR in a consultant role.
Staying on top of the industry
When it comes to staying on top of new product knowledge and trends, San Juan reads constantly. One of his top sources is CultureMap, an online publication that focuses on the Houston and Austin markets. “Regionally, I read that all the time,” he says. “It’s a lot of chefs I’ve either known in the past, or new restaurants that are coming up.”
He’s also currently focusing on the beef market, and keeping an eye on both the prices and alternatives.
“I’ve got some barbecue houses that are hurting right now. We’ve starting carrying some of the new pork cuts, like the pork ribeye, because you’re got to give them those options,” he says.
“Chicken fried steak is really big, especially in the rural areas. We’ve got a pork cutlet that we’re doing that matches up fantastic to the beef. It is really, really good.”
Diversified for success
San Juan is diversified in all his accounts because he focuses on his partners’ business needs. He doesn’t have a favorite category, because he has to stay on top of all of them. “For the most part, I’m the sole if not the primary provider,” he says. “From chemicals to beef, center of the plate, produce. I do it all. What matters to me is figuring out what their business needs.”
For San Juan, his biggest challenge is helping clients past the price sheet mentality. “The customers have had to deal with it for so long, it’s hard to get them over that hump sometimes. I’m not a price sheet; I’m more than the products. I really want to help.”
He loves going to work every week, and San Juan’s Mojo Motto is a quote from Stephen Covey: “Begin with the end in mind.”
“As small as from how you’re going to start your day, to beginning a new partnership, big or small always have the end result in your mind and how you’re going to get there,” he says.
Written by Amanda M. Westbrooks, editor for ID Report and a contributing editor to a variety of B2B foodservice publications for more than 10 years. She can frequently be found on farms, in professional kitchens, cleaning her own fish and winning the occasional writing award. Follow her on Twitter at: @AMWestbrooks  or email her at [email protected]