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Years as a DSR 12 years
Annual sales volume $3.2 million
No. of active accounts 40+
Territory South Florida
Biggest attributes Listening
Best tools/support Online catalog system
Favorite category All of them!
Learned the hard way Don't make promises you can't keep.
Always Give your customers facetime. 
Never Talk about competition or other customers in front of your customers. It's unprofessional.
Mojo Motto If you don’t take care of your customers, somebody else will. 

 

DSR of the Month

Alice Spencer
Cheney Brothers
South Florida
Cancer Survivor Thought Outside the Box to Rebuild her Business

In the 12 years Alice Spencer has worked for Cheney Brothers, she’s seen the small family-owned distributor grow into a billion dollar company. But when her biggest personal challenge hit two years ago, in the form of a Stage II breast cancer diagnosis, Spencer’s employer proved that it had not outgrown its family origins.

“Cheney Brothers was so wonderful to me during that time,” says Spencer, who admits that her own battle included a year and a half of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and a number of compilations. “They were supportive and allowed me to work as I could to the best of my ability.”

Regardless, Spencer’s business suffered because she was unable to make as much time to meet with her customers face-to-face, spend as much time in the car on calls, and manage the physical and mental discomforts caused by the treatment. “Between the surgery, chemo and radiation, it was a difficult time,” she says.

But now she’s back and on top of he game. “My mind is clear, I’m cancer-free, and I’m able to focus on my work, versus getting healthy,” Spencer says.

To do that, she started thinking outside of the box. Cheney Brothers doesn’t assign territories to their DSRs, giving them more freedom to seek out new clients. Spencer began driving into different areas and targeting larger accounts. “Before, most of my accounts were schools, shelters, restaurants and caterers—I had to focus on some bigger fish,” she says. “In south Florida, the market is very competitive, and all the big players are here, so you have to go in with your gameface on and deliver.”

"I can’t say enough good things about Alice," says her district sales manager, Harry Fritzius. "She is a terrific rep who handles her customers very well. She is hard working and dedicated to her craft. A true professional."

One of her most challenging accounts is a restaurant owner who used to be a specialist at another foodservice distributor, and knows exactly what he should be paying for every line item. “He shows me invoices and is very cost-conscious. I think he contacts me twice a day. I answer the phone all the time. Every call. For me, it doesn’t matter how big or small a customer you are, you’re all equally valuable,” she says.

Spencer started working in the restaurant industry at 16, worked her way up to management and stayed with it until she became a DSR at 40. “Back then, I didn’t like the way a lot of the sales reps treated me, so I treat my customers the way I wish I had been treated,” she says. Spencer tries to give as much facetime to her customers as possible, visiting some weekly, and others every 2-3 weeks. “It also gives me the opportunity to see what line items my competition has in there, and penetrate deeper into the business.”

Plus, she just loves meeting people. “You can always learn from others and what they’ve done. It’s educational being a rep and driving out to my accounts,” says Spencer. “I like that my schedule is diverse, and gives me a lot of freedom. I don’t think I’d ever want to work in four walls again.”