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Years as a DSR 8 years
Annual sales volume $5 million
No. of active accounts 80
Territory Eastern shore of Maryland
Biggest attributes Honest; cares about the customer
Best tools/support Exceptional customer service and purchasing staff
Favorite category Beef
Learned the hard way If it's too good to be true, tread lightly
Always Be honest, knowledgable and keep a consistent schedule
Never Give up
Top trends seeing Farm-to-table; local fresh items, more in-house prep work; less processed/precooked sales
Mojo Motto "It's not a sprint; it's a marathon."

DSR of the Month

Jamie Hudson
Holt Paper & Chemical Co.
Salisbury, MD
Jamie Hudson Finds Success Through a Setting a Steady Pace

“I enjoy the competition between sales reps,” says Jamie Hudson, a distributor sales rep (DSR) for Holt Paper & Chemical Company.  “I want to be the most valued rep to each customer I have, and help them succeed. It can be as little as finding a new product that is an exceptional seller, or giving them a new way to package a product that works better for an indiviual application.”

Hudson has been a DSR for only eight years. “He was on the way to becoming our top DSR in his first four years,” says Erin Jones, marketing administrator at Holt. In the last 4 years Hudson has twice achieved DSR of the Year and is the company’s only DSR with over $4 million in sales. He’s on track to eclipse that number this year with $5 million.

”More than monetary sales accomplishments, he has become a prime vendor in nearly all of his accounts and works tirelessly servicing Holt’s customers, “says Jones. “Jamie understands the importance of working with all the different departments within Holt to accomplish this goal.”

Before Holt, Hudson worked at his family’s paper company off-and-on for 10 years, through college, then as a full-time employee until it closed. “I had no food experience at all,” he admits. He started out as a purchasing agent, taking the opportunity to “learn the lingo” before moving into the sales department.

Turning the Heads of New Nanagement
This summer presented a unique challenge to Hudson, when a seasonal restaurant customer replaced their general manager and kitchen manager in the middle of the busy season. The new managers were not originally from the area, nor familiar with Holt as a food service distributor.

“They really weren’t interested in doing business with me, and the restaurant had purchased 70% of their products from Holt for the past five years,” says Hudson.

In the middle of summer, his busiest season, Hudson was able to call on his sales and marketing managers to set up a sampling and demonstrate first-hand how Holt was a business asset. “I feel that I gained the respect of the customer by showing product knowledge and knowledge of their business in ordering and inventory control,” he says. “I also leveraged the benefits that our company provides, such as seven day a week and express delivery service.”

The result? Hudson was able to regain the customer’s account and the previous sales volume.

Secrets to His Success
Like many successful DSRs today, Hudson pays attention to what his customers are serving, what menu items are working, and where the trends are going. He makes an effort to show them new ideas, and point out ordering patterns that may signify a dish is becoming stale on the menu.

“I still rely on our purchasing department a lot to keep abreast of all the new products and trends,” he admits. Farm-to-table is still going strong, and Hudson has noticed his customers are leaning away from the processed and pre-cooked items. “They want to do the prep work themselves,” he says.

For Hudson, a successful DSR should always be honest, knowledgeable, have a consistent schedule, and take care of the customer’s needs. “If you do those four things,” he says, “your customers will respect you and see that you are invested in their business, and you will be successful.”

He advises other DSRs not to overcharge and try to get rich quick. “Treat customers fairly and keep them for the long haul, rather than risking high turnover because you became greedy,” Hudson says. “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”