|DSR of the Month||Donald Maccini of Colony Foods|
|Years as a DSR||11|
|Annual sales volume||$4 million|
|No. of active accounts||65|
|Type of accounts||Pizza & sub shops, restaurants and bars|
|Territory||Massachusetts and New Hampshire|
|Biggest attributes||Persistence and patience|
|Best tools/support||Teamwork with inside reps, peers, drivers|
|Favorite category||The most profitable|
|Learned the hard way||If a customer signs up at the first meeting, something is not right|
|Always||Be a good listener|
|Never||Lie to your customers|
|Best thing about being a DSR||Being free to schedule according to customers’ needs|
|Worst thing||Having to deal with uncomfortable situations beyond my control|
|Top trends seeing||New items to give a competitive edge|
|Mojo Motto||No matter what happens today, there’s always tomorrow.|
DSR of the Month
Persistence and patience are the key characteristics that are responsible for Donald Maccini’s success as a distributor sales rep (DSR). Persistence comes into play with follow-up. He doesn’t let anything fall through the cracks after meetings with his customers. Patience is required to keep a big-picture view and not get discouraged if things don’t happen immediately.
Maccini has been a DSR for 11 years, 10 of those with Colony Foods in Lawrence, Mass. Prior to becoming a rep, he spent six years as a driver, learning the business from the ground up. His territory includes Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where he has 65 accounts. His customer base ranges from pizza and sub shops to restaurants and bars.
Teamwork is also important to getting things done, Maccini says. “We all work together as a team, calling one another and helping whenever possible.” The ‘we’ includes inside sales reps, drivers and other Colony DSRs. He also works frequently with brokers, both for new product tips and for product demos and ride-withs.
Scheduling Time to Help Customers
Maccini uses a weekly planner to chart out his account meetings. When he visits each account, he spends the time looking for ways to help the operator increase business. He brings new products and fresh ideas to the table. Always on the lookout for what’s new, he gets ideas at sales meetings and from peers. He also leaves time for cold calling to develop new business.
One cautionary piece of advice about what a DSR should not do focuses on credit scores. He learned the hard way that, if an operator wants to sign up at the first meeting – before developing a relationship and an understanding of the company’s capabilities, it may signal a cash flow problem with the operation. “It’s a red flag,” he says. He advises always getting a new customer’s credit approved before starting a relationship.
Listening Makes a Good DSR
Being a good listener is No. 1 in being a good DSR, Maccini believes. “Never be condescending,” he says. “It’s not about what I want, it’s what my customers want.” Second is to be willing to “go the distance” to help each customer develop his business. Third is, since you assuredly will be faced with uncomfortable situations, handle them right away.
On the ‘don’t’ side, Maccini says, don’t ever lie about or misrepresent what you can do for customers. An extension of this is never to ignore their calls. Always respond in a timely fashion, otherwise problems can escalate.
Maccini likes the freedom he has to create a schedule that will best meet his customers’ needs. He visits accounts at night as well as during the day. “I’m the one my customers rely on to fix everything,” he says. As an example of “fixing” something, he tells the story of a customer who was making Greek pizza in a market that was already saturated with Greek pizza restaurants. He talked him into changing his menu to feature thin crust Italian pizza. The change did the trick and the customer is successful to this day.
Over the years, experience has taught Maccini who will be a good prospect and who will not. This ability allows him to work more efficiently and is responsible for the words he lives by: “No matter what happens today, there’s always tomorrow. There is always work to do.” As for his career as a DSR, he says, “There isn’t anything else I’d rather do.”
Written by Caroline Perkins, author of Customer Care & Feeding: The Ultimate B2B Selling Strategy. Visit www.customercareandfeeding.com