|Years as a DSR||20|
|Annual sales volume||$6.5 million|
|No. of active accounts||150 units|
|Type of accounts||Mostly QSR|
|Territory||Metro New York to Boston|
|Biggest attributes||Ability to identify opportunities|
|Best tools/support||Entire team|
|Favorite category||Equipment & Supplies|
|Learned the hard way||Not sufficiently prepared|
|Best thing about being a DSR||Able to be entrepreneurial all the time|
|Worst thing||Having to spend time fighting fires|
|Top trends seeing||Health/sustainability|
|Mojo Motto||"Why not go after what you want?"|
DSR of the Month
Tim White’s strong suit is prospecting and it’s working. His sales have grown $1.5 million over the past six months. White, who is a DSR at Perkins in Taunton, Mass., now has sales of $6.5 million. He spends a lot of windshield time meeting with customers, as his territory stretches from Metro New York to Boston.
As Jack Boyajian, senior vice president of sales, says, “Tim is relentless is his pursuit of customer satisfaction. He’s a tireless prospector.”
“I look for customers that have operations where I would want to eat,” White says. “I identify opportunities with existing or new operations and find prospects that fit with out abilities.” He handles a lot of accounts – around 150 units – mostly multi-unit operations. He eventually turns some of them over to new DSRs coming on board.
It takes an entire team to support as many customers as he serves, and White has a good one. “Our slogan is “Our People Deliver More’ and it’s true. I couldn’t do without our team,” White says. The management team has an open-door policy and he is able to take advantage of their knowledge and expertise. There are also specialists in every key category, from seafood to E&S. White also depends on brokers to join him in customer meetings.
Technology also makes it possible for White to keep up with his customer base efficiently. He encourages online ordering so that meetings can be concentrated on new ideas “Buyers want to see me at least every other week,” he explains, “so it’s not a hard routine.” He focuses on bringing value to customers, something that will either make them money or save them money.
Starting out as a specialist
Perkins was founded as a paper company in 1915, adding products over the years until entering the full broadline arena about eight years ago. Since then, the company has become a regional powerhouse. (In February of this year, Perkins was acquired by Gordon Food Service,)
White also started out in nonfoods. He began his career as an equipment and supplies rep. While many DSRs say their favorite category is center-of-the-plate, White prefers E&S. Covering the range from sanitation to layout and design, he believes that E&S sales are the basic category that leads to everything else. His early career gives him an advantage in that area.
Preparation is Rule No. 1
One lesson White learned the hard way. “I made the mistake of just walking in the back door without knowing what I was going to offer.” He believes the best thing a DSR can do is to be prepared for each meeting. These days, it’s also important to keep a strong, positive attitude as well. “You have to keep at it through the tough times,” he says.
The best thing about being a DSR is the ability to be entrepreneurial all the time, according to White. “We can develop our own business and be as creative as we can be. We’re in control.” The thing he likes to do best is to work with an independent restaurateur to pioneer a new concept.
Planning is key for White, especially when it comes to growing his business. “You have to take the time to plan growth and you have to work the plan,” he counsels.
White works hard to establish Perkins as the primary distributor for his accounts. He believes one-stop distribution is the best solution for an operator and believes that “one stop” should be Perkins. “People need distribution. Why not us?” he asks.
Written by Caroline Perkins, author of Customer Care & Feeding: The Ultimate B2B Selling Strategy. Visit www.customercareandfeeding.com