AFDR’s DSR of the Month for July 2014 is Paul Bauer of Kohl Wholesale in Quincy, Illinois.  Bauer is the latest inductee into the DSR Hall of Fame.

Paul started working with Kohl Wholesale 38 years ago with the last 25 as a DSR.  Bauer started in the office doing just about everything from customer service to purchasing and even helping in the warehouse.  Over those beginning years, he started running DSRs’ routes when they went on vacation or needed backup, and finally a route came open and Paul jumped on it.

This DSR of the Month likes to be the last man standing when working on new accounts and always tries to use the advice of his Sales Manager to BRING VALUE to every call you make on a customer/prospect; value that you can come back with on the next call.  Put a point of sale in their hand, an idea in their head, and/or a sample in their mouth.  Leave something behind on every sales call so the prospect knows that you have some reason to come back. 

On the show, Paul also explains how he recently landed a new account that he had been calling on for 10 years.

Bauer’s advice for every DSR to grow their business is to be organized, have a plan for the day, and develop a strategy to become the prime vendor in every account you have, and are calling on.

You can feel the passion Paul has for his profession as you listen to his interview.

Hillshire Farm®

Product Number: 09400
Dot Number: 417223
UPC: 44500094008
Pack size: 1-11 lb.

100% USDA-inspected cuts of coarse-ground pork and beef in fork-tender casings and naturally hardwood smoked.

Great for: College & University, Nursing & Retirement Homes, Taverns & Bars, Catering, Church Foodservice, Buffets, Hospitals, In-Plant Feeders

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John Martin says LEARN & Sell the TOUGH ITEMS to make real money<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


John Martin of Martin Bros. Distributing Co. gives DSRs some words of wisdom about selling the more difficult products.  These are the products (for the most part) that you’re not selling your existing customers. 

The difference between a mediocre DSR and a great DSR is a willingness to put in the extra time to learn the tough product categories and to learn how they may work in your customer’s particular applications.

From a recent AFDR survey, DSRs said that toughest items to sell are:  Center of the plate, Equipment & Supplies, Chemicals & Janitorial, Disposables, and Produce

Mr. Martin says that some DSRs have a tendency to go for the EASY SELL, but the REAL MONEY is always in the HARD SELL items. 

Martin says the long-term result of a DSR learning the TOUGH product categories is much better relationships with customers because they know you care more and are willing to take the extra steps to learn these products. 

DSR Dave talks about actively pursuing the training you need to succeed in your sales goals.  Miesse says you have to go searching for the training; you can’t wait for it to come to you.


Operator Art Goodwin tells guest host Steve Dahl and DSR Dave that he has NEVER found one distributor that could supply his operation with everything he uses.  

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Goodwin’s Family Restaurant in Circleville, Ohio ( ) has been in business since 1979. Goodwin has specs for the ingredients he uses in his recipes, and expects his prime distributor to stock these products. 


Art doesn’t think DSRs are as knowledgeable about products as DSRs from years past.  Although Goodwin has a really good DSR now, he’s only had three or four good sales reps out of all the ones he’s purchased from over the last 27 years or so.


Goodwin considers his current DSR a partner in his business.  He deals with him like a “very important employee” because his DSR is that vital to Goodwin making money.


When Distributors send in new (Greenhorn) DSRs to take over his account, Goodwin is usually the one who ends up training them.  


When a new DSR and vendor comes in trying to solicit his business, Goodwin expects to get the same credit terms he has with his current distributor.  He says, “Hey, they’re trying to get my business, I didn’t call them, they called on me.”


Franke Hilson of Ben E Keith, Little Rock, Arkansas division has a PROVEN, simple formula for opening new accounts that has been refined during his 20-plus years in foodservice sales.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Franke does not look at his first call on a prospect as a “cold call.”  He looks at it like this prospect might become one of his best friends in about a year or so; he’s looking for a future partner.  Hilson says it’s more of an interview process, not a cold call.


One of the first things Hilson does is to find a need the prospect has that he can fill using his “Top 10” products which are always a differentiator. 


Franke says you need to learn your competitors’ tendencies so you can adjust your products and pricing based on which DSR you are competing with.


Hilson Never codes out an order guide that was put together by another DSR when asked to by a prospect.  Instead, he asks the prospect for the last two week’s invoices with prices cut off so he can code out the products that they’re really using, and he can see how many cases of each product they use so he can price accordingly. 


Before he leaves a prospect, the LAST TWO questions Franke asks at the end of this first meeting are, “What things do you like the most about your current supplier?”  Then LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN… Next, IS ALWAYS HILSON’S LAST QUESTION:  “What do you like the LEAST about your current supplier; what do you wish they would change?”  Again, LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN and they will tell you exactly what you need to do to start selling them.


When the prospect tells him they’re highly loyal and really happy with their current supplier, Hilson pulls out one of his cards and hand-writes on the back a specific note:  This card is good for ONE FREE, NO OBLIGATION DELIVERY; this is your “GET ME OUT OF A JAM CARD”…  When the chips are down, Franke will always be around!!


These simple steps have led to consistent success – and Franke’s induction into AFDR’s DSR Hall of Fame in 2011. 


Greenhorns, this show is a MUST listen to!!


On this show, operators from Hospitals, College Food Service Operations, Casinos, Caterers, and white table cloth and casual dining establishments all give their advice to DSRs as to what works and what doesn’t work when a DSR is working with them.

Operators speak loud and clear about their likes and dislikes about DSRs.  The DSR’s customers also tell us how they like to be called on when a DSR makes their first call with them.

Listen in to hear what one operator says he’ll NOT let a DSR slide on, and what other operators say they expect out of their DSRs.  Operators count on their DSRs to have strong Product knowledge and to stay up-to-date on the market situations with the products they purchase from the DSR.

Greenhorns listen up; one of the operators actually likes dealing with newer sales people because it gives him the chance to train them versus dealing with a DSR who is not willing to change.

Listen to the show.


The Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible” star chef, Robert Irvine, sheds some light on what really goes on with independent operators on a daily basis.  What Robert does on this show is what any good DSR should be doing for their customers week in and week out.

The show really never digs into what happens “upstream” of the back door of the operation except to talk about which kinds of ingredients an operator should or should not be using.  DSRs do what Robert does with the front and the back of the house, PLUS they have to make sure their operators are purchasing the right items every week because the operator considers their DSR to be their most valued and trusted business partner.

AFDR DSR of the Year, Tony Gonzales, a DSR with Shamrock Foods, Todd Hauser, AFDR President/DSR with Martin Bros. and DSR Dave give great “real life” examples of how they and their companies’ SPECIALISTS help transform their customers’ profitability in their businesses and even their livelihood.

AFDR also suggests that Distributors might want to come up with their own version of what we call, “Restaurant POSSIBLE” team by using their specialists (or anybody they have in-house who has the necessary skills) to help their independent operators transform their operations into money-making machines.  Irvine is helping pave the way!

Sysco signed a deal with Mr. Irvine and The Food Network to be a major sponsor of the show.  Maybe someday soon Robert will recognize that most successful operators are working closely with a DSR on the things that matter the most in the day-to-day operations.   This is something he could leave the operator and their refurbished business with…a good DSR who will help implement the new systems that Robert put in place.


Will Calls… most DSRs have a love-hate relationship with them.

Will Calls are a good measure for two important things:

  1. the confidence customers have that you can solve their problem
  2. how well you manage their order guides

DSRLive’s DSR Dave Miesse and guest host, Bill Hornung discuss how to minimize the Will Calls that you make, and penetrate your accounts at the same time. Order guides are the roadmap to success and to making less Will Calls.

Will Calls are a DSM management opportunity, listen up!


624: Which DSR are you?

DSR Amy Mrozinski, a regular guest on DSRLive, went back to her hometown and did her own episode of “Restaurant Possible” to help a friend who had gotten into the restaurant business about a year ago.   Mrozinski asked the DSRs and distributors who were currently selling to her friend’s restaurant to send them  needed reports so she could figure numbers, product specs and come up with a game plan to make money in this operation.

Listen to how one DSR came through with the needed information, and one did NOT.  Would you have been the DSR who got the needed information, or the DSR who did not think enough of this customer to even respond?


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