Having spent part of the last forty years in a career as a marketing associate, I also have been an owner and chef purchasing products from vendors to operate a restaurant. Being a Marketing Associate given me an advantage when it comes to operating a restaurant.
Back in 1991 I was a working chef in a resort. I was approached by my sales associate to see if I would be interested in selling food instead of cooking it. My passion was in the kitchen and considering leaving the kitchen and going to the streets and selling to chefs, just like me was not gong to be easy. Coming from the resort industry and in a new position, I was appreciative of the new working conditions and the hours and the benefits and the vacation. Verses working in a food operation and not knowing when and if I could take time off…well you get the picture! I have to say the move from the kitchen to the street selling was one of the best moves in my career. And not to say one of the best educations I could have ever received.
The question, before you is, is how important is it to have a reputable and trustworthy vendor for your business?
Merriam-Webster definition of “Caveat Emptor” is the principle that a person who buys something is responsible for making sure that it is in good condition works properly,, etc..
Even though, the sales person isn’t directly responsible for goods arriving in good condition. The sales person is your direct communication in purchasing, and why it is important to have a good relationship.
Getting to know your sales person and having a mutual respect, building a relationship, and explaining your goals and your menu needs will help eliminate problems in the future.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Benjamin Franklin once said, “A investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Don’t sell yourself short when it come to thinking what your salesperson is. They bring a wealth of experience, and you need to take advantage of what they have to offer. But if they show up, and you have had to ask where their laptop is and they don’t show interest in your operation you might have an order taker. You then need to ask for a new salesperson to handle your account.
The first thing I did when I was going to a new client was to offer my experience, my knowledge, and my commitment to their restaurant.
The second thing I did was to understand their schedule and their operation peak hours. Showing up during a lunch rush was not a wise thing to do.
The third thing I did was to show them that the variety of programs available to help them with the operation of their business.
The fourth thing I did was to educate perspective clients on market trends and how this might help them in making decision in their purchasing.
The fifth thing I did was to show them what a broad line distributor can do for them and how they can take advantage of the one-stop shopping theory.
MAKING IT LAST
Building a good relationship, nurturing it with appreciation, gratitude and respect will lead to a long lasting friendship that will benefit all involved.
In closing, I’ll leave you with these famous words from the great philosopher Plato, “A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.”
I wish you success in all your endeavors!