I'll change my avatar back if you do too.
I need the Pilsbury dough boy to take you seriously.
USF is no longer stocking the pastrami navel that I buy, FSA does not carry navel, so I call Sysco today, ask the local sales rep if they carry "Beef Pastrami Navel"..........(insert drum roll)............
The guy asks me if that is a brand of beef!!!!!!!
They are nothing but order takers these days and most know nothing about food or the products they sell.
I might be nuts, but it seems to me that by having someone ask you questions like this helps them learn and the next time they are asked they will be able to answer correctly. When you are a rep for a company like Sysco... I can see how you would not know everything they carry unless you have been there for 20 years. If you work with certain restaurants you may know what they buy and order very well, but not much outside of your frame of reference.
I used to hear folks that had been in the mortgage business for years tell people they don't need to work as hard as they did. The reality is that you guys have been in this business for years and you have the benefit of experience on your sides. When you are in a industry less than 5 years[and that is if you really pay attention] you do not know anything. There are trade names, brands change their lineups... to many variables to list. You just can not expect everyone to know everything you do. Training does not help as much as being grilled by your vendors.
The best teachers know how to teach because they have been asked questions and had to look up the answers. The best chefs can break down a chicken in 10% of the time it would take me, that does not come from anything but experience. Give some of these reps the benefit of the doubt. If he is stupid enough to ask you the same questions more than 2 times write him off. Not knowing if navel is a brand is a legit question... I do not know the answer to it personally.
I am going to politely disagree. I demoed gourmet products on the side for years. Chefbuba has it exactly right. What the hell good is it to me to have an order taker who receives a portion of my money. Years ago it was absolutely the duty of the reps. to understand their clients needs and educate themselves on related product. NOT TO MENTION make customers aware of new products coming out that might be of use or value. These sales persons have batched customers. One may represent the distributors baking line. Those items should be studied and cross referenced to supply substitutes in case of shorts.
When I was with Goutmet Foods International, the reps would gather frequently and ask questions about the pastry products
and ask for demos of things they did not understand. They did this instead of gathering for happy hour. An educated rep is an asset to the distributor. With knowledge they are able to upsell. Nothing erks me more then asking a rep a question about something and they just stare at me like I just grew another face. I don't see many of my reps because it really bothers me to be overcharges maybe 4-5% gross to cover their butts.
Hey, sometime I'll tell you how I really feel
A-yup. Sales rep is being paid a commision that comes out of my order. He's also getting paid a lot more than I, has actual holidays, and actual benefits.
If my 13 yr old knows the difference beween pastrami and corned beef (Yes Virginia, there is a difference) then the rep should know better as well.
If a sales rep does not know more about his/her products than I do, (s)he is not a sales rep and, IMHO, does not deserve any comission, I can read and order on line. Actually, I'll just shop myself, better product, lower prices, and I'm in control.
I guess I must have missed something, but it sounded like he did not use Sysco for the product and that he asked the rep about. It makes sense that you would expect a rep from a specialized company to know his products well if he has been on the job more than a month. I guess asking a rep from a company like Sysco to know all their products inside and out is like asking a new cook how to cook anything that can be cooked and where the recipe comes from.
I guess I have been in the shoes of a rep and know how hard it is in the beginning. I understand that the market is flooded with order takers as you put it, however I am also sure there is a learning curve. If your rep had been doing it for a long time then screw him, but if he is a new rep... let him try and prove himself.
I get where you guys are coming from, and I am new to all this, but don't lump every rep in with the jaded ones. I understand getting burned by these bastards can make you sore, and I am sure you all have many battle scares to prove it. I am sure I will get that way too someday, but I had to try and tame the temperament if I could.
@Panini When I was a rep for a bank, we where never told when changes came to our products and were never given advance notice of new products that came along. I am not sure how these companies work though. I got talked to by brokers like you talk about these guys when I first started, after about a year I got to know enough people up the chain that I got told ahead, but it took a ton of ass kissing and favors done to get it. If anyone knows how long it takes to educate ones self, it should be a Chef.
This concludes my public service announcement. Commence sales rep bashing!!!!
A "sales rep" represents, a sales person takes orders, in my book.
You are absolutely correct, no one person can know ALL of the broad-liner's products, but calling an "order taker" a "rep" is similar to calling a "prep cook" a "chef de cuisine", it is a misnomer and causes nothing but problems!
My Father proudly called himself a "peddler", he was a manufacturer's rep, read sales rep, for railway equipment, and he knew EVERY detail of every product in his "book", otherwise, it was not in his "book".
Whether or not the broad-liners follow the correct philosophy or not is their problem, you want my business, you'd better satisfy MY needs and wants, just as I have to do for my customers. I detest paying a "commission" to have someone write down my order, I've already done that!
I asked for a very common item, the guy should have known what I was asking for.
I have had some of the very best reps over the years, who earned every penny they got paid,could catch things that didn't get ordered, would run things out on a Saturday night because I effed up, or counts changed last minute after ordering product, etc
I would buy 3 cases of the crap of the week stuff they had to sell, and find a use for it, but I would also get a great deal on something that I needed in return. It works both ways.
Age and experience have nothing to do with my negetive attitude. I'm not so sure you have been in this industry long enough to understand.
I don't fault the reps. They are victims just as the customer. This is all a reult of the broad liners decided to monopolize the industry by cutting the throats of any smaller competition
They dropped the pay for reps and put them on an incentive program. The manufactures supply all the tools to sell their products. The reps go to product shows, they are supplied with all the information they may need. These young reps now focus on their larger accounts so they can qualify for their bonuses and trips. These people are hired without any sales experience.
They really have no vested interest in their company.
Like Chefbubas question, anyone worth a flip in sales would have protected their company and told him to hang on just a second and I'll find out. These guys carry tablets and have all this information available.
If I have to do all the leg work and research. I'm even talking about sending someone out to pick up things, I shouldn't have to pay the sales rep.
. These big guys have eliminated house accounts.
This is probably not making sense.
I was raised in a union family. We fought constantly for the unions. Most thought they were not necessary. When the unions left so did regular competitive business. We are now gagging on collusion, monopolies,payback/bonus, mediocre products, and a complete disregard for the customer.
OK back to learning curves
well, we are fixing to start on week 2 with no multi-grain bread and no croissants from EI. Thank god we stocked up on baguettes when they were on sale! Apparently last week their freezer in Dallas went out and they lost everything. But according to our delivery guy he has been delivering croissants and bread to other restaurants on his route all this week.
Believe me, we have shouted our way up the ladder. The president of the company gets cc'd on all emails. Our sales rep. left a couple months ago for bigger and better things and we are starting to wonder if he was the one that was intercepting all these f-ups. We found a decent multi-grain from a local bakery, to use in the mean time, but it is more expensive than what we have been getting from EI.
I just feel like EI doesn't respect us because we are not as big as the other restaurants in the area and our orders are not as big as say the Marriott.