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Iowa Distributor Raises Sales Calls to New Level;Harker's/Lombardi Drives Home the Message of Consu

NEW YORK - An Iowa C-O-P specialty distributor has managed to turn consultative selling, the mantra of foodservice distribution, into a formal step-by-step process, elevating the ubiquitous sales call to a higher level by circumventing any discussion about price per product.

Starting with the basic premise that independent operators, by and large, do not have the resources available to capture current industry trends and consumer demands, while oftentimes losing ground to chains' aggressive expansion, Jeff Kelly, senior director of marketing and supplier development for Harker's, Le Mars, Iowa, set out to redefine a distributor's relationship with its street accounts. Kelly decided that for the company's plan to succeed he would have to infuse the word "partnership" with life and credible meaning.

Thus emerged the Power of 4 program (that's read: P to the fourth power or P4) that has boosted sales for its independent restaurant owners, its vendor-partners and the distributorship.

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