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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Accounts - 7 Turkeys & 1 Cop

If  you've ever worked sales in the Hospitality Industry, you'll feel my pain when I describe to the rest of our viewership "New Account Applications".

Lately Klecko has been on the road drumming up accounts.

Sometimes I get leads, and other times I simply make cold calls.

Early last week, Cowboy Bill (our bakeries Office Manager) gave me an address to a new place that is opening up in North East Minneapolis.

Klecko brings a promo (baskets filled with samples from out product line), walks in and starts making friendly with a small mob of guys standing amidst construction.

Rule #1, when you walk into a sales call, it is never good to guess who your contact person is.

Often times even a seasoned pro will choose poorly and you'd be surprised how pissed off the peeps with purchasing power can become when you select their assistant.

Instead it's just better to stand in the middle of a room / kitchen and just hold a pile of bread and scream.....


Eventually the proper person will surface and then the courtship can begin.

Rule #2, everybody in the Food Show hates sales guys, that's why Klecko never wears sales guy clothes, instead he wears the same uniform the route drivers wear, in fact....last week when waiting to meet Food Service News editor Mike Mitchelson in the lobby of the New Bohemia, the server asked me if I had come to drop off beer.

But I digress.

Rule #2 is don't try to be more clever than a simply can't do it.

Just start your sales call with something like.......

"What up brah?'s time for Big Papi to get a little greasy and start pimping product."

9 out of 10 times this line will give me immediate acceptance.

Next you show Chef your products, describe how you are all about service, briefly discuss pricing and then see where she/he is going to take the conversation.

Some Chef's want you in and out within 2 minutes, while others want you to spend some quality time. sometimes visitors can be few and far between.

But then the next part gets tricky.........


The new account application or "N.A.A." is a single sheet of paper that is used to route the account with the others that you already have. It discusses credit / payment terms, drop off time and/or if we will need a key to get in.

Basic stuff like that....

As a business selling wholesale goods, we have to have the N.A.A.

But for whatever reason, 90% of all clients will accept this piece of paper with grace, swear an oath on their children's life that the owner will fill it out....and next thing you know......

It's 72 hours later, and all of a sudden the siren goes off in the office. The order taker will ask over the intercom......

"Klecko there's some new account that needs and order for tomorrow.....but they're not in our system."

It can get frustrating, but that's just how it goes.

On an average, the sales rep will have to go to a concept at least 3 times before the thing gets a John Hancock.

So yesterday, I'm across town...30 miles from the bakery, and even though it's my second time here, the guy I talk to say's.....

"New Account Application....where is it?"

This is where Klecko gets put in an awkward position, because at this point he has to inform the future client in a non threatening way............

"I dunno....I gave it to you with your samples last time I was here. Where did you put it?"

Then you can see a glistening in the eye of you client, who now is getting frustrated as well.

Klecko says............

I'll give you this one here, but I'm gonna need you to fax it to me today...ok?

Then there's a pause.

A pause is never good, because whenever there is a pause, the client almost always follows up with....

"Sorry, we don't have a fax."

So that's what happened, 2 days, 2 stops and 120 miles racked up on the ol' bread truck.

When I went back to my ride, which was parked in front of the restaurant, a cop car pulls up right behind me and lights up the bells and whistles......

"Rats" thinks Klecko.... "What did I do wrong?"

Then and only then the Last American Baker notices that he is parked smack dab in front of a handicap sign.....oops.

Tick-Tock goes the clock......

Klecko sits patiently.

Klecko sits unnerved.

But the cop won't get out of his squad car.

Red Light - Blue Light.....WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO rushes the siren.

Everybody in this blue collar neighborhood just watches the cop and the baker.

After what seems like a year, the cop gets out and ambles slowly. I'm only 20 feet from his ride.....but cops love to do that slow stroll, don't they?

Klecko rolls down the window.....

"Good morning officer, I am sorry to inconvenience you today."

Slience-Silence-Silence......all while Johnny Law gives me the once over.

The guy looked to be 50, and he reminded me of that cop in the movies, you know...the honest Irish cop in the neighborhood that acts gruff but actually is a good Joe.

"You like to park in handicap spots mister?"

What could I say?

I opted for the truth......

"I'm sorry officer. I won't lie, I was in a hurry, but that's no excuse. I have embarrassed myself ."

The cop stares thoughtfully.......

"Didn't you see me running the lights, didn't you see me giving you a chance to slip away? Why didn't you take off?"

It sounded like a trick question..................

"I'm from Saint Paul officer, the police over there have us trained. If you run from a police light in Saint Paul, it usually ends with a thump."

Now the cop chuckles......

"Pay more attention in the future. I saw you making your delivery, just remember this is my beat. I run this street. Are we clear?"

"Crystal" I responded and whoosh......back to the Capitol City I went.

So today, I made the pilgrimage again, and I actually made decent time even though I made the voyage during rush hour.

When I arrived, I pulled into the pharmacy parking lot that is connected to the restaurant, and when I stepped out of the bread truck.....GREAT CAESAR'S GHOST, there, just a few feet from me was 7 wild turkeys.

Over the last couple of years I had heard they were in parts of Minneapolis, and time to time one of my Facebook friends will post one of there mug shots....but 7?

These 7 turkeys were strutting, screaming with their tails all fanned out.

I gotta tell you I was more than freaked out, at one point the....what are turkeys...a cluster? a school?

Well whatever their clan is called, at one point they turned on me and I almost soiled myself.

If you've never seen one of these creatures.....they are huge, much bigger than I thought.

And they are really-really loud.

Truth be told, if I came over on the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria and got invited to hang with the locals.....if there was a lot of these creatures back then.....Klecko gets back on the boat and heads back to doubt about it.

So now Klecko goes in, smiles and his potential customer winces........

"I promise, seriously....I'll have it faxed over by noon today."

As of 5 p.m. central time never came.

Guess where Klecko will be tomorrow morning?


  1. I LOL'd. "Great Ceasar's Ghost." Awesome stuff.

  2. LOVE THIS! i want to see seven turkeys!!
    you have some great lines in this one, and your response to the cop was perfect.

    1. Laurie, I have been fortunate (bird wise) this year. Earlier I saw that snow Owl at Snap Fitness, and now 7 turkeys.....anybody can do 5 or 6, but 7......

  3. Too Funny! Thanks for sharing!