Join me in congratulating the FE&S 2011 Distributor Sales Rep of the Year, Scott Taylor of TriMark United East. At the conclusion of this year's competition, Scott emerged from a very talented group of deserving DSR of the month candidates to earn the year's top prize. I hope that you will enjoy learning more about Scott's story in this month's cover story.
Listening to Scott's acceptance speech at this year's DOY event, which you can view at fesmag.com, I was reminded of just how far a sincere thank-you can go sometimes. In my own career, I have had the honor of accepting a similar award from ID magazine (which covers the food distribution world) at some point in the past. No, I won't be more specific about how far past.
To me, recognition of this sort is kind of a public thank-you for a job well done, whether the DSR is nominated by an operator, the dealer he or she represents or an industry peer. I can tell you personally that it can be extremely meaningful to the individual who receives the award. Maybe that's obvious. But it also reflects well on the company represented. Ask TriMark USA president Jerry Hyman. Upon hearing Scott being named the winner, Jerry spontaneously rushed the stage to pass out this year's award. Clearly, Scott's being named FE&S' 2011 DSR of the Year means a lot to Jerry and TriMark.
While we selected Scott as the winner, the fact is that this award recognizes the team effort on the company level that allows him to be so valuable in the eyes of his customers. Simply put: in an industry like this —one with so many moving parts — winners can't win without many people doing their jobs well.
From time to time I hear that a dealership may be reluctant to nominate some of their top people for fear that the competition might poach them. If this is your view, I strongly urge you to revisit and rethink this position.
I would argue that nominating someone to be FE&S' DSR of the Month, which ultimately enters them into the DSR of the Year competition, represents an opportunity to publicly thank those who are doing a great job for you, your customers and the factories you represent. Just as important, participating in this process also lets the industry know you have a team worthy of recognition.
Let's face facts: if you're truly concerned that your top salespeople are so close to leaving that the visibility that comes from winning an industry award might force their hand, then you probably need to revisit the ways that your organization recognizes top achievement today.