Employee Spotlight: John Montemayor

December 2014

Labatt Sales Representative John Montemayor has spent the last 27 years working to help his customers grow and succeed.  From walking the warehouse aisles to improve his product knowledge when he first started to knowing every item each of his customer buys, John continues to provide service excellence seven days a week.

As a sales rep, how has your role evolved to serve as a buyer for your customers?

“It all started at the food show a long time ago.  One of my customers, Alamo Café, is very points oriented.  For me to get them the most points, I had to work with the manufacturer one-on-one to lock a deal for the year.  I would go back to, let’s say, Hunt-Wesson for their tomato products and I would say, ‘Alamo Café uses 250 cases a week, so what can you do for me to get to a price point where they feel comfortable?  They’re currently using a product, but I’d like to upgrade them. If you can get me close to a comfortable price, I think I can sell them on the quality and yield, but in return they’re looking for bonus points.  If you can do that, I can guarantee you a year’s worth of business.’  It was business the manufacturer rep didn’t have.  He thought about it, worked out a deal and also gave them 10,000 bonus points.  That’s how it started.

From there I started thinking I have all these customers selling the same product—one customer buys 50 cases, this other buys 200 and another buys 100.  I went to the manufacturers and said, ‘I know you do this for National Accounts, but I want to do it for my Independent Operators.  I want to lump all their volume to guarantee a deal for them for the year.’  If you don’t ask the manufacturers for support, you’re not going to get it.  I’m continuously looking for items that can benefit my customers.  It’s a strategy that works out really well for me.”

Can you share with us how you became involved with the Salatas accounts?

“Alamo Café bought the Salatas franchise rights to locations in Austin and San Antonio.  Salatas corporate was buying from a different distributor, but Alamo Café wanted to buy from us instead.  I teamed up with Tony Canty and we flew up with the owners of Alamo Café to meet with the owners of Salatas.

It turned into a three hour meeting, where we looked at their kitchens and product. One of the owners was real keen on a couple specific items such as shrimp.  He asked me about our shrimp, specifically where it came from.  I told him Indonesia, but I also talked about the various reasons for the rising prices and told him that if we had had his business, we would have locked in the price.  I think the fact that I had extensive product knowledge really surprised him.  When he talked about buying his poultry locally, I mentioned that DSM could marinate and help perfect their product.

When we did the analysis we priced them on 30 accounts instead of one or two because it’s a lot easier to get discounts and deviations that way.  We also showed how we could consolidate all their vendors and could even deliver their dressings.  After that they were on board with everything.   It’s been a really good partnership and it just continues to grow.  This month we started shipping all their produce.

Alamo Café told the Salatas owners the reason he brought us there was because he trusted us and I think that was key to getting the account.  The relationship we have with Alamo Café and the value the owners put into Labatt is what really spearheaded this deal.”

How has the Labatt’s business model impacted the way you sell?

“Our customers know Labatt represents integrity and it all stems from the top.  Labatt’s different and I sell that.  I walk in and I want to be different.  First of all, no one has our brands.  No one has the people and the technology we do.  We’re different from our competitors and that resonates a long way.  If we represent ourselves in that format, customers are going to want to business with us.”

What has been the key to your success as a sales rep?

“It’s just not about me.  It’s about everything around us.  We have good leadership, good buyers and good resources.  I think customers realize that I may be the face, but the people behind the scene are really the ones who help facilitate this journey.

You have to understand how a restaurant operates and how they profit.  If you’re not hands on and you don’t understand the items that go into the recipes, then you can’t sell the product.  I can walk into an account and look at a turkey breast they’re using and know it’s the wrong breast.  It’s falling apart on them when they’re slicing it for sandwiches because they’re using a five piece muscle instead of a two piece muscle.

Also, I think one of the keys to my success is having a certain level of competitiveness.  I guess it goes back to my playing days; I always want to win.  I have my hand on the trigger at all times and I know everything that’s going on with all my customers.  I sell service excellence.  I want to give my customers 100% service level, so I’m looking at every little detail.”