LeaseQ* is grateful to partner with outstanding foodservice dealers to offer equipment lease financing to their customers. We honor sales reps that have demonstrated a strong commitment to our partnership by distinguishing them as brand ambassadors. Our latest brand ambassador is Larry Rodriguez, Online Sales Representative at A City Discount.
Jason Moore, Regional Account Manager at LeaseQ, nominated Larry for being such a great partner to work with. “Larry is one of the best sales reps I’ve ever worked with! He’s knowledgeable, polite, great with customers, and always goes above and beyond to close the deal”.
Larry was thrown into the foodservice industry at the age of 9 when his parents opened a Mexican restaurant. Larry enjoyed spending time there as a child, and eventually he worked there on weekends until he and his brother took over the day-to-day operations.
Larry loved working at the family business, and excitedly shared with me his favorite menu item- their tableside fired fajitas.
Eventually, the restaurant closed, and Larry decided he wanted to stay in the industry. He took a job at A City Discount as a Sales Assistant where he helped put together documents for the sales team. Eventually, an Online Sales Representative position opened up, and Larry jumped at the chance to make the switch. He’s been with the company for 11 years.
A City’s dedication to educating their customers is something Larry is particularly proud of. “We ensure the customer is getting the right item,” Larry explained. “They often come to us with an idea of what they want, but that isn’t necessarily what’s best for their business. We ask them what they’ll use the equipment for, what their goals are, and other questions that help us give recommendations that will allow them to make an informed choice for their business”.
Being able to offer financing is a great help to Larry, as it gives his customers the ability to get the items they need while keeping their cash on hand for unexpected expenses that may pop up.
Larry truly loves working with every customer he has the pleasure to work with, but he has a soft spot for those mom-and-pop restaurant owners. He loves hearing their ideas for their restaurants and enjoys learning how they will differentiate themselves.
Learning about their menu items is something he particularly enjoys, as he loves to cook. His favorite dishes to make? Ceviche, homemade marinade for meats (Larry’s pro tip- never use bell peppers in your marinades, use poblano peppers!), and guacamole.
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While he loves cooking at home, he will never turn down going out for a good steak.
In his free time, Larry loves a good DIY project. Often, those projects involve leather work, sewing, and laser engraving. These skills are helpful to have, because you’ll often find Larry participating in Pirate reenactments in the Atlanta area! The Nocturnal Pirates group was started by Larry about 8 years ago, and it has grown into a group of over 800 members from all over the country.
KL: What three traits do you think are most important in a Sales Rep when it comes to customer service?
- Good Listening Skills – Having effective communication and the ability to listen to the customer’s pain points is imperative for a sales rep. The only way to find out what those are is by listening to what each customer’s needs, challenges and goals are. Beyond being a great listener, great sales reps regularly follow up with customers to stay top of mind and provide them with valuable resources.
- Honesty– In sales, it’s all about coming across as sincere. The most successful sales reps know when to admit they don’t have the answers and don’t make empty promises just to close the sale.
- Takes initiative – Successful sales reps go out and get the sales by following up on leads, open quotes and being persistent, yet not overly pushy.
KL: What advice would you give to someone that wants to break into the food service industry?
LR: Loving food or cooking is not enough. To be a successful restaurant owner, you must have an enormous dedication to the business. Owners and operators work long hours and sacrifice a large part of the personal life to make their business work. Also, they should consider their location carefully. When thinking of opening a restaurant, make sure that customers can access your location easily.
Smart small-business owners know a strong plan can serve them well for years to come. Make a business plan, secure funding, decide on your target audiences and determine what makes their establishment different from the competition.
Once they have those key components in place, it’s time to market their business. Whether they choose direct mailing and coupons or opt for online promotions and strive to build social media momentum, getting the word out will help drive traffic to their restaurant. From there, the food can speak for itself and keep patrons coming back for more.
KL: Why did you choose The Crossing? If you’ve been there before, what is your favorite dish and why do you love it, or if it’s somewhere you’ve never been, what made you choose it?
LR: The Crossing’s prime rib! Their preparation of the meal is second to none.
KL: How does being able to offer equipment lease financing help you, as a Sales Rep?
LR: Offering equipment leasing allows me to easily sell more than one piece of equipment or upgrade the customer to the “better” or “best” option on a monthly payment that best fits their budget.
Thank you, Larry, for being such a wonderful partner!
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