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Competitor Scenario

Center for Professional Selling

The Situation – The Power of the Baylor Network

Last January, you enjoyed meeting Bill Mezzano, the Market Center Manager for 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes, at a gathering in Minneapolis. You had been invited by several of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Baylor ProSales alumni to attend a social function that Bill was attending. Recently, you stumbled across a prospective customer, Tuff Tabletops (Tuff), and realized Tuff may well be a 3M adhesives customer. You remembered from your Baylor ProSales days that “every connection can be for a reason -- intentionally consider your network.”

You decide to give Bill a call. To your delight, he remembers meeting you and even remembers the conversation that you had about the Red Bull Crashed Ice event that takes place in St. Paul.  Minnesota hosts this wild event on the frozen banks of the Mississippi River each February.  It’s an ice cross downhill skiing competition that draws crowds of 100,000+ people. Since you grew up skiing, you enjoyed hearing Bill’s stories about the four-man-races on a long ice track filled with obstacles. You thought it might be fun to return to St. Paul to see the event.

After chatting about the Red Bull race and committing to return to St. Paul to see the Red Bull Crashed Ice event first-hand, you ask Bill if you might tap his expertise on the work front. Bill asks how he might help you.  You explain that you have identified a prospective customer for your payroll product and you think the company may be a 3M customer. You ask him if he’s familiar with Tuff Tabletops, Inc., an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), that sells finished products primarily to restaurants.

Bill’s response is quite animated. He said that 3M had worked for over a year with Tuff Tabletops to have their 3M adhesive product specified. (The process used to select which products are used in the manufacturing process is called the “specification process” also known as being “spec’d in.”  The specification process is often highly rigorous and can take a great deal of time.  Manufacturers are very careful in deciding to change materials used in their manufacturing process because the cost of product failure can be very high. Once a customer finds an adhesive that works, they want to (pardon the pun) stick with it. Bill tells you that he’d be happy to help you.

True to his word, Bill gave you the email introduction into Tuff Tabletops and his contact knows you are an ADP sales representative. The Tuff Tabletops team really enjoys working with Bill and his team. From chatting on the phone with Bill, you learned some basic information about Tuff Tabletops.

The Company – Recipe for Success in the Restaurant World

Family-owned for over three generations, Tuff Tabletops, Inc. employs 50 full-time people and generate $500 million in annual sales revenue. When a large table order is placed, the manufacturing team expands by employing 1-25 contract workers. They sell to US-based customers (primarily restaurants) with planned expansion into Canada. 

Dave Games, a grandson of the company’s founder, serves as Chief Executice Officer (CEO) (he’ll likely inherit the company at some point in the future). While he oversees all manufacturing operations and met Bill and his team during the specification process, he also oversees the administration and operations for the headquarters employees. He is a key contact for major purchasing decisions though he’s not responsible for daily accounting or payroll functions.

The Sales Call – Navigating the Early Connection

You anticipate that you will have a good opportunity to learn even more about Tuff Tabletops at your meeting with Dave Games. As a CEO, he’s obviously very busy. He also isn’t making daily decisions about things like payroll. Yet, Dave agreed to meet you (at Bill’s recommendation) and “hear you out.”  You remember from your Baylor ProSales training that when you call on CEOs, your sales approach has to be laser sharp.

Tuff Tabletops is a privately held (family-owned) company and you believe that there is opportunity for ADP Run Mobile, but you know that you will be “selling against” Paychex. It’s critical that you bring ADP’s benefits to the forefront without denigrating the competition. The need to flex the workforce (that is, increase/decrease the number of people working in manufacturing) and the expansion into Canada suggests potential.

You are eager to have a productive call with this company and want to be sure to take some positive news back to Bill when you visit St. Paul next month. Tuff Tabletops operates in the restaurant fixture sector (new for you), so this is an opportunity to broaden your client portfolio.

Company–Tuff Tabletop, 119 Commerce Dr., Dallas, TX 

Industry – Business-to-business Retail/Restaurant fixtures

Owners – Family Owned

Number of Locations – 1 Manufacturing location in Dallas

Number of Employees – 50 FT + flex staff

Current Payroll System – Paychex

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