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Jordan Wholesale Marketplace was founded in Los Angeles in 1965 to supply professional catering companies with a wide variety of institutional food products, including canned vegetables and meats. The company had grown steadily over the de cades, and is now one of the largest full-service institutional food suppliers in the nation, selling perishable and non-perishable foods and foodservice supplies such as tablecloths, napkins, and tableware. In the past year, Jordan Wholesale Marketplace had begun an aggressive push into a new market segment, the hotel/motel restaurant market.


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Current Situation

Tom Olivia is the Jordan Wholesale sales representative in Louisville, KY. Tom has been with the company for almost two years. He is a recent college graduate and looks forward to proving himself in his sales position, then moving into management with the company. Tom’s sales manager, Grace Lamkin, has told Tom that if he finishes the year over 100 percent on his sales versus quota target that he would enter the pool of candidates for promotion sometime in the following 12 months. Tom is doing quite well with his existing accounts, and has added a couple of new accounts. He believes that he will finish the year a little over 100 percent of quota, but he needs to add some of the new hotel/motel business to be sure he achieves his sales goals.


Tom has been attempting to secure the restaurant business of Best Night Inn, a regional chain of 16 moderately priced motels in Kentucky. Best Night’s corporate headquarters are in Louisville and the chain currently buys all of its food and restaurant supplies from Wick’s Food Supply, a well-established wholesale restaurant supplier. Wick’s has its own salesforce, most of whom are veteran salespeople who have established good relationships with the restaurant operators in their sales territories.


Jordan Wholesale has not been a supplier for Wick’s for more than 10 years. Tom has been told that Jordan Wholesale and Wick’s had some friction over service problems, with Wick’s head buyer claiming that Jordan Wholesale was not a reliable supplier. The buyer reportedly withheld partial payment on several invoices, and ultimately Jordan Wholesale refused to sell to Wick’s. Tom and the Jordan Wholesale sales representative who preceded him had tried to get reestablished with Wick’s, but Wick’s buyers had steadfastly refused to buy from Jordan Wholesale.


Tom was determined to get the Best Night Inn’s business, so he made sales calls on the 16 motels to gauge their interest in switching to Good Food Wholesalers, another foodservice wholesaler with whom Tom had a strong working relationship. The Best Night operators were unanimous—they had no intention of leaving Wick’s for Good Food Wholesalers. In making the rounds to the 16 motels, Tom learned that the individual hotel managers had no authority to buy from suppliers that had not been previously approved by their corporate headquarters in Louisville. Tom then called on Best Night’s corporate headquarters, where he learned that becoming an approved supplier would take a minimum of 60 days—if approval was granted. Best Night’s director of purchasing was frank with Tom, telling him: “We have been extremely satisfied with Wick’s, and don’t see much need to add Good Food Wholesalers to the list of approved suppliers. If I were in your shoes, I would try to sell through Wick’s.”


Tom went back to Wick’s, trying once again to become one of their suppliers. He decided to use a foot-in-the-door strategy, meaning that he would only try to sell one small part of his product line, with hopes that if this proved to be successful, he would be able to expand his sales through Wick’s. Tom presented the newest version of Jordan Wholesale, a very attractive tablecloth/napkin package that could be customized with Best Night’s logo. Bill Wilson, the Wick’s buyer, turned Tom down, saying, “Tom, don’t take this personally, but we simply are not ready to do business with Jordan Wholesale again. You guys are doing some impressive things in the marketplace, and next year we may get together with you. But that’s not in the plan for this year.”


Disappointed, Tom felt he had but one choice if he wanted to make his year-end numbers. He arranged sales calls with the three Good Food Wholesalers sales representatives who called on Best Night Inns. Tom planned to work with the Good Food Wholesalers salespeople to present the Jordan Wholesale packages, cut the price to stimulate interest, and try to convince all 16 of the Best Night operators to buy the packages from Good Food Wholesalers. If the motel operators liked the packages, Tom figured he could use their interest to speed up the supplier approval process back at Best Night’s headquarters and book the additional sales volume before year-end.


It was now Friday night, and Tom was heading home. It had been a tough week, and he was looking forward to the weekend. The Wick’s situation with Best N

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