Lessons from a Mentor: Arnold Friedman

Lessons from a Mentor: 

Arnold Friedman

1975: 50th Anniversary of LF. Message from Arnold Friedman, founder of Lebhar Friedman.

Arthur Rosenfield (29) joins the company as a sales representative.  In an unusual move, he is selected and assigned to work directly with the founder because the founder believes that precious methods of doing business have been lost in his company. Arnold Friedman explains that he wants to bring back core competencies that made his company successful. He talks about getting off a train, and visiting stores before going into a manufacturer who sells products to the stores.  He wants to train Arthur, over a year, to do it his way. He wants Arthur to set an example for the rest of the company.

You have to travel the United States and spend three days each at the Headquarters of major retailers meeting with operations people, real estate people, and senior executives if you want to be a marketing authority and learn how decisions are made, and why vendors are selected, by growth companies in retail.

While you are traveling, you have to meet with the local brokers and distributors in markets to understand the food chain and who influences the success of a product. Lots of brokers and distributors in local markets of all sizes.

You have to ride with sales people of leading retail vendors; and make sales calls with them in order to learn the facts from the field and identify solutions.

You need to go into stores to see how products are marketed on shelves, aisle displays are set up, and see actual merchandising.  Which retailers are doing better than others.

You have to work in the kitchens of McDonald's and Buger King if you want to figure out how Campbell's Soup Company can sell soup and set up 'soup and salad bars' in their fast food locations. 

If you want to help Seagrams sell the emerging high volume chain restaurants, you need to understand the volume opportunity, legal implications and purchasing authority of chain headquarters and the requirements...and create big ideas based on information gathered by your own field research.

Same for lighting for Sylvania, and frozen foods and bread for Rich's and ketchup for Heinz.

Now multiply that  by dozens of professional people...then thousands of professional people in the field, collecting first hand facts and valuable marketing and operations information with their own eyes and ears. Here is the secret of success:

     ● Get the facts

     ● Know the customer's customer... better than the customer does.

     ● Discover the NOW

     ● Write proposals for big ideas. Sell the idea...not the benefits. Use three forms of evidence.

     ● State your unique value that is essential to the success of the idea.

      ● Deliver what you promise.

The story of how Seagrams sold multi million dollar programs to Howard Johnson and many other restaurant chains, is just one story of how Lebhar Friedman played a unique role.  The company had influence in retailing that cut across institutional foodservice, restaurants, retail grocery and supermarkets, home  centers, discount stores, general merchandise stores, and drug stores.

Arthur once asked Arnold Friedman how to sell against competition. Arnold replied, "You make a proposal that is so strong, so well researched, with an idea so big, that the customer has to buy it. You don't leave any money in the budget for the competitor."

It turned out to be sound advice. Time and time again, this principle worked....trained to dozens of companies and thousands of people by Arthur Rosenfield. 

Sell the idea...and make it big.

Every day, people need to persuade, sell ideas, write proposals, and make sound presentations. It doesn't matter whether you work in business, or a non-profit organization, or run a company, someone has to buy your idea or your plan. The process and principles are the same.

These principles and secrets are relevant today. They are presented in 100SecretsforSelling.com as a way to think about, and to approach, the buyer-seller relationship