4 Bad Food Broker Habits That Lose Business

Being a successful food broker and distributor means keeping a lot of plates in the air, juggling many balls, wearing several hats—whichever your preferred idiom, the goal is to make it all look seamless to your clients. In our 60 years of experience in the food industry we’ve uncovered some common distributor habits that can be hard to let go of, but ultimately are bad for business. 

Habit #1: Keeping Too Much On Your Plate

You have multiple brands relying on your expertise to get their products on shelves, which means every distraction is hurting your bottom line. Could you afford to hire someone to take care of administrative work if you had 10 extra hours a week to focus on what you do best? Are you chasing packers and packaging suppliers around trying to make sure important deadlines are met? Explore your options and see what you can delegate, freeing up more time to make money.

Habit #2: Having A Half-Baked Web Presence

It’s difficult to do business without an established web presence—and soon enough, it will be impossible. Establishing trust is a critical part of the sales process, and having an authoritative web presence will help build trust with retailers and brand owners who are growing increasingly used to conducting business online. Plus, being able to connect with prospects who are already looking for a food broker partner puts you several steps ahead of your cold-calling competition.
Even if you don’t have the resources to create a pro website, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, participating in social media conversations about your industry, and maintaining a blog about relevant topics will put you head and shoulders above Internet-averse distributors.

Habit #3: Taking A Feast-Or-Famine Approach To Prospecting

Your customers know more than you think (see habit #2!). Even if you’re having a great quarter, failing to continuously cultivate new prospects can mean lean times ahead—and if you can’t grow your own business, why should prospects entrust you with growing theirs? Successful brokers dedicate time to pursuing larger accounts than the ones they’ve already won, while making sure a steady stream of smaller accounts keeps profits rolling in.

Habit #4: Not Knowing Beans About Your Customers (Especially The Bad Apples)

It can be hard to say “no” to a deal, especially if your pipeline isn’t exactly bursting at the seams (and even when it is). But you know what they say about bad apples. Putting low-quality, uncompelling products in front of buyers is a surefire way to stop them from returning your future calls. Getting a sense for a prospective client—and not just their product—is important, too. Will they eat up too much of your time with unnecessary meetings and other hassles that could stop you from focusing on better deals? If so, they may not belong in your barrel.


Our business, like yours, is built on a foundation of strong relationships. Building those relationships with new clients up front helps to set expectations, increase efficiency down the road, and can earn you valuable referrals. A working relationship that starts strong is easier to maintain in the future. Learn how to best use and respect each other’s time.

At Emmerson Packaging, our goal is to make our clients as successful as possible. Being successful as a broker or distributor means finding a reliable packaging partner to avoid hassle behind-the-scenes. Ready to learn more? Click here to learn how Project Central can help your business become more successful.