Ok, Suppliers. Listen Up! I have a message for you! Not a bad message or angry take, just a note to share so you can properly set your expectations for 2018!
The more and more suppliers we have the pleasure of meeting, the more this becomes clear to me. We have heard all the tales! “We are the next Grey Goose” or “we are Yellow Tail but better,” and while that might be true, there is still a natural progression to a sales call. It took Tito 20 years. It took Fireball at least 5 years to be Fireball. That is a lot of account visits and sales calls. There is an evolution of the sales process that must happen, a 4 step approach, that even Yellow Tail and Grey Goose went through.
- The Intro; you are a new brand, new supplier or distributor and you sell a good that no one “needs.” We need to be honest that no one needs a vodka, Cabernet or Cava. Walk the floor of the account, look at the SKU set, look at the price points and where your brand might fit. Nothing turns off an account more quickly than telling them what works for them, better to show how you can support the common cause of more sales and profit.
- The Dead Call; rarely does one visit equal one sale. This is a date; we are dating the account and no one is that easy. We encourage our teams to go in on the second visit with no agenda. Remind the buyer that you are there, remind the buyer what you sell and move on. The non-ask has more legs than the ask. Remember, we are building a relationship not a one night stand.
- The Active Call; 3rd time is the charm. This is where you can make headway with the buyer. Ideal times for off premise is 1 hour prior to open and on premise is one hour before opening shift. Other times that are available are not, historically, good selling times. You can present deals, talk brands and get a good share of attention. You can also get a moment to better know and understand your buyer. We close 74% of calls at this time.
- Hard Close; The 4th visit is the time to close if the 3rd visit was not successful. We recommend you deal here (if allowed by state) and get a placement. Placement is the key to a long term place for your brand. Experience shows us that if you have 4 no’s on your brands you should find another fishing hole.
Sales is not easy. Being the supplier is even harder. At least in sales, you have a book of brands that you can sell into an account. As a supplier you are a one trick pony. Either the buyer likes your offering or does not. Regardless of being a BevStrat client or if you choose to go it alone, you should follow these steps as a benchmark to selling your brand. We also recommend a intro call prior to your first visit. We do this all the time! It allows the buyer to have more control in the process and allows for a “unguarded” type of conversation. These type of conversations often lead to the best sales calls and visits.
There are all these Instagram posts with meme’s stating “summer bodies are built in the winter.” I pay no attention to them as I eat my pizza, but as brand owners we should use the same analogy. Winter sales are built in the summer. The work we do now, when it is slower, will help us all come December.