I consider myself smart, just ask me :). I have been selling booze for nearly 30 years in all tiers of the business. One thing I am sure of is that in the 4th quarter 30 + 30 = 30. How can that be? Is that real math? Is that some common core bull? How can I get 2nd grade math so wrong? Well it is the truth. There are 60 days left in the year, yet there are really 30 days left to make an impact, sell your goods, and create off premise and on-premise relationships.
Taking away Thanksgiving, weekends, and anything after December 17 you are basically left with 30 days of selling and 40 days of heavy consumer buying activity. Our brand partners need to know this and pre-plan and plan accordingly. Brands in general need to do the same and prepare for end of year crush.
- 30 days of selling if you are a brand.
- 45 days of buying if you are a consumer
- Then… 90 days of crickets…. (Jan 1 – EOM March)
Here is some end of year ideas that should help support your brand in the next 30 selling days.
- Get Social. Use your online platform of choice to talk about your brand, share where it is available and use pictures and experiences to drive sales.
- Price matters. Be prepared to be open to price reductions and promo pricing. When the year changes the wine, beer, and spirits become one year older. Selling now at full price is better than selling later at half price.
- Keep in contact with your distributor. There will be another merger coming and by definition that means there will be the joining of like portfolio(s). There will be brands that get dropped and kicked out of distro. Make sure your brand is not one of them. Do what you can to make sure your distributor partner knows that you are an engaged maker and supplier.
- Hit the Bricks. Get on the road and support your retailers and your brands. Most distributors do not allow makers to do work with(s) in the Q4 and rightfully so, it is a time for selling. But that does not mean that the maker cannot get in market and support.
- Independents matter. I remember when I was at Sam’s, and the key account sales guys that would call on our account would be really chill and relaxed the last three weeks of the year. When pressed for a “why” on that attitude they unanimously responded that the numbers were made for the year and it was time to stand down. I would argue that numbers are made in Publix and Total Wine, but the landscape is littered with small independents that can buy 5 cases each and that can be hundreds of cases. Fight to the end for sales!
As surely as 43% of your sales will come in the next 8 calendar weeks it is also clear that is basically 4 weeks of selling. Not only our clients but all readers of our columns should get out in market and sell, promote, and support your brands. My dad would say, “we can all rest in January” and for as silly as that sounds he is 100% correct.
30 + 30 absolutely equals 30 when it comes to adult beverage sales in the Holiday season!