Craft Brewer Sales Calls with Distributors
You make great beer. You launched a craft brewery and are now ready to sell wholesale to a distributor who will do the hard work of selling your beer to retailers such as beer shops, restaurants, bars, and even other brewers for guest tap lines. The problem is that no one told you that when you own a brewery, sales skills were part of the deal. So, what do you need to know to make effective sales calls to your distributors?
- Have a short and succinct presentation agenda.
- Analysis of sales reports and trends
- Sales forecasts and inventories
- Sales guidance to increase sales, including promotions and sales incentives, and a calendar of marketing programs.
- Train the distributer’s sales reps on how to sell your product.
- Your target consumer
- Your biggest competitors in the price category
- Where you want to be in shelf placement or cooler placement
- Merchandizing specifications
- Taste profiles
- Unique aspects of your brand and products
- Why a retailer needs your brand
- You will want a report of sales by account so you can call on the largest accounts with the distributor’s sales representative. Be sure to get the decision-maker’s contact information so you know who to ask for when you arrive. Know what products you want to highlight and expand sales for each account.
- Walk through the warehouse to check inventory levels and be sure it will assure product availability according to current demand. Check dates of products to ensure no spoilage and taste random samples. Check product rotation (first in, first out) and alert the distributor of upcoming SKU changes.
As with most things in your life, preparation is key to success. Knowing what you need to do in the precious few minutes you have that facetime will increase your success rate. This isn’t the time to “wing it.”
About Tracy Jong
Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.
Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.
She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.
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Tracy Jong Law Firm