WORKING THE MARKET-BREWERY REPS

With a new Craft Brewery opening about every 11 minutes the flow of new brands and sales reps is never ending. Whether you are self-distributing or selling through a distributor network, selling at retail may be just as important to breweries as developing the next, new Hazy IPA.

A brewery rep needs to be engaged and selling at retail on a consistent basis. Nobody will represent a brand better than those that work for the brewery…or so you would think.

Retailers are constantly evaluating new beers, new brewery reps and even new distributors. In the city of Chicago alone it has been reported that there are well over 200 brewery reps, representing hundreds of breweries, making sales calls every day to on and off premise retailers.

A good brewery rep with great products and even better relationships can sell a lot of beer if they know how to sell. It does not matter if the rep lives in the market they are selling in or if they cover multiple markets and live outside the market they are selling in. A good supplier rep that wants to win will take advantage of every sales opportunity.

Unfortunately, there are some reps that do not want to promote their beers every day. On a recent day in the market I saw first-hand how brewery reps take calls for granted.

I spent the day with two National Account reps who did not live in the market we were selling in. They were all logo’d up with jackets and back packs advertising the beer brand they worked for.

As we visited various grocery accounts these reps never took the time to greet the store personnel working the beer departments. These reps had their hands in the pockets as they strolled the aisles. They never took out a sell sheet or introduced themselves to anyone. Not once!

Now, keep in mind that the brand these reps were proudly wearing on their clothing is down in volume and distribution in this particular market and could use some incremental activity. In addition, as we talked during the day these reps repeatedly pointed out how poorly the distributor was doing even though they had no facts to justify their case.

Did the reps think it was beyond their job to sell at retail? How is the distributor supposed to get behind their brand if the brewery reps themselves don’t? If the retailers saw their logos…and they did….but were never approached by the reps what impression does that leave with the retailer?

How hard would it be for the reps to say hello, thank the retailer for the business and then try to sell a display of their item that was currently on a TPR? Not very hard!

A good sales call only takes a few minutes if it is done right. Identifying opportunities and then selling the retailer on solutions is everyone’s job!

Brewery reps, take control of your destiny and sell at retail every chance you get. If you don’t, there are 200 or more reps coming in after you that will!