You already know that keeping clients interested in your distributor portfolio is essential to your success as a sales rep. But the question is…how can you engage customers in a way that builds better relationships and increases sales?
Now don’t get me wrong, as long as you're selling, then whatever strategy you use with your accounts is great. The following tactics are meant to enhance your outreach repertoire. It doesn't matter if you are a beer sales rep, a wine sales rep or a liquor sales rep—follow these five easy tips and watch your sales and relationships blossom.
Be upfront about company updates and changes
People like to be informed, so give the people what they want and inform them of any company updates, especially if they pertain directly to them. Maybe delivery cutoff times are different, or your product offerings have changed. Maybe your distributor has mandated fewer in-person visits, or you’re switching up your normal route. These are all great excuses to hop on your computer and let your accounts know what’s going on.
Even though it's a "handshake" industry, bar and liquor store managers have more and more hands to shake. For them, it's hard to keep track of changes in your distributor's policy or portfolio, so why not simplify it for them? Provide them with a monthly email they can easily reference. We promise your customers—and your phone—will blow up less.
Everyone loves hearing about new product releases
This will be especially useful for your craft-heavy locations. New beers are being released on the regular, and if your distributor has added anything new to your catalog, this is the perfect opportunity to let your accounts know about it. Not to mention, you might score some brownie points for pushing these out to your clients. This is a win for both on- and off-premise accounts looking to appease consumers seeking those rare or hard-to-find libations. Another idea is to consider pushing these new releases around the time when bars and restaurants are looking to seasonally switch out their menu. This will help them and you get a leg up on the new season.
Deals, Deals & More Deals
I don't know about you, but for me personally, nothing drives me to make a purchase quite like a good deal. It’s practically psychological in nature! Anyone in the bar and restaurant biz knows that margins can be tight, and scoring a good deal is essential to their bottom line. This might be something you’ll want to leverage at the end of the month to really help drive your sales goals.
Based on your accounts' wants and needs, perhaps you could personally select discounted items that they may be interested in. A good discount can make or break closing a deal. Need proof? The open rate for Provi Deal emails is 39.66% which is almost twice the industry average of 20%. Customers crave a good deal. Give them what they want.
Upcoming holidays are a seller's dream
Holidays help drive bar and retailer store alcohol sales. Period. This one may feel like a no-brainer, but gently nudging your accounts around holidays or micro-occasions can help them and can help you. This is one where you can really get creative. Come up with different ways to help your accounts move inventory during and after the holiday season (think of all that extra eggnog that goes to waste after Christmas!).
Smaller, independent businesses often lack the resources to come up with new marketing ideas, and any advice you can offer them will be much appreciated (and might even result in some new sales). For your off-premise accounts, think about innovative-themed tastings that can help bring more traffic into the store. And for your on-premise accounts, help them draw patrons in by coming up with innovative cocktail specials, highlighting products from your distributor's catalog.
Keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends
The business of beverages is ever-evolving. And if you’re a seasoned veteran, you may have been witness to some of the more interesting trends over the years. Did Zima walk so Hard Seltzer could run? But in all seriousness, using data on beverage trends could be a great selling point. And, truth be told, data powers nearly every aspect of businesses today, so why not include it in your sales approach?
Companies like Nielsen are constantly monitoring the beverage industry and are often coming out with off and on-premise predictions. It’s this kind of data that can help drive your accounts to make more informed decisions that will ultimately impact their bottom line for the better.
Consider getting even more granular and looking at beverage trends in the areas where your accounts are located. Are consumers more interested in craft than domestic beer? Have you found an uptick in hard seltzer sales in the customer's zip code? Use this data to your and your accounts’ advantage.
And There You Have It
Spicing up your email communication can not only benefit you but your various accounts. Remember, at the end of the day, people are more likely to buy from their friends. So, be their friend, show them you care and keeping them engaged will come easily to you.