This week-during a series of trade shows, a couple anecdotes were relayed to me, these are not about a specific rep, but general complaints, suggesting reps, plural. I don’t think I’d be betraying anyone’s confidence by passing them along-
email-apparently, some reps don’t read their emails. THIS IS INSANE. This is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before you punch out. You do not need to respond to emails at 9pm, but you have 24 hours. I realize that if you are taking the time to read a blog (how very 2007 of you) about the wine business, you are probably caught up on your emails. If you are a sales manager or an office manager, and you want to find out if your reps are reading the IMPORTANT THINGS THAT THEY HAVE TO KNOW TO DO THEIR GODDAMNED JOB, WHILE THEY’RE DRINKING COFFEE IN THEIR PAJAMAS….you may want to consider a Brown M&M request. That is, bury something actionable and obvious inside of random emails, that are punitive by not reading. GOOD REPS READ THEIR EMAIL, EVERY ONE.
Texting for orders-So, I’m chatting with a buyer I really like, and he runs a great venue with a dynamic and always changing wine program. His door is always open, he’s always engaged and enthusiastic, and he always buys. If he’s there and has time, he’ll take time to listen to you and support you and your products…IF YOU SHOW UP. He noticed a trend a few years ago, when reps started texting him asking if he was “good” this week. Since he usually buys enough for a run, he only reorders a few things. This is pretty key, knowing his buying habits. I know his buying habits and i might see him 5-6x/ year. This is basic stuff. He told me that his stock response USED to be-”No, thank you, I’m good this week”. Now, he doesn’t even respond. Obviously, things come up, this industry is great at recognizing the curveballs of life. However, if you text an account, and the response “no, I’m good this week”, its very possible they just gave your glass pour to the person that came to see them this week. I’m not saying you can’t text your buyers, but I’m saying that, use it as a last resort, unless the buyers needs or expects you to operate this way.
Know when to shut it down-Suppliers need to take advantage of every waking minute of face time to connect with the team. Sometimes, that means NOT selling. If you are at a post event dinner, and everyone has finally loosened their ties and started enjoying themselves, take that as a cue to be an actual person. DO NOT talk to reps about sales numbers or goals or strategies or new products. Ask them about their family, what did they do over the summer, etc. This industry is filled with amazing people, if you can connect to them as a person, the rest will take care of itself.