So you want to be a Sales Rep in the alcoholic beverage industry?
This Monday I got up at 5:45AM to grab a big cup of coffee to help me get through our weekly sales meeting that starts at 6AM. We finally finished just over an hour later and then I started prepping for my day - It was travel day!
I was heading up to DFW for a few days to check in with our customers and distributor. I mapped out my route for my account & lead visits and created a call list for my Austin customers. I had to touch base with them while in the car, because I couldn't visit them this week. I packed my suitcase and all product samples I needed for the week. Then I threw an ample supply of stickers, coasters & koozies in the bag to hand out at my glass nights and a festival on the week's agenda.
The plan was to get on the road around 9:30AM so rush hour traffic should have dissolved by then. I knew I probably wouldn't check into the hotel until around 9:30PM at night! A long day for sure, but I'd done it many times in the past.
The drive only took around two and a half hours before I stopped at the first retail account in Arlington. From there I traversed the city, visiting other bars, growler bars and more retail accounts (as well as some prospective new customers). The last stop before heading to the hotel was reserved for my glass night at a bar. I planned extra time for dinner and a drink (or two)!
Of course the day never goes as planned. The second bar manager was not in - That's ok, I left my card, our product info sheet and planned to call or email later. And I don't recall if it was normal traffic or some closed road due to construction, but I got delayed on the way to my next stop. I also chatted longer with the manager there, causing my schedule to slip even more. Then I had to wait because there was a line of other reps at the bottle shop. If I just had some time to stop into the bar I just past that looks like a great potential customer...maybe tomorrow.
While on the road, I got a call from our Delivery Team about issues with receiving at a major customer that I needed to help with. And our South Austin Rep called to confirm we finally got set up as a new vendor at a new big account so he can start selling them our mead. Then I realized I had missed my turnoff...where was I?
I really want to know how people could do this jobs years ago and be anything close to efficient. Thank goodness for GPS.
At 5PM... stuck in traffic again...didn't make it to this last Whole Foods because I know the buyer left at 5, dang it. And I couldn't go in to sample the bar manager at the restaurant either because the dinner rush was about to start... hmmm... good thing there was a bar close by. I stopped in there to get some administrative work done before heading to the bar for my glass night starting at 7pm. That should keep the boss happy and off my back!
So, why do I go through all off this?
Because I love craft mead/beer/cider and I love to help spread the word to a new audience and hopefully win a few over from the dark side.
There are a few bad days where I get up on the wrong side of the bed, but I still put on my best face for our existing and soon to be customers. Some days I drive home with zero sales for the day wondering if I've lost my touch and what my boss will think. It's a good thing the majority of the time I'm getting new orders and new accounts and having a lot of fun.
I do this because, even though I complain sometimes and it can be exhausting, I really do love doing this. I love meeting new people, making new friends, seeing the pleasantly surprised faces of my new customers and hearing them say -
Mead. Who Knew?
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