Just show up

True story, heard from a restaurant buyer this week:

A sales rep, let’s call him Willy, works for one of the premier top notch best reputation best portfolio best established mid sized distributors. The kind of distributor everybody seems to want to work for and with.

Willy is working on getting into this new hotĀ local pizza joint for months. They are flying through wines and Willy wants a shot at the list. Willy pushes and pushes and calls and calls and finally gets a meeting. Willy pops twelve bottles and they all show great, and the buyer brings in four. “Welcome Willy! Great to have to you here!” as they shake hands after the first sale.

The wines arrive and they are selling well. After a couple of weeks the restaurant needs to reorder. So they do. They call Willy and his voicemail says he’s out of town, so call my manager to place orders. The buyer thinks: okay, one more step to take, didn’t know Willy was gone, no prob. He calls the manager and places an order.

Fast forward two more weeks. The restaurant needs to reorder again. The buyer picks up the phone and pausesĀ for a second … hey, I haven’t seen or heard from Willy since the handshake a month ago.

The buyer puts the phone down and texts a different rep. “I need four wines this week…”

And that is a simple story about how a cool kid distributor and a sales rep named Willy lost an account forever.

Just show up. It’s 90% of the job.