Let’s start with the truth: retailers and restauranteurs have it tough.
They work in a small box, and live a life of interruption. Vendors, customers, sales people, employees with complaints or issues constantly pulling at them. Trying to structure a day for creative thinking, personal development, or with the goal of flow can be difficult to impossible.
Which is why they need good sales reps. A good sales rep presents opportunities and helps the buyer achieve great goals — that’s the quick and simple definition.
So it’s no wonder what the number one complaint of retail and restaurant buyers is with their wholesalers: lack of communication.
I hear this constantly and consistently from buyers. The thing they ask for the most is simply to be told what is going on with their vendors.
What’s new in your warehouse? What brands are coming on board?
What are you running low on and will be out of stock soon?
What brands have you lost and what are the solutions you’re offering?
What containers just landed? (Or to put it another way, what did you just get 500 cases of so if I put it in a feature, a stack, or by the glass I know I don’t have to worry about inventory for a while?)
Who is coming into town in the next six months?
What events do you have planned this year?
What are three awesome ideas for a Chardonnay by the glass? How about Pinot Grigio? How about Sauvignon Blanc?
What rosé is coming in and when?
Who have you hired? Who has moved on?
What trends do you see in the marketplace?
Most of the communication a buyer has with a wholesaler is through a weekly meeting with the sales rep. And most sales reps simply pull bottles out of the bag, maybe lay down some tech sheets, and hope for the best.
Wholesalers can do better than that.
Sales reps can do better than that.
Step up your game. Figure out what to communicate, to whom, and how. Then do it consistently.