Ep. 027: Bump Williams, Bump Williams Consulting

Bump Williams is a legendary industry analyst, particularly in the AB world. His wisdom is vast and his stories are colorful, ranging from the merchandiser, to the sales rep, to the manager. Listen as Tracy and Bump talk about Bump’s first day selling beer, the things he learned and the relationships he made along the way. Our industry is all about our community, and we couldn’t be more proud to present to you Bump Williams.

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Bump Williams:
So I missed curfew one night because I went out with a bunch of guys on the team and and we were.

Tracy Neal:
Playing baseball?

Bump Williams:
Probably. Yeah, Probably had one or two too many beers that night and I had spilled a platter of beers on some folks. I turned around and bumped into him and spilled beers all over. And I end up going out with them that night. And I missed my curfew and coach gave me a hard time about dances. What time is it? I said it's 4:30. What time is curfew? I said 12:00. He goes, or what happened?

Tracy Neal:
My guest for episode number 27 is Bump Williams. Bump is widely known throughout the beer industry as the president and founder of BW Consulting. Our V.P. of sales and I, Jim Kenny, traveled to the eastern shores of Connecticut on a cold winter day to join Bob and his son David at their beach house. When we arrived, they welcomed us with hot coffee and bagels. And then the fun began. Bob is a longtime industry veteran who has made a career in finding opportunity to increase sales through deep analytics. He's a gentleman. He's a salesman. He's a great storyteller. And to me, he's a legend. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. iSellBeer presents to you, Bump Williams.

I am not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr Lebowski, I'm the dude.

I tell you what. You can take a good look at a pictures asked by sticking your head up there. But wouldn't you rather take his word for it?

Tell him I need all the freakin chips. Kip.

A point. Don't be jealous that I've been shown online games all day.

We have a pawn in the back, a pool and a pot of tea. Good for you.

Welcome to the iSellBeer podcast with Tracy Neal, a production for sales reps and distributors who are driving around all day selling beer and the official home of the iSellBeer Nation Facebook group. And now your host. The 1989 winner of the John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Race in Hangtown, California, Tracy Neal!

Tracy Neal:
All right, Bump, thank you for having me here. It's good to be here in the in the beach house looking over the sound. And thanks for being on the podcast.

Bump Williams:
You're welcome, Tracy, my honor. Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you. Well, let's start by open it up. A fresh beer here.

Bump Williams:
There you go.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Bump Williams:
There you go.

Tracy Neal:
Happy holidays.

Bump Williams:
Cheers. Happy holidays. You, too.

Tracy Neal:
So, Bump, we've just spent the last couple hours doing business meetings here at the beach house looking over the sound, what's the name of the sound again?

Bump Williams:
This is Long Island Sound,.

Tracy Neal:
The Long Island Sound. We're looking over at Long Island across the water.

Bump Williams:
We're in Milford, Connecticut. And look out my back window and I can see Long Island and I can fly fish and Long Island Sound. Life is good.

Tracy Neal:
Nice. Well, you've been in the industry for a long time. Tell me about before I get to our marquee question. Tell me about your first day on the job and the beer business. I know you had a life before the beer business.

Bump Williams:
I did.

Tracy Neal:
I think you had told me you'd worked at a couple coming all that you walk through. But you worked that well. You tell me.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. So when I got out of college.

Tracy Neal:
Which college, by the way?

Bump Williams:
I went to North Adams State College in Massachusetts.

Tracy Neal:
North Adams State. Is there a mascot there?

Bump Williams:
We were the Mohawks.

Tracy Neal:
Go Mohawks.

Bump Williams:
Go Mohawks is probably politically incorrect now, but at the time we were the Mohawks. When I graduated school, I had three massive failures. Number one is I wanted to. I wanted to become a professional baseball player. But I realized after a short period time, I wasn't that good. So I failed at that.

Tracy Neal:
But what you did play some baseball?

Bump Williams:
I played a lot of baseball, but I just wasn't that good. But I was surrounded by good players, but I wasn't that good. And I soon fell out of grace. But I that was that was like a big failure. I wanted to do that. The second thing that I wanted to do was I wanted to work for the CIA. And when I applied and interviewed for the CIA, they said the best thing I could do for my country is to go work for the Russians. Now, this is back in the 70s. This is back in the mid 70s. So I didn't want to do that. And then the third thing that that I failed at was upon graduation from high school, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. And because I'm a Type 1 diabetic, I was rejected by the by the Marine Corps as well. So I was over three and I figured, what what better way to to turn my career around than to get into the to the marketing research beverage business. And I failed there as well initially because my first job at a college was working with the Procter and Gamble distributing company. They're headquartered in my home state of Ohio. They're down in Cincinnati. But I was a field sales rep and a key account manager in the New York metro area. I had parts of New Jersey, I had parts of Connecticut and all of metro New York and Long Island. And as a sales rep, my job was was build in cases are building displays. It was of which products I had the paper products division. So I had I had all the best products in the world. I had Pampers and loves. That was I was the most popular guy at any reset because everybody wanted, you know, some Pampers and love. So I also had bounty towels. I had I had sharman and I had white cloud, bathroom tissue. I had puffs.

Tracy Neal:
And what year is this?

Bump Williams:
This is 1980 to 1986. I was with.

Tracy Neal:
The sharman's big time. Right.

Bump Williams:
Don't squeeze a sharman.

Tracy Neal:
Don't squeeze the sharman.

Bump Williams:
Don't squeeze the sharman. That was Mr. Whipple and the Procter was just a phenomenal company. And after a couple of probably a year, year and a half of building displays and packing out shelves and plan and grinding I got promoted to to start working with retailers. And I had a small retailer out in Bentonville, Arkansas, that I was responsible for. I had five or six retailers in the New York metro area that I called on. And my job was to make sure that that every store in my territory. And also in part of this Bentonville retailers territory, they had displays of Pampers. They had displays of of Luvs. They had displays of bounty, single roll twins, sharman and a white cloud and puffs. And that was my job was to make sure that we were in the ad programs at that displays were built because these are pretty big products and they sold pretty quickly. So we had to have excess inventory. It was my job. And then I developed something for Procter that was using some Nielsen data. It was a bi monthly data. And every every eight weeks I'd get a new report on what happened. Two and a half, two and a half, three months ago. Yeah, I didn't report on that. And I hated looking in the rearview mirror. So a couple of my retailers would share with me internal data about what they sold of my products, but more more importantly, what they sold of competitive products. And I developed a retail strategy program for Procter and Gamble, which was pretty well received by my boss and my boss's boss. And I got I got promoted again to head of retail strategies. And they were gonna bring it back home to Cincinnati, which is right near where. Born and I was married. My wife is from Boston, and I remember when Mr. Murray, my boss at Procter, said, Bump, we're gonna we're gonna promote you and move you back to Cincinnati. I was. I was like, ecstatic. And my wife goes, I'll go with you. But I'm not gonna be happy. So I knew what that meant. So I told Mr. Murray, I said I couldn't take the promotion. And at Procter, you're given three promotions and then you go to the bottom of the promotion order. And I had passed on Denver and I had passed on Jacksonville. And when I passed on Cincinnati, that was my third strike. So I went to the bottom of the the batting order. But I was recruited then by a great marketing company, the AC Nielsen Company in 1986. And I left Procter and Gamble and went to work for Nielsen, where I was working in the beverage sector by also called on some of the bigger the bigger national accounts, some big paper products companies, some big cereal companies, some big wine companies, and a couple small, small beer companies. And one was up in Milwaukee when I was out in Golden, Colorado, and one was in Saint Lewis, Missouri. And that's kind of where I got my first flavor of the beverage arena. And I was used to working with with information. I was used to working with retailers. I was used to working with promotional data displays, features, things like that, pricing. And I liked it. I liked the business because in Ohio, where I grew up, my family get together's picnics and holidays. There was always a bucket of beer, ice cold beer that you could just reach in and grab a beer. And that's how you celebrate. You celebrated the good days. You celebrated the mediocre days, but you always had a beer. So somehow beer was in my DNA anyway. So at the AC Nielsen Company, I started to work with the three tiers, the basic three tiers of beverage alcohol. I worked with the folks that made beer, wine and spirits and I worked with the distributor network. And then I worked with retailers because I understood from my Procter days what retailers like to see in the information you brought him. And I started I started to expand my reach a little bit where I was taking data out with distributors, sales reps and distributor district managers. And I was helping them make sense of what the data meant, how to how to pull nuggets of information out of stacks of paper to to help retailers make better business decisions. How do you make more money? And I was always told by my boss at Procter that the most sensitive nerve in the human body is the one attached to the wallet. So every one of my presentations, I always talk to distributors and retailers about how to make more money. How do you make more money with your portfolio? How do you do a better job at merchandising in stores? How do you how do you eliminate out of stocks? How do you increase impulse purchases? Where should these displays go? How do how do I make sure that when when an ad goes into effect, that I've got inventory in the store on displays in the right spot with point of sale to make sure that the consumers that came to the store looking for the products, they could put it in their market basket. So we did all that. That's what I did at Nielsen. And I started to run analytics. I ran analytics and and consumer insights at the Nielsen Company. And then I I think the year and see that was in '86 I joined Nielsen. So it was August of 94. My old boss at Nielsen became the CEO at Nielsen's biggest competitor. Another marketing company called IRI Information Resources. And Mr. Garik told me, says Bump, we got something great here, he says. Instead of looking at total U.S. data or at New York State data or New York Metro data, I'm going to show you some data that IRI has at store level data I can show you. She looks store number 1 2 3 on Elm Street and I could show you what the category is doing. And I can show you what each Brewer's market share is. I could show you how big they are. I could show you their volumes are up or down. I could show you what happens when when when there is a display in that store. What happens to the lift of that? So so store level data is the key. And in '94, '95 we took this concept of store level data to Mr. Busch at Anheuser-Busch.

Tracy Neal:
Anheuser-Busch?

Bump Williams:
Yes, sir. And Mr. Busch, I had known Mr. Busch, I had met Mr. Busch.

Tracy Neal:
Now we're in the 90s.

Bump Williams:
And so this is '94.

Tracy Neal:
1994.

Bump Williams:
That I joined. Right. But I have met Mr. Busch when I was at Procter and Gamble through some shared groups work. My boss at Procter says, hey, go out, meet some of the best and brightest people in the industry. And we identified a number of companies. General Foods was in there, Lever Brothers, that's now Unilever. But at time I think Lever Brothers, we looked at Gallo, we looked at Gallo, we looked at Kellogg's, we looked at Wrigley, a missing one that we looked at Coca-Cola and we said some of these these guys are some of the best in class. So I had met Mr. Busch back then to some folks that worked for him on.

Tracy Neal:
It's a great opportunity that be exposed to him at that young age in your career.

Bump Williams:
It was great because Mr. Busch was all business. He liked to have a good time, but he was he was all business. He asked the best questions in the world about how do you make how do you make decisions and how do you how do you maximize sales opportunities and how do you identify a competitive weakness and how do you capitalize on all these things? So at Procter and Gamble category management wasn't around back then. It just it wasn't called category management. But I got exposed to him then. And then at Nielsen days, I started to work with, like I said, the beverage center. And then at IRI I became president of the Global Consulting Division where I was going around the world talking about beverages, non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. But Mr. Busch and his team of category managers and his national retail sales team, he goes. He said, I think that that store level data and the information that you guys that IRI collected on on stores, merchandising, sales trends, pricing, promotion, all of those, the four P's of category management would give us a competitive advantage. So I want you to work with my national retail sales team and I want you to work with my distributors. And I want you to work with our top 100 retailers and help us build our our market share. And that's what we did. So from 94 up to 2008, when I retired from i._r._a, I worked exclusively in the beverage sector and most of my my focus was in the beer business. But obviously, you know, people who drink beer, they just don't drink beer. Sometimes they drink wine, sometimes they drink spirits, sometimes they drink non alcoholic stuff.

Tracy Neal:
So, of course, bottled water was born in that era too.

Bump Williams:
You remember. So it was flavor bottled water. It was the new age beverages. It was it was sparkling waters and all those things at that. PepsiCo came out with the clear Pepsi.

Tracy Neal:
The Snapple, the Soapy, the Red Bull.

Bump Williams:
Exactly. Red Bull and all those all those beverages came out. And at the board meetings, we were we talked about share of stomach. And Mr. Busch would ask you, you know, talk to me about it, do a competitive analysis of my business. I would look at the beer business, but I'd look at wine and spirits. I'd look at not all, not alcoholics. There's probably twenty five, 30 different beverage categories. The way we broke about back then and we looked at share of mind, share a stomach. And I got used to working with data that way. So from really from ninety four ninety five to 2008, I was immersed in working with distributors and brewers on on helping retailers to make better business decisions.

Tracy Neal:
Now were you were you a data or an analytics guy in high school or was your college around that or was this something that was kind of bred into you during your P&G days?

Bump Williams:
You know, that's a good question. And I've always been able to add and subtract fairly well. Sometimes I can do it my head. But but mathematics just seemed to come easy to me. I just I liked mathematics. So in high school, when it was I should say, when I finished high school, yet you had to take these they call them CLEP, C-L-E-P, college level examination programs. And I scored. I scored fairly highly on the math piece and didn't have to take a whole lot of mathematics. But I took finance and I took economics and I took statistics because I liked the way numbers talked. It just seemed to make sense. But I don't that type of data looking at black and white numbers on a page, that that's one thing. But when you go out into the marketplace and you're working with folks that maybe they don't they don't understand forecasting or they don't understand elasticities or they don't understand lift analysis. What happens when when something's on display? Turn that data into insights as what I like to do. You show me you show me the facts. I'll tell the story. That's kind of the way I built my career is give me the facts. I'll tell the story. And you can always have fun. I mean, when you go out with anybody in the beer business, if you're not having fun, somebody's wrong here. It's up to, you know, something's wrong with you. So.

Tracy Neal:
So how often do you get out in the trade? You work with distributors, are you? I mean.

Bump Williams:
So now?

Tracy Neal:
Well, yeah. Well, I don't know. Maybe now, maybe 30 years ago. But, you know, this is the biggest listener group of this podcast. Our sales reps who we'd like to say are driving around all day selling beer. So for those folks that are driving around, have you. Have you been out? And I'm sure at some point you've been on routes. You've been I work with you've thrown your cases. Right. Tell me a little history about that.

Bump Williams:
Oh, yeah. You mean in terms of building displays and I talked about that early on the Procter days was building displays, finding the right spot in the store to to throw a display up, doing some cross category merchandising and their strategies behind doing that that that are different today than they were back 30, 35, 40 years ago.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, you know a lot of people don't understand that one of the reasons for the display was the added inventory for the sale item that was on the shelf so that retailers would not have to give rain checks.

Bump Williams:
Right.

Tracy Neal:
Because you remember I remember I was a kid in the 80s, but I remember my mom getting rain checks on items that were on sale that had run out of stock. And so in an effort to eliminate the out of stock in the rain check process, stores started putting things on display. So they had that, you know, stoppable inventory.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. I mean, that's that was still true. It's still true today. But back then when you were a kid, we had the gas wars in the 70s and early 80s, remember? So nobody wanted to get a rain check because that means you had to get back in your car and drive back on when gas was was over a dollar a gallon. Remember that? So, I mean, it was it was a.

Tracy Neal:
So rain check was not only an inconvenience, it was an added cost a negated the savings of the sale.

Bump Williams:
That's exactly right. And a lot of folks didn't bother to cash in on that rain check. And that means there's a lost sale anytime. And we found this out in our studies that any time there is a consumer goes into a store to buy a product, and that product in that store is out of stock three consecutive times. That consumer won't go back to that story more. They'll leave that store. So if the average market basket expenditure, every time that a consumer goes in and throws beer into a market basket, it's around sixty five dollars. It's not just beer, you know, it's hamburger roll.

Tracy Neal:
So you're saying that the average shopper that buys beer has a cart valued at sixty five dollars at the cashier?

Bump Williams:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
So that's sixty five dollars that goes into that retailer's cash register. So if that if that beer shopper goes to his or her store and their favorite beer product or a package that's on it, whether it's in the feature program or its or its frontline pricing, if it's out of stock three consecutive times, they won't go back to that store so that that retailers lost that consumer. They may shop once, twice, three times a week. They've lost that shopper. No retailer wants that one. So when you talk about holding power, you look at the shelves today. Some of those faster velocities, higher turn in, faster velocity packages. They just don't have the holding power. The days of supply on the shelves aren't there today. So a smart distributor, a smart retailer will know which brands, which styles of beer, which package size is a fast moving item and his or her store. And they will build displays. They should build displays, too. It's going to be warm, but it's still a warm beer product can be taken home and put in the fridge or the cooler as opposed to, oh my god, I'm out of stock on this one particular beer item. They won't replace it. There's a lot of brand loyalty there, and I don't think there's a lot of replacement anymore.

Tracy Neal:
And also, warm beer product on a display is usually the first to be filled in an empty cold ref.

Bump Williams:
Exactly right. That's exactly. Think about this as people are shopping the store. They may not go in for that beer purchase, but if it's on display and they're going to have a barbecue that afternoon or or that weekend and they see a big display of beer, they're likely to do what we call an impulse purchase. I've got to buy a twelve pack of this of this product and I'm going to put their market basket. So retailers had a couple of different strategies for for their display programs. One is, to your point, let's eliminate out of stocks and our fast moving items. Hey, let's make sure we've got sufficient inventory for the ad programs. Make sure that our display support what's in our feature. And then the third thing.

Tracy Neal:
This is where DSOF come from. Right. Time's up around the country. Have to explain. All right. Display Support of Feature.

Bump Williams:
Or DDSOF right.

Tracy Neal:
DDSOF as iSellBeer is trying to push right now, Distributors Display Support of Feature.

Bump Williams:
That's right. And I think that's something that that the smart, the aggressive, the distributors that take the initiative, that understand their their retailers and understand their portfolio growth strategies. Those are the distributors that are getting. Behind the display programs to support the features that eliminate out of stocks and maximize sales. And I'll probably come back and circle back on that one because what you showed me today, it turned out a couple of light bulbs in my head. But the retailers always want to maximize profitability, so displays do that. And they also like today. Retailers are looking at local. They like local. The whole idea local is here forever. It's not a fad. It's here forever. So a beer display, merchandise or cross merchandise with another local product? It could be it could be a local local snack food company. It could be a non alcoholic beverage. It could be any category in the store. They're gonna merchandise that with beer because the beer displays generate an unbelievable high lift number, which means incremental sales. What's the average lift you have any stats on? So we did. Yeah, we ran that. And so the way that we look at the category when we look at lift and lift is simply measures the increase in sales from baseline or everyday sales.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
What happens when it's on display?

Tracy Neal:
So for sales reps out there driving around all day, selling beer who are asked to get displays and maybe we've got some some newer, younger ones in the industry that are listening and don't actually understand it. Let's give them the science behind why the lift is so important. What that lift means for incremental sales.

Bump Williams:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Because anybody I think one of the things that I used to talk about is when you're on the shelf, the only lever you have is price.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. And that's something that you don't want to get back to.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah. You don't want.

Bump Williams:
You never want to sell on price.

Tracy Neal:
You don't want to pull that string. You could pull it a couple of times. You can't pull it as you're only string. You got to pull some other strings. Once you get off the shelf, you've got a lot of other levers. They'll promote your product.

Bump Williams:
That's right.

Tracy Neal:
Go and talk about that.

Bump Williams:
And I'm not a big believer in drop in price. I've never liked that. I believe in and pulsing where there are certain holidays or on the year where you want to get a better bargain, you want to throw a better price out there. But once anybody starts to sell on price, I don't care what category you're in, whether you're in disposable diapers or you're in beer. Once you drop price, it erodes the image. It erodes the perception of the quality of that beverage out there and wants it, like you said, once you drop down price, Tracy. It's hard to bring that price back up and get consumers come back into your portfolio. But the way that we explain lift is if I typically sell a hundred cases a week of beer and when I put it on merchandising, when it's on a display, I sell 200 cases that week, my lift is 200 percent. Typically, I sell a hundred. I go to 200. It's a 200 percent lift. I sold twice as much beer this week on display and I do of that product when it's not on display. That's lift. That's how we measure lift.

Tracy Neal:
And lift is calculated from a base of zero.

Bump Williams:
That's correct.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
That's right. So the weight.

Tracy Neal:
As opposed to like my my standard math would make me think that that's one hundred percent increase.

Bump Williams:
It's a 200 percent lift

Tracy Neal:
It's a 200 percent lift because it's from a base of zero.

Bump Williams:
That's a correct. That's exactly. And that's a way that we explain it to retailers.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
Is if you don't sell anything, period. But it's on display. You sell 200, it's a 200 percent lift.

Tracy Neal:
So 80 percent lift is 40 percent more than they would have sold last month.

Bump Williams:
That's exactly right.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
And don't confuse that with percent change.

Tracy Neal:
Yes. Okay.

Bump Williams:
All right. So just to make sure we're clear on that one. But the way we explained that to retailers is every week. They're approached by brewers or they're approached by distributors and they're saying, hey, I need you to put my brand or this portfolio or these packages in your feature program. And the retailer has to make a decision. A couple there's like three decisions they have to make. Number one is, am I going to feature beer this week? Number two is if I am going to feature beer this week, which which styles or which segments of beers are going to be a premium? Is it going to be an import? Is it going to be a craft? Is it going to be an FNB? What's it going to be? What style or what type of beer am I going to throw in the ad this week? And then the third question is the biggest one. It's like, what's the price going to be? What's the price that I'm going to throw out to read to consumers this week? That's going to separate me from the rest of the pack and increase foot traffic in my store and increase market basket size and increase my total category growth.

Tracy Neal:
And still help me hit my blended margin goals.

Bump Williams:
So that's another thing they have to worry about. So when you think about a retailer's growth strategies, they've got a profit number, they've got a margin number that they have to hit. It's not just every week, I should say, like it's not just every year or every quarter or every month, but it's every single week in store managers are evaluated. Have you delivered your number to the to the chain this week? So week.

Tracy Neal:
And by the way, I use the word blended margin, but I'll just define it. Right. Blended margin would mean you're if you're front line margin combined with your discounted margin weighted commensurately for the volume of sales.

Bump Williams:
That's right. And like I said, store managers are assessed by that one. And for those of you on the on the, or listen on the podcast that are relatively new to the business, most store managers report up into a zone manager or an area manager or a district manager, and he or she might be responsible for 5 to 6, 7, 8 stores. And he or she's got a number they have to deliver to their to their beer buyer. The V.P. of operations or merchandise. So the numbers, we measure everything because if you don't measure, nothing gets done,.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah, what gets measured gets improved, right?

Bump Williams:
That's right. So retailers have to figure out what's the what's the right price point? And so we look at the results of of ad programs. We look at the results of display programs. And all this can be measured in lift or in profitability or in margin or in market basket size. There's different metrics. And what we what we help, we try to help our customers understand is did the retailer make a smart decision? Did the retailer pick the right product, the right package and the right price point that helped him or her increase profitability for the category or for his store or her store?

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome. So you just said our customers. That's a good segue into the BWC company right? Bump Williams consulting company. Tell me a little bit about the well, first of all, where the name Bump come from. So I missed it. What is your real first name? Are you gonna disclose that?

Bump Williams:
Spanky.

Tracy Neal:
Spanky?

Bump Williams:
My real name is David.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. David?

Bump Williams:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
I would've never guessed.

Bump Williams:
Yep. That's it.

Tracy Neal:
Okay. So David.

Bump Williams:
David also it means king. But at that meeting.

Tracy Neal:
Where did Bump come from?

Bump Williams:
So I missed curfew one night because I went out with a bunch of guys on the team and and we were.

Tracy Neal:
Playing baseball?

Bump Williams:
Probably. Yeah, Probably had one or two too many beers that night and I had spilled a platter of beers on some folks. So I turned around and bumped into him and spilled beers all over and I end up going out with them that night. And I missed my curfew and coach gave me a hard time about dances. What time is it? I said it's 4:30. Because what time's curfew? I said 12:00. He goes, or what happened? I said, I bumped into these people at a bar. I just went out that night. So ever since then, my name gets turned into Bump. So that's what happened.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Bump Williams:
Yeah, it's it's a good story.

Tracy Neal:
Good story.

Bump Williams:
Then the only two people that don't call me that are my wife. She hates that name. And my and my mom, they they she hates it, too.

Tracy Neal:
They don't like Bump, huh?

Bump Williams:
They don't.

Tracy Neal:
Now, we also we kind of skipped over the whole baseball career earlier on. You called it a failure. I don't know that I would agree with that.

Bump Williams:
Let me let me talk.

Tracy Neal:
I've seen pictures of a real baseball uniform you played for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bump Williams:
So let's let's get that straight. Is I've ever played professional baseball. Everybody thinks I play professional baseball. I never played. I play with a bunch of professional baseball players in tournaments today. Some of the best folks that ever put the cardinal uniform on to the birds on the bat. I play with them. I go to spring training. I throw a lot of batting practice in spring training. I go to those cardinal camps. I do a lot of that stuff. But I've never played in any Major League Baseball league at all. Never.

Tracy Neal:
So college, though?

Bump Williams:
College played? Yep. Yep. It was just like I said, I thought I was good then. But when I got to an upper level, I was never that good. I realized how good or how bad I truly was.

Tracy Neal:
Today you throw it, you throw a BP in spring training.

Bump Williams:
I still do that. I still go. And we still do tournaments like.

Tracy Neal:
How did you get involved with the Cardinals organization there?

Bump Williams:
Through Mr. Busch? So, Mr. Busch, Gussie Busch and they own the cardinals way back.

Tracy Neal:
That's the story I'm looking for.

Bump Williams:
Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
OK.

Bump Williams:
So should it just ask then.

Tracy Neal:
So it had nothing to do with you being a baseball player for the cardinals?

Bump Williams:
Never.

Tracy Neal:
It had to do with your relationship with Mr. Busch.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. And we got to take.

Tracy Neal:
Tell me how that introduction happened.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. So I'm gonna think about this one. As you know, as I said, Anheuser-Busch owned the St. Louis Cardinals and I forget what year they sold them. But we would.

Tracy Neal:
Late 80s, maybe.

Bump Williams:
Maybe. Maybe then. But we would. We would go to all the games at Busch Stadium, obviously, as in St. Louis. So on off days, Mr. Busch would take a bunch of of. Folks, friends, friends of the making thread, making friends with his business.

Tracy Neal:
FOABs Right. Friends of Anheuser-Busch.

Bump Williams:
Friends of Anheuser-Busch. And we would go down to the baseball field and we would beat the great players like Bruce Suder or Aussie.

Tracy Neal:
Aussie, yeah.

Bump Williams:
Aussie. Was the best Dave Lapointe. We'd made the point we'd be John Tutor. We would just meet some of the best and brightest Lou Brock. How could I miss Lou Brock or Stan Usual? Whitey Herzog read Shane Deetz to be the great Cardinal Hall of Famers.

Tracy Neal:
Wow.

Bump Williams:
We get to hang out with them and we would have beers with them and talk about the old days. About. About what what the game was all about back then. And then I remember Al Hrabosky, a.k.a. the Mad Hungarian would say, hey, where it takes them, BP at Busch Stadium. I said, absolutely. So now of the mad Hungarian is a lefty. So I. I switch hit, but I would bat right against him and. And I hit him. I got lucky. I should see. I hit him. I was so, such a great pitcher that he would hit my bat when I swung. So I hit him pretty good. He brought a couple of other cardinal pitchers out there. John Castelo, who's who's a great friend. Kenny Daly was another pitcher. So righty lefty comedy action. We got to head off of them. I'm trying to think. Trying to think who? The other pitcher where? Ricky Horton, the voice of the cardinals. So we bat against Ricky Horton. And these guys were bigger than life. We grew up in Ohio. We were always a big red machine there. But everybody knew who the cardinals were. They were just a phenomenal organization and getting to spend time on the field and becoming friends. I mentioned Dave Lapointe earlier, Dave Davies come to two of my kids weddings. He's gonna come to my third child's wedding in February of twenty twenty. They just become great friends. And when you sit down and talk to them about about baseball, they're. Their stories are just ones that you could just drink beer and listen to him talk on a patio all day long. They're just the best and brightest people know what we loved. I just. And it was in my blood. It was in my DNA. Yeah. So great. My dad my dad played baseball in the Navy. He was in Korea. And I found out from Dave Lapointe, who pitched for the World Series championship cardinals in 1982. He's got a ring to prove it. I found out where he and I both found out that our dads played against each other. So his dad was a U.S. Marine. My father was in the United States Navy. My dad was a catcher. His father, I thought, pitched. But I could be wrong on that one. But when they played out in California, they played up in Bremerton, Washington state. And then they played dad in San Diego at the naval base. And they played against each other, which we thought that was kind of cool. So.

Tracy Neal:
That is cool.

Bump Williams:
And over a couple of beers, all people's memory just seems we get. People think it gets cloudier, it gets better. So, you know, sharing stories like that, it was it was great. But they become great friends. And I think I'll taken BP at Busch and taken infield practice in heaven. Ozzie Smith tell you how he took thousands and thousands of ground balls every single day. So no matter where he was in the infield, he knew exactly where second base was. And he never had to look. He would just grab a ground ball at shortstop, not look at second base and just flip it. And the ball would be right there in your glove. He told me how he got such soft hands. But when he grew up, he wasn't he didn't come from a fluency. He would put like six pack carrier to wrap those around his hands, a plastic six pack rings and wrap those around his hands. And that's what he would use for a baseball glove. And it just got him a nice soft hands where you have to receive that ball. And hearing stories about that and how beer was integrated into all these ballplayers lives, it. They would sit around back in the old days.

Tracy Neal:
Beer and baseball.

Bump Williams:
Beer and baseball. I mean.

Tracy Neal:
You learned about.

Bump Williams:
There's all there's a lot of.

Tracy Neal:
You learned about Henry Chadwick today, huh?

Bump Williams:
We did.

Tracy Neal:
The great. I have a feeling you're gonna be reading the Henry Chadwick books soon.

Bump Williams:
At least one, we play baseball. I actually play with the cardinals in Cooperstown.

Tracy Neal:
Oh, do you?

Bump Williams:
This year in June. So I'm going to visit him in the Hall of Fame and.

Tracy Neal:
Have to look up, Mr. Chadwick.

Bump Williams:
I will do that.

Tracy Neal:
Are you doing spring training this year? Just the one in June.

Bump Williams:
So it all depends. I'm definitely going down for the cardinal camp in January.

Tracy Neal:
Okay.

Bump Williams:
And then February, we're probably 70 days away from spring training. Open it up right now. So I'll probably go on down the second week in February, although my daughters get married February, eighth or ninth. Monday, February 9th, I had to check on that, makes sure I'm not late, but I've got a Mrs. San Diego baseball term with the Cardinals because my daughters get married, so I can't miss that for for spring training. But I'll try to get done if I'm not fly fish at all. I'll be down there throwing some pitches. Yeah.

Tracy Neal:
Nice.

Bump Williams:
So much fun.

Tracy Neal:
So tell me about BWC company.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. So. So in 2008 I had retired from IRI. I just wanted to fly fish and spend time. My family and now I've got three grandsons and spend time with them. But when I left, IRI, I asked all of my clients pay if I could help you improve your business in one or two ways. Next year, what would it be? And all my clients gave me feedback on on what they what they were looking for me to do. Help me. Help me breathe life back into my portfolio. Help me understand data. How do I build a business review? How do I understand pricing? How do I eliminate out of stocks? Where's the best place to build a display? How do we how do we make better relations with my my retail customers? I looked at all this data and I said I could do some of these things. So I started to put them in little buckets and it came out to be five or six buckets of things that I could do. And on October 15th, 2008, I'll never forget this. I get a call from a retailer that said, hey, listen, I need you to do me a favor. Sure. They said, since you've retired from Iowa, we're not getting insights the way that we used to get it from any of our category captains or any of the big brewers out there. Could you help me make sense of the data? I said sure. I said, but but I've retired. I don't do this anymore. That's says, well, you know, would you make an exception? I says. I'm kind of done with this. Well, we'll pay you. And I said, well, how much? And so on October 15th.

Tracy Neal:
It was a good number.

Bump Williams:
It was it was a fair number. It would keep me in beer and it would keep me fly fishing. So I was OK.

Tracy Neal:
Because here we are 11 years later.

Bump Williams:
Yeah. I mean, we're actually going into our 12th year now because you just had our 11 year anniversary on.

Tracy Neal:
12th year of attempting to be retired. By the way, you suck at being retired.

Bump Williams:
I suck in a lot of things. I already told you about all my failures,.

Tracy Neal:
Failure number four right now. Retiring.

Bump Williams:
That's just the four we've talked about. But it's just it it just it kind of progressed. And I got a call from another retailer and another retailer. And then.

Tracy Neal:
You're working with, like I think you said, a hundred different retailers, though?

Bump Williams:
We have one hundred and fourteen retailers who'd probably get close to 450 distributors and maybe maybe 350 brewers. But but our business doesn't end just there. We work with the United States government. They want to know what's the forecast look like for beer? Hey, what's the forecast look like when cannabis gets legalized? Is there? Is there an impact pro or a beer category? We work with folks that that make aluminum, they make glass containers for the beer category. We work with Wall Street. We work with private equity firms. We work with importers. We work with marketing companies who work with how many people, how many team members you have on the beach. So we just hired our 15th employee. Wow. We did. We just hired our 15th. We hired like extended an offer to him today. Tuesday, I extend an offer to him last week. You wanted to talk to his wife about it. He's a smart man. Talk to his wife about it. She gave him approval and and B.K. gave me the thumbs up that he was going to do.

Tracy Neal:
Fifteen employees, hundreds of distributors, hundreds of retailers, the US government brewers. I mean, you could possibly suck. You could suck at being retired more than anybody else has ever sucked and retired for 11 years.

Bump Williams:
But the remember, there's a couple of keys though.

Tracy Neal:
Fly fishing.

Bump Williams:
And sucking at retirement. Number one is. Hire people smarter than you.

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Bump Williams:
And I've always made it a point to surround myself with people smarter than me.

Tracy Neal:
That's good.

Bump Williams:
Once I check that box off, you know, pick your friends wisely. Pick your customers wisely. Always do your best. Don't cheat, don't steal. Don't lie. You know, never give up. Have a good attitude. Good heart, try and be a good guy. Those those lessons have served me well. My mom and dad did a did a good job at teaching me those those lessons in life. And I think both of them every time I see them that, you know, I.

Tracy Neal:
The both are stil alive?

Bump Williams:
Both are still alive.

Tracy Neal:
That's great.

Bump Williams:
It's very fortunate. Yeah. Dad, dad turns 86 this year.

Tracy Neal:
Excellent.

Bump Williams:
Mom is mom was a spring chicken. I think she's 84.

Tracy Neal:
So they still live in Ohio?

Bump Williams:
So they live out Massachusetts now. Western Mass. And they are big beer drinkers. So, yeah. So like I said, it's in the DNA somewhere.

Tracy Neal:
And by the way, you're very you're very brand agnostic today, right? Because you work with all different types of brewers. We're not gonna say what kind of beers we're drinking. I never like the sale of beers. What type of beers we're drinking.

Bump Williams:
All I can tell is they're cold and wet.

Tracy Neal:
They're cold and wet.

Bump Williams:
And they're good.

Tracy Neal:
So we just spent a couple hours going through the iSellBeer platform, and I'm thoroughly impressed with everything you're doing in the industry. Thank you for having me here in your home to sit down and talk with us and meet your son. David spent some time with David over there. What can you give me a little bit of a shameless plug on the iSellBeer platform. Why would a distributor do business with us from a sales software platform perspective? What do you see that we're doing that excited you? Because you told me earlier you had some light bulbs go off and you had a lot of good ideas on how we could work together.

Bump Williams:
Yeah, so. So, Tracy, but before I answer that question, we're just thrilled to have you and Jim here. We really are.

Tracy Neal:
Thank you.

Bump Williams:
Have you guys here? Jim's been a friend for a long, long time. And I've respected him and his work. And I am so indebted to him for his service to our country, the United States Marine Corps. So I make sure I thank him all the time for that.

Tracy Neal:
Jim's a stud, and that is that's Jim Kenny for our listeners, our vice president sales of iSellBeer. He actually just left in an Uber. He had it an earlier flight. So he just took off. But he was here for most of the morning with us at the beach house overlooking the sound with sunshine coming in. Whitecaps on the water and snow on the roof.

Bump Williams:
And a cold beer flowing inside.

Tracy Neal:
Yes.

Bump Williams:
But I also want to acknowledge, you know, my son David, who joined the company almost five years ago, five years ago. And he he he's much smarter than I am. I told you, I surround myself with people smiling.

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bump Williams:
He he excels in mathematics and in promotion analysis and taking a look at at what drives a consumer to pick a product up and put it in their market in their shopping cart. And David's my vice president of Consumer Insights and Analytics, and he's the heir apparent of the company. And we know he's got a team in place that is gonna help him take the BWC company to the next level, because, frankly, he's like I said, he's smarter than I am. And the way people are looking at data now, it's it's it's beyond my abilities. It's getting to the point where it's beyond my ability to relate to them. So and I talk about that with iSellBeer because your customers that iSellBeer are some of my customers and the distributor network. So our paths have crossed some of the work that you're doing with distributors. We're also doing work with distributors. And we're trying to take a look at the power of information. We're taking a look at what happens to a distributors portfolio when displays are put in stores that support a feature program for the chain. And I hope that I want to explain that, because all too often a big brewer will go into a chain and they'll sell a chain wide feature program and they'll make commitments. Hey, I think we can increase our sales by 25 percent by 30 percent. And all I need from you, Mr. Retailer or Miss Retailer, is the authorized displays to go up at every single store of these brands, these packages, this quantity of product on the shelf, on the floor. Do that for me and I'll give you your return. You're gonna have a massive lift in volume and the retailers say, yeah, I need to do that. You've got my approval displays in every single store. That's the easy part of the job. The hard part of the job is going back to the distributors and making sure that displays are put up in all of those retailers stores to support that feature, because that feature is geared at bringing shoppers into their store and increasing sales of that product in the feature program. So that the the analysis that we do have demonstrated that when distributors get behind that feature program and your data illustrates it perfectly because it's at the store level and that's that's the most granular data you can get when distributors get behind that feature program and they build displays with point of sale that educate the consumer that that eliminates out of stocks, that creates an impulse purchase. The sales lift, the sales volume and that store for that particular brand and the feature program, their sales grow at a phenomenal rate. And that means that the retailer is happy because displays have eliminated out of stocks. The consumers are happy because they go to that store to support that ad program and they find their product, whether it's in the cold vault or it's on the floor and the display, they get to put it in their market basket and bring it home. Everybody's happy. The distributors happy because they've just generated profits. They just made more money. The brewers happy. That was in the ad program because they also reaped the benefits of increased sales and. Everybody wins on that. But it's all about execution. And I find that that the smart distributors are able to take the information that you sell, that you provide. iSellBeer what you provide.

Tracy Neal:
Every display, every week.

Bump Williams:
Every display, every single week. Yeah. You had to coin that.

Tracy Neal:
We have. I thought.

Bump Williams:
You did do that with.

Tracy Neal:
Just like every pitch, every play, every pitch, every play, every display. Every week.

Bump Williams:
I love those parallels. Every single store. So the smart distributors, the aggressive distributors, the ones that aren't order takers, the ones that don't that aren't happy with with leftovers from those that are hustling those distributors that that take your information and they execute at retail with displays. Those are the ones that are going to widen the gap between first place and everybody followed behind them. Those are distributors that we like to work with. Those are the the ones that that turn your information into power. And then they can go back to their brewer partners, into their retailer partners have said we helped you build your business.

Tracy Neal:
Prove that they execute.

Bump Williams:
Absolutely right. And that's the key on this. And so the information that you shared with us today that you and again, I've been talking to Jim Kenny a long time about this and the information that you shared with us today about your Bullseye program, which I don't know if that's public information yet or not, but if it isn't, it is now.

Tracy Neal:
We're not we're only selling it with one distributor, but it's publicly known. We're just not. OK. So, yeah, that's where we're working with Manhattan Beer in New York City on that.

Bump Williams:
Ok. And I'd be nuts.

Tracy Neal:
There could be.

Bump Williams:
They're a great distributor.

Tracy Neal:
They're a great distributor, a great leadership.

Bump Williams:
The forward thinking there, you know.

Tracy Neal:
But I've often wondered, is Bullseye five or 10 years from now as bull's eye, our whole company.

Bump Williams:
All I can tell you is that is that if I'm a retailer and again, we do 114 retailers we work with and we ask them, what are your growth strategies?

Tracy Neal:
Yeah.

Bump Williams:
Their growth strategies are going to focus around what Bullseye is going to provide distributors and that is what products are being sold. In my neighborhood that I'm not currently selling in my store, it's like an item I've not had a report. That's that's brilliant. And folks had grasped that information. It's not just information, it's things that you can take. And if I'm a salesman for Manhattan beer, I can take action on this. I can help I can help my retailer to drive his or her sales up. And I can I can build displays on a faster move, high velocity items that that helped Manhattan better make more money. I'd say everybody wins on that. And that's what smart people want. Aggressive people. What what what champions are made of.

Tracy Neal:
Yep.

Bump Williams:
Is making.

Tracy Neal:
That's awesome.

Bump Williams:
Helping your customers make better business decisions?

Tracy Neal:
Awesome. Well, Bump. I know we have some other appointments this afternoon. I could sit here and talk to you for hours and hours and hours, but I'm gonna have to wrap it up here and just say thank you so much for having me again in your home while spending time with you and your son talking about the business. I love being in this business.

Bump Williams:
Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
I love the relationships. I love the the the epicenter of where we're at in the crosshairs right now with execution and technology and everything that we're doing with iSellBeer and I look forward to working with you and your team more to help distributors sell more beer. So thanks again. I appreciate it.

Bump Williams:
My pleasure, Tracy. Thank you. I enjoyed having you here. Thank you.

Tracy Neal:
All right.

Bump Williams:
And our beers are empty anyway.

Tracy Neal:
Thanks, Bump.

Bump Williams:
My pleasure.

Tracy Neal:
Take care. So what's the best tasting beer in America? Who cares? That's for the consumer to decide. And until they do, you will keep selling them new brands every day. As a distributor sales rep, you can become a part of the iSellBeer Nation by subscribing to this podcast and using the #iSellBeer in all your social posts. Also, be sure to join the iSellBeer Nation Facebook Group and visit our website. Our industry is an up and down the street business where local relationships matter. I want to thank you for making me a part of your day and wish you good luck on the objectives for your next account call. In fact, I know you're gonna crush it.

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