I recently worked with a beer sales rep on a Wednesday, chain day and about 2 hours into it he complimented me saying he really appreciated my willingness to “make his day shorter.” He used those words because those were the exact words I used when I told him what my goal for the day was, “to make your day shorter.”
I explained to him my “creed” and how I was trained to do workwiths, and why I believe it’s a difference-maker in establishing yourself as a supplier in this industry. I’ll explain it but first, I have to tell you what he told me. In summary, he had a supplier rep who worked with him a few weeks prior. The (craft) supplier only stocked his own SKU’s and then when he was done he got on his phone and email while wondering around the account. And then when the sales rep was trying to work – the supplier rep asked a ton of questions about trends, brands, pricing, and typical R&D info that kept the sales rep from focusing on his orders. The sales rep said the day was more than 90 minutes longer than usual and they didn’t rotate a few accounts that were scheduled for rotation.
Dear supplier rep, insert Robin Williams hugging Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting while he pats his back repeatedly and says: “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”
Suppliers, if this is you, I’m not mad at you because it’s HIGHLY likely that you were not trained properly. So here it is, the Supplier Workwith Creed that I was trained on, circa 1996. Say it outloud, print it on the back of your business card, and march to it in the trade. If you do, you’ll win share of mind, route by route, like you’ve never imagined. Your future words will be weighted like gold and you’ll create a bond of respect that can’t be undone even after multiple job changes.
SUPPLIER WORKWITH CREED
Today’s success is measured by making your (sales rep’s) day shorter than normal.
I will ride in the same car from the first stop to the last. If I can’t then I won’t do the workwith.
I will tell the sales rep that s/he’s in charge of the day’s schedule, not me.
I will stack, build, stock, and dolly every brand of beverage that my sales rep sells.
I will save all my chit-chat for the car ride between accounts.
I will offer to buy lunch but I’ll be OK if that’s not on their schedule or if it just includes a power bar on the go.
I will not talk disparengly about other suppliers or distributor management.
I will keep all conversations confidential.
I will glorify my sales rep’s efforts and brands (all brands) in front of their retailers.
I will not attend any conference calls during the day.
I will not respond to emails or phone calls while in the account.
While in the account I am not his/her boss, his/her supplier, or his/her mentor. I am his/her LABOR and I will ask for direction while providing labor.
Feel free to copy and paste this…. I’d like to take credit for it but it’s a creed that was passed down from earlier generations of beer suppliers before me. Thank you to my mentors!