One of the nice things about working for myself is that I get to work where I want. That’s often my home office or one of the many coffeehouses around Evanston, IL.
Or if it’s about 3:30 and another cup of tea will make my head explode, it’s one of my favorite bars where I can sip a craft brew and work in the eerily dead time between lunch and happy hour. (I love the fact that pretty much every establishment feels the need to have free WiFi).
Watching a Sales Call Unravel
As I was sitting here at the bar today, enjoying the last drops of this year’s Great Lakes Oktoberfest, a sales rep for a local Chicago craft brewer came in. She had an appointment with the manager/bartender and entered by asking, “Would you like to taste some beer!?” in the enthusiastic voice of someone who thinks that excitement sells. And because this sales call is now happening at a booth about 8 feet from me, I can overhear the entire process.
I’m holding back my desire to just look at the sales rep and shake my head in a disapproving way. She’s going on and on about ingredients, IBUs, and flavor notes. Now mind you, I’m not in a fancy craft beer bar. It’s a pretty standard Chicago Irish pub. They have about 30 beers already, they aren’t looking for the secret beer that’s been missing from their list.
I’ve written about this before when I looked at how I used to book gigs for my band. I want to tell the poor brewery sales rep (who I’m sure is a very nice woman) that the bar wants to do two things: sell a lot of beer and do it at a good margin. This isn’t rocket science.
If Bad Beer Sells, They’ll Sell It
When we try to sell something, we get caught up in what we think is important. Please, for the love of all that is good, stop talking about what you care about and start talking about what they care about.
If you are a beer sales rep, talk about how popular your beer is, why people will order it instead of everything else, and why they can sell it for a good price.
The person who runs the bar that is selling the beer doesn’t care how the beer tastes. They care about running a successful business. And if good tasting beer will help them do that, fantastic. But a lot of bars do just fine selling pretty crappy beer. (But that’s a rant for another day).
Now, you might not being selling beer, but my guess is that you are going to try to influence someone today. This is just a great reminder that no matter the scenario, if you want to influence someone else, don’t tell them about what you think is valuable. Find out what’s important to them and then talk about that!