Building Relationships, Educating Beer Buyers Fundamental for Sales

As craft beer continues to find growth in segments it previously has not been privy to, tailoring sales interaction with beer buyers has grown in importance.

Presentations that used to be considered a curiosity are now a point of sales talk for many craft beer sales reps and knowing the situation heading into an opportunity is vital.

For Matt Neuman, the National Sales Director at Chandler, Arizona’s SanTan Brewing, having the ability to get all on and off-premise accounts on board is possible.

“Our team knows that you can’t use the same sales pitch at every account,” Neuman said, saying that the brewery uses a classification system so that its Brand Ambassadors know about the buyer: what they have bought in the last month and year, their current point of sales and consumer preferences, along with what competitors have in terms of handles or distributors, before walking into an account.

“The last thing we want to do is waste a buyer’s time,” Neuman said. “If a buyer refuses to carry beers where the ABV is above 7 percent, we know what to lead the sales presentation with and not present something that does not fit with our customers need.”

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New opportunities do come up all the time. The blue-collared bar down the road may have never served anything but macros before, but tap handles have increased, giving a sales rep an opportunity.

“Our goal at SanTan is to educate our customers, whether the decision maker is from a bar/Independent/chain grocery store, we want them to walk away with a better understanding of the true craft that goes into making amazing beers…consistently,” Neuman pointed out.

“When our buying partners believe in a brand…they are your best salesperson after our reps leave an account,” he added. “Our reps are to provide a service to everyone of their accounts, from education of new/existing styles of our beers, ensuring our quality standards are in place, to at times…just saying hi.”

For SanTan, Brand Ambassadors go through a sale training course, which helps them better understand the service, including learning the process directly at the brewery for at least two days.

“The days of sending a rep out into the market with no sales training are over,” Neuman said. “This is a very competitive industry and if you send someone into an account with minimal training, you will see nine out of 10 times, that employee will struggle and more than likely fail.”

Connecting with the beer buyer, even just stopping by to say hi, helps not only in brand awareness, but potential for future educational experiences.

“We highly encourage our customers to come on a tour of our production facility and brewpub,” Neuman said of SanTan. “When a customer walks away from one of our tours…you see the excitement in their eyes. It’s like they just met a new best friend, with a sense of loyalty to SanTan…for sharing this experience with them.

“I love when we bring a customer down to the pub for a tour, then this person will bring their co-worker, boss, or friend back. The fun part is when the returning customers asks if they can give the tour this time. We have a comfort knowing that customers truly understands SanTan and what our owner and founder Anthony Canecchia created: for us all to enjoy great beer.”

Photos courtesy SanTan Brewing and Tonic Photo Studios

1 Comment

  1. John Fischer

    November 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Mat is right on with the fundamentales and goes beyond the basics when he points out that “When our buying partners believe in a brand…they are your best salesperson after our reps leave an account”

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