Selling Beer From a Distance

Observation is a skill vital to successful beer sales. Observing your environment, reading your buyer or consumer’s body language and non-verbal cues, and adapting to your sales situation at the moment. All doable if you are standing in front of someone, but how do you accomplish this virtually? Current market conditions dictate that many of us will have to sell our beer remotely for the foreseeable future. This new frontier poses a challenge for brewery sales representatives, but with a few modifications to your normal tactics, you can successfully sell your beer from a distance.

  • First, you need to do your homework before interacting with your retail accounts. Know who the beer buyer is, how often they purchase beer, the best day to contact them to discuss sales, and what kind of end consumer they are servicing in their business. You need to clearly identify your buyer’s needs for their particular business model so that you can suggest products that benefit their end consumers.
  • Communicate often and with purpose. Identify the way your buyers prefer to communicate and create a schedule for yourself to interact with your accounts on their preferred sales or product order days. Have a goal in mind for every conversation based on the value that you can add to the relationship. Clarify what you need to accomplish with your touchpoint, whether that is a purchase order, relaying price details or providing inventory updates from your brewery. Make sure to define value-driven next steps after every touchpoint to ensure you are moving your buyer forward through their purchase journey.
  • Employ active listening. This technique can be applied in person or remotely, so it’s a great skill overall to have as a brewery salesperson. Active listening is a proactive form of observation and communication that includes: taking a backseat in the dialogue and letting your buyer dictate the conversation, intentionally pausing before your responses, asking abundant questions along the way for clarification, repeating key points to demonstrate understanding, and summarizing the conversation before the end of the sales call.
  • Get organized. If you are not using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool in your current sales efforts, now is the time to do so. CRM tools are affordable software solutions that will help you keep all your account contacts in one place, track interactions with your buyers, curate notes about your sales calls, document buyer preferences, record sales data and order history, and allow you to schedule sales calls in advance with integrated calendar features.
  • And finally, just because you are not selling beer in person, does not mean you can drop the ball on brand support. Now is the time to 10X your brand advocacy activities. Use technology and logistics to your advantage. Email a brand training video to your account, so that their staff will know how to properly sell your products to end consumers. Snail mail brewery swag, signage, shelf talkers or display enhancements directly to accounts. Schedule beer tastings in advance to show your commitment to supporting your brands. Arrange beer samples to be delivered to that account through your distributor sales representative or wholesale personnel. And make sure you follow up accordingly in all situations. Buyer relationships at a time like this are more important than ever.

Outstanding customer service, exceptional brand support, effective communication, diligent organization, and strong buyer relationships are the keys to success when selling beer remotely.

If you want to learn more about how sales, marketing, and management skills can help you grow your craft brand, Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions offers training programs and customized coaching services for craft breweries that want to increase their beer sales, improve their marketing, effectively manage their teams, and create profitable relationships with their distributors. Convenient learning options like digital courses, hourly consulting services, and customized coaching programs make business skill training more accessible and affordable than ever. While we navigate these tough times, pricing for all training programs and services have been reduced by 50%, so that you can take advantage of this time to further your knowledge about the business side of our industry and come back stronger than ever. Head over to to learn more.

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