While selling a delicious product you love and believe in, that is produced, created,marketed, and sold by people you adore, seems quite glamorous and amazing, it still is a job, which requires and contains its daily challenges, just like any other job.
A typical sales day or day in the field for me, is such an amalgamation of different personalities, experiences, Yes and NO answers, indifference, pencil writing, phone calling, emailing, taste testing, beer sampling and begging. At first, it was hard for me to turn this off during my evening time. I would stay up thinking about why that account didn’t like whatever beer, why so and so wouldn’t return my call, and why I couldn’t get a 3rd handle on over this brewery. It took me awhile to learn to not take the rejection personally, let it go at 5, 6 or 7 when I get home, and to realize that there are many things I can’t control in my job when I am dealing with hundreds of new people a week.
The first thing you have to swallow is your pride, your experiences that day, and hesitations you may have before you walk through their doors. When you walk into their establishment, your stuff doesn’t matter. Learning these lessons at first was difficult, and one of the biggest things I have learned so far, thanks to Ross and Greg exposing me to the big, bad world, is sometimes there are really bad days. One time, Ross even sent me into a daytime bikini club knowingly, just so I felt super awkward and got over it. ALERT, you will feel awkward, out of place, and even in the way, constantly. We are one of many suppliers and but a speck in their day. While Iron Horse is a huge part of my life, it is usually a very small or non existent part of theirs and we are the ones begging them to not forget us, and make us a larger part of their lives. It took me too long to realize the worst they can say is NO.
One day, I was sitting at a good account in Spokane and I felt someone sit at the bar stool next to me. Feeling slightly dejected that day and unimportant, I sipped my Irish Death to cap the day off, preparing to head back to Ellensburg in a couple hours, wrapping up my 3 day Spokane adventure. After introductions, I found out he was a huge motivational speaker for a multi-million dollar company, and what does he speak on, SALES STRATEGY. While I was sick of talking, I got more and more interested as he wouldn’t shutup, totally kidding, I enjoyed his long speech. A lot of stuff went in one ear and out the other since it had to do with apparel but I will remember one thing he told me. “Make it about them, not about you Regan.” Figure out what they want, what kind of customers they have, why they do or don’t like your product. Forget your intro speech, your nerves, your day, and find out about what they are looking for, or maybe don’t know they need yet. Then he said, “It’s not just learning how to sell Iron Horse, that’s easy because you love it, it’s learning how to sell anything.” I kinda thought, What the? Then I said my goodbyes and paid my tab, but the whole drive home those words resonated in my mind, and still do…….Make it all about them.