In my continuing attempt to become more organized (a gargantuan task to say the least), I thought it would be a good idea to write up a few extra blog posts to stay ahead. One of those blog posts would have been uploaded today, but then trafficgeddon happened this morning in Seattle. Holy shit was that amazingly horrible. For those of you outside of King County, a semi flipped over at 4:30 this morning underneath the convention center on I-5, blocking all five lanes. The traffic resulting from this netted five more accidents, including one on the express lanes that blocked three of the four lanes.
Take a moment to imagine the uptick in swearing and obscene gestures that is still occurring on the various roadways as people are stuck with commute times that quadrupled. Part of me is happy because I love swearing and enjoy a nice solid bird (that would be one not including a thumb being extended perpendicular to the middle finger, which is a little much in my opinion).
What didn’t make me happy was spending/wasting an hour in a car to travel just over a mile.
So how does this tie into sales?
Well, inefficiency is just part of the job when doing brewery sales. Unlike most desk jobs, making a schedule for daily tasks is almost an effort in futility. Sure we always make a route plan to try and stick to, but it usually gets thrown off around the second or third visit. Bob, the bar manager, is supposed to be in by 11, but doesn’t show up until noon. Lefonda, the restaurant owner, said to come by at 12:30, but now is with another sales rep and won’t be done until 1:15.
So what’s the solution? It’s two fold, remembering that your time is basically meaningless when compared to the people you are selling beer to, and to embrace flexibility. The first part is easy as soon as you see how many sales reps these poor people have to deal with on a daily basis. Make no mistake, sales people are the cockroaches of commerce; constantly scurrying in and out of accounts asking for business (most in brewery sales are also afraid of bright lights and outnumber humans at a similar ratio to the anthropods). Once you realize that asking accounts for time is quite a request, waiting an extra ten minutes for someone to attend to other matters doesn’t seem that unreasonable.
It is probably safe to say flexibility is vital to the vast majority of occupations, so having it while selling beer probably isn’t anything special. Nonetheless, it had to be mentioned because beer reps do it constantly.
You may be asking yourself, “what the hell is the point of his rambling?” If you knew me, you’d know there is rarely a point. In this instance, the point is that brewery sales can be maddening at times when you think of how much you wanted to get done, compared to what was actually accomplished (digging deeper, the self serving point is meant to rationalize to the bosses of the world that just because the visit summary only has eight stops on it, the sales rep worked as hard as the world would let them).
Finally, I would love to see Greg make a “win-win” out of getting stuck in traffic for an hour. If it has anything to do with a great opportunity for introspection or the chance to listen to your favorite singer, I have an extremely obscene gesture cued up and ready to present to him.