In today’s issue, I’ll go through the 4 most common issues why new drinks brands struggle to get sell-out. I'll show you my 5-step process to make your brand’s rotation in a bar go from 1 bottle to 1 case.

By adopting this process, you’ll make sure you have solid basics in place before scaling up your brand.

Unfortunately, most salespeople lack a pragmatic system. They hide behind their "trade connections" that only get them somewhere.

First thing: building a brand takes time so you will never get a silver bullet or a shortcut from me. It's about focusing on getting the basics right and creating a system to use long-term.

Most salespeople only focus on new distribution but lose existing customers. Hunting is useless without farming.

I’ve spent time analyzing the not-so-fancy details of the reasons why a brand sells or doesn’t:

Challenge 1: Not all bar staff knows they sell your brand. You sold it to the owner/manager. They probably haven’t informed their staff so your bottle gets lost among the others. How many times have you gone to a bar where you know you’re sold but the bar staff says not? Tip: the bottle is not finished. It’s either not opened yet or it’s half-full hiding somewhere.

Challenge 2: Your bottle/case may still be in the cellar. Yes, they got their order among their other bottles. The persons in charge don’t know the brand so they’ve put it somewhere in the back of the cellar. Nobody’s gonna miss that bottle if you don’t show up and tell them.

Challenge 3: Bar staff doesn’t care if nobody is reminding them. Nobody is gonna love you like your mum. The same happens with your brand. If you don’t care about it, they won’t. If after they got it, you don’t show up to remind them they bought it, it will stay forgotten in one of the first 4 out of 5 steps below:

  • bringing it up from the cellar (staying hidden)
  • placing it on the back bar (visible but sporadic brand pull)
  • briefing the full team about it (more chances of brand pull)
  • starting using it in cocktails (sporadic sell-out)
  • placing it on the cocktail menu (top visibility, you made it)

Very few brands manage to get to the 5th step without support from a salesperson.

Challenge 4: Your brand is not available at their preferred distributor. Most bars try to optimize their order fulfillment with a couple of distributors. If you are not with one of them, with time, they'll get annoyed about making a separate order. It doesn't have to be one of the big distributors but you have to make the re-ordering smooth if you want to scale up.

Here’s the 5-step process I follow to overcome the above challenges:

Step 1: Follow up when they receive the first bottle/case

Show up when they get the first order. Do it by phone, Instagram, better if in person but do it. That's the moment you show you care about them. They gave you trust. Make sure your bottle won't get forgotten. The more you do now, the more chances to climb the sell-out ladder (see Challenge 3 above)

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