No matter how great your brand is, building a spirits company requires a lot of time out in the field, spreading our message to all of those involved with its success. With Tanteo, this is a simple message: Tanteo makes it easy to spice up your margarita. I say this message 25 times a day when out in the field, working with our distributor partners and visiting great bars, restaurants, and spirit retailers across the country. I have learned a few things spreading this message, and I wanted to share some of them below.
Always Add Value
Every time I step into a bar, restaurant, or liquor store, I look for ways to add value to all of those involved: consumers drinking Tanteo Tequila, bartenders making cocktails, store owners selling bottles, and our distributor partners delivering the brand across the country. Each of these parties has a different experience with the brand and letting them know the reasons why Tanteo (or any spirit brand) can help them do their jobs better, helps sell tequila and gets people to love your brand.
We developed the Tanteo Brand focusing on the consumer first. We created Tanteo to be a delicious, handcrafted product that serves as the perfect way to spice up your margarita. There are too many great brands out there trying to resonate with consumers using an inferior product. Consumers have to love your brand to have any chance of selling it.
However, this is just the start. There are plenty of great tasting spirits that have failed because they did not think things through. At Tanteo, we want to make the brand not just a consumer favorite, but also something that adds value to those pouring it. We created the Tanteo bottle with the bartender in mind, designing the Tanteo neck to fit a speed pourer. We made the bottle narrow enough to fit in a bar well and created ridges on the neck, so it is easy to grab. We also sought to solve a problem that existed behind the bar – making it easy to make jalapeño margaritas consistently and efficiently.
The combination of a great product and showing bartenders how it may make them better at their profession is nothing if the product is not available at local bars or liquor stores. We also need to add value to the person responsible for actually buying Tanteo, and often times this takes a more elaborate proposition beyond straight quality. Presenting to bar or liquor store owners that there is a demand for spicy cocktails, that we can sell it to them for a fair price, and showing that they currently have nothing like it gets orders out. If any of these components are left out, you are no longer helping the owner out.
Regardless, this is all for nothing if we don’t add value to our distributor partners who help close the deal and make sure the bottles of Tanteo are safely distributed across the country. We need to help our distributors sell more and give them a unique product that adds value to all our other stakeholders, ensuring we are also helping them out.
In short, think things through and give more than you take. Adding value to all of your customers will differentiate yourself, and you will make a lot of friends across the way!
Never Say No, At Least At First
As a small brand, people often assume that we cannot compete with some of the big integrated spirits brands that own the majority of brands behind the back bar. With the big brands competing for a position on the cocktail menu at national and regional account, too often the cocktail menus look the same. While the big guys have deeper pocketbooks than we do, being small gives Tanteo the opportunity to do a whole lot (like customer service) better than bigger companies. Getting in the door is the most important thing when trying to make a sale. If you have to fake it until you make it, so be it.
This does not mean that you have to do whatever the customer asks. There are tons of really bad decisions that spirits salespeople have made to make a sale. I have seen salespeople chase numbers in our business and do all sorts of silly things that have ended up hurting the brands equity and wasting money. Say yes to getting in the door and make your presentation, but you cannot close every deal. It’s important to close deals that actually move your business forward.
Never Pre-Judge, But Do Pre-Plan
I have been in a lot of bars and gone on lots of work-withs. At this point, I think I know where Tanteo works. Tanteo works where bartenders and customers appreciate quality, but don’t want to wait 10 minutes to get their cocktail. However, I am constantly surprised at where Tanteo has thrived. I have seen Tanteo do very well not only in top Mexican accounts, but also Asian, Barbecue, French Bistros, Italian, Peruvian, Tiki bars, and Burger Joints. Furthermore, I have walked into bars where I was told the buyer never changed anything, was a tequila “purest” (whatever that means), or hated salesman… I have walked out of those bars making new friends and successful sales.
This is not a substitute for shotgunning it and selling without a plan. Regardless of the outliers, most of Tanteo’s business comes from a particular type of account – high-end restaurants and cocktail lounges. Smart selling means we spend more time on these and focus our attention on presenting Tanteo’s merits where we know we can be successful. Big iconic brands want to be everywhere and Tanteo does as well. Nevertheless, this happens by mostly focusing on growing the business with the potential top accounts first.
Well... that was a long post for only 3 tips! Stay tuned for next week when I post part two of tips to being a great liquor salesperson.
Para La Buena Vida,