Welcome to a new occasional feature on the blog! We’ve got plenty of friends striving away at the drinks industry’s coalface, so we thought we’d give them the opportunity to tell us (anonymously) what they’re really thinking.  We’re kicking off with a Drinks Buyer’s guide for prospective salespeople, so if you’re trying to get a listing, here’s what to do – along with some definite no-nos…

CoalfaceSome people like surprises, and are charmed by an encounter with a stranger – the very idea of the unknown exhilarates them. In my view, those people are not best placed to act as Buyers for quality-focused merchants. 

The world does not stand still, with both worthwhile opportunities and cesspools of pointlessness hurtling towards us from all directions. The buyer’s great challenge is to differentiate between the two as swiftly as possible – although an even greater challenge can be admitting when you mistook the latter for the former.

For strangers desirous of presenting buyers with opportunities, therefore, I posit the following three pertinent maxims:

First, and most crucial, is the need to make an appointment. If you wish you and your products to be treated with the respect you believe you deserve, do not under any circumstances assume that I’d be so bored by whatever it is that I’m doing that I’d prostrate myself open-walleted and buy all your stock out of gratitude for the diversion. 

Even if you do happen to beard me in my den at an idle moment (pah!), I’m unlikely to be minded to afford your wares the attention and consideration you wish them to receive. More than once I’ve nearly said no to very worthwhile opportunities because I wasn’t in the right mindframe, and have only realised their value upon a more considered inspection somewhere down the road. 

It’s a very human failing, but I am human, so are you (hopefully) and so are my customers and my bosses.  Fundamentally, it’s their money that you want, so let’s all work within the parameters of being human, which – let me be clear – means making an appointment. Thanks.

Secondly, actually have a product that I can try. The stuff I deal in takes time to make, so it is entirely understandable when people contact me before their stock is actually available, especially if those people have a history of producing quality things that interest me. 

However, if that’s not the case and all you have is a beautifully-manicured powerpoint presentation espousing your finely-crafted brand premise and showing off the work of your exquisitely expensive design consultant, then sadly it’s unlikely I’m going to be placing an order. 

Don’t get me wrong, I welcome constructive conversations with people embarking on projects that might one day be fascinating, but they should be couched as such rather than as a sales pitch. Let’s be friends for now and see where it takes us… 

Thirdly, a sincere and heartfelt plea from a tired soul: don’t try to sell me any more Gin. This applies particularly to those falling foul of the second point above. You are too late. You’re behind the curve, and whilst I wish you luck in finding success somewhere, it will not be with me. 

I will buy and sell plenty more gin as this glorious boom continues, but if I don’t know you (or your products) already, my advice to you is to find the next wave to surf as there’s an awful lot of money to be made by the people who lead that charge, whatever it may be. 

In short, make an appointment, send or bring me some samples and, for the love of all the massed deities, don’t try to sell me any more of that silly juniper nonsense.