Tom Fox on Selling in This New Reality

Dear Client:

This week, industry “sales” guru Tom Fox, now of Fox Sales Coaching, presented a virtual Craft Brewers Conference seminar dubbed “Developing Selling Skills.” 

Among his most timely advice? How to sell to the on-premise again, when it slowly starts opening up, after weeks or months of lost revenue. That question actually came from the audience. 

Tom’s advice? Go slow, and be empathetic. 

“Empathy is going to be key,” he said. “And I think patience is going to be key. We don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, but [the on premise] likely could look like 30%, 40%, 50% capacity, just based on social distancing. So, they’re going to be way off [where] they were last year and certainly way off versus what they would want to be from a goal standpoint. And many of them aren’t going to make it. 

“So I think you’ve really got to be playing the long game on this, and slow playing it, to a certain extent. They’re going to need your help. Whatever people they do get in, they’re going to need as much revenue from those people as they can possibly get. But there’s going to be a lot of sales people going in full bore, aggressive. And that approach is going to get them nowhere. Matter of fact, it’ll get them out the door. They will not be successful.”

So: “We should be the kings and queens of acknowledging people. Just being able to kind of nod our head and say, ‘Boy, I can only imagine what you’re going through. I’m so sorry. I’m very hopeful that as you get going again, that you can start to get some business picked back up and what you want to get accomplished can happen.’

“And their consumers are going to have probably not a ton of disposable income. But whatever they have, those operators are going to need ideas that can maximize whatever revenue they can get, whatever profit they can get, whatever check size averages they can get. But we got to go slow. And we got to have tons of empathy. 

“I don’t envy any of the teams out there selling to these operators. They’re going to be hurting, no doubt.”


Hoping for more help in the next round of legislative relief that Congress is working on, the Brewers Association is organizing a “Day of Action” tomorrow to petition lawmakers for particular items — including several areas of tax relief. 

Tomorrow, the BA will send members a customizable “Contact Congress” form that they are urged to use to “share [their] stories and encourage Congress to support small and independent breweries across the country.”

The BA, along with the Beer Institute and other beverage trade orgs like the Distilled Spirits council sent a letter to Congress yesterday with specific asks for the new round of relief, to include: 

  • A new Workforce Stabilization Fund for the hospitality and travel sectors that “will allow breweries to keep workers employed, maintain operations, and meet financial obligations.”
  • Suspension of all federal excise tax obligations on domestic and imported alcohol products, effective January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. And, again, making permanent the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act.
  • More funding to support the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
  • Encouraging the Administration to”work with our trading partners” to suspend tariffs that impact alcohol producers/supply chain.
  • Temporary tax incentives that encourage consumers to return to on-premise dining and drinking establishments (eventually).

The BA, along with Beer Institute and NBWA, is also working on a beer-specific tax credit for “unmerchantable beer,” which would apply against all federal taxes, “and would provide immediate and badly needed liquidity to breweries.”

This provision is not included in the form mentioned above, but breweries can add it to a customizable email.

Until tomorrow,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry 

“Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.” – Socrates

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-

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