Growing Your Distribution Business: Core Principles That Will Get You There

Well, thank you all for being here. And I
like to thank Sid and his team for inviting me to talk to you. We did get our start in
the retail business many years ago in the early 1970s. So I think we really uniquely
suited to speak to you today about the trials and tribulations about how do you grow your
business? How does, I’m speaking for the New York, New Jersey market? How do you build
your business? How do you grow in such a difficult environment, and it is difficult, but there
are a lot of ways to do it. And I think over the years, our company is
in business about 20 years, we’ve managed to figure out ways to navigate some of those
waters. And I don’t have a lot of time today to talk
to you, I could go on for hours. But I hope to give you just a few points of what we’ve
done to be successful over the last 20 years. And the one thing, the one thing that I think
is the most important aspect, when you’re meeting with people when you’re talking to
people, because we get samples sent to us every day, our office is full of samples.
And we meet with suppliers all the time. And the one thing that everyone has to keep
in mind, that was taught to me many, many years ago by some, really senior executives
in our industry. And here’s, here’s the secret. People want to do business with people they
can make money with, at the end of the day, that’s what it takes.
You can have great meetings, you can have great wines, you can have a beautiful vineyard,
but at the end of the day, you have to show people that they can make money with you,
you’ll go out for nice lunches, and great dinners, and we’re invited all over the world
were invited to the most beautiful wineries. But most of those invitations, we declined,
because if we can’t see an opportunity to make money with somebody, then there’s really
no purpose of moving forward. So that’s really the secret. We could talk
about anything all day long. If you can, somebody that you can make money with them, then you
really a non starter. So please that’s something that we always look at when meeting with people.
In our side of our business, and how we’ve built our business, there’s two ways to grow
a business, I you do you want to grow your business vertically or horizontally. And what
do I mean by that? So some people think the bigger the company, the bigger the portfolio?
Well, we don’t look at our business that way. New York is literally a graveyard of distributors
that have tried to make it and have not made it and how do you make it what do we do, we’re
looking to grow vertical with our suppliers, we’re not looking to just continually to add
redundancy to our portfolio and grow vertically. So what happens is a lot of people, what they’ll
do is they’ll take on products, the selling is always great, you see a spike up, everybody’s
happy, things are great, then they go to their friends, then it sort of narrows down, then
it then it slows down because you have to start seeing the sale fail.
So what’s so important, I have some slides that will go through in a few minutes to kind
of reinforce some of this stuff. I’ll try to align yourself with the distributor that’s
looking to grow vertical, not somebody who’s looking for redundancy. So that’s our model.
We don’t have the biggest book in New York, but not by a long shot but what we’ve managed
to do is grow our business with our suppliers this way. So, not every brand we take on is
going to be a skyscraper. There are some are just four floor level buildings. But it depends
upon what your goals are. But very important for us is not to just take on a product, see
it spike, then it levels off, then you take on another product, and you see it spike in
a levels off. And that’s you revenue. All revenue comes from going vertical. And
a lot of that has to do with partnering up with amazing suppliers that support us, it’s
very important to have suppliers that support you, and are willing to work with you, to
do what’s necessary to grow brands in a very very difficult environment where a lot of
your customers are not looking for anything right now.
So again, it’s so important to show your customers that they can make money with you. But it’s
also important that you align yourself with distributors who are not going to, continuously
just take on brands, and not grow vertically. A word that everybody throws around, but it’s
very important. I think it’s worth mentioning because we certainly had to experience this
over 20 years in business is perseverance. You got to be able to persevere. I mean, it’s
a tough business. People think it’s a glamorous business. I
have a lot of friends that say Oh, you’re in the wine and spirits business, they think
it’s awesome. Listen, there’s a lot of perseverance that goes into making this work. And I can’t
stress that enough. I mean, people ask me all the time, how do you do it? How do you
stay in business? Have you navigated the waters in New York, for so long and a lot of that
does have to do with, with perseverance. Also the ability to quickly adapt. I mean,
we’re a company that can change on a dime. I mean, we’re a family business or a medium
sized company, you have to be able to adapt. New York is a seriously changing market right
now, New Jersey is a great market for us. We open that up a couple years ago, we’re
doing great there, but New York is changing, a lot of things happening in New York, can
you adapt? Can you change? Can you look ahead, we are a company that is always looking ahead,
we’re looking forward, not necessarily for the next new great thing to come along. But
who are your suppliers? How you interact with them, partnering with them, making sure that
they’re well taken care of, focusing on them. But looking ahead, making sure that what you’re
doing is working. I mean, you have to be paying attention to that because your competitors
are. And so it’s really like when I talk to my
team, for our company, a lot of people are looking, we recently actually started changing
direction with our company and started getting into more fine wines, better wines, we were
always known for a fast movers stack and racom sock and company.
We’ve taken on a lot of really amazing, great products. But when we talk about change, and
we talk about growth, some people want to see, I sort of compared to turning an ocean
liner versus a speedboat, for our company, it’s more like turning an ocean liner, you
the router, but it takes a mile for the boat start to turn you don’t really see the effects
of it for a while. So what people like most people looking for
is the effects right away. I wouldn’t do that, that’s not us. It’s not a speedboat. It’s
an ocean liner. So how do you grow your company? How do you do that? I mean, all of these things
that I’m talking about as far as ability to adapt forward looking, obviously, perseverance,
aligning yourself with a company that grows vertical rather than horizontal.
Those are things that we look at every day as a company, as far as, how are we doing?
We’re always looking at our company as a startup every day, we don’t look at our company of
where we are from 20 years from where we started, we always break it back down. And we look
at it and say what if we had a start today? What would we need to do? And so that’s very
important, and I think as far as how we’ve been able to grow our company.
Also very important, something that’s really interesting. In our company, we use a lot
of analogies, a lot of sports analogies, I don’t know if any of you ever saw the movie,
‘Any Given Sunday’? And in that movie, Al Pacino gives a speech to his team. They’re
about to play, I think what’s the equivalent of Super Bowl, but he says something that’s
very interesting. And he says “football is a game of inches,
the margin for error is so small, one half step too late or too early, you don’t quite
make it, one half second too fast or too slow, you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need
are everywhere around us.” How does that apply to our industry? Well,
the accounts are everywhere around us. If you walk outside right now, you would see
5000 restaurants that you would think a distributor could go in and talk to. So you need to fight
for every inch. And you have to have that mindset. It’s not about the big drops. It’s
not about only going into the big store, it’s how do you get the placements? How do you
get that done? The floor stacks the wines by the glass, it takes a team to fight for
your business. I rely very much on my team. I mean, they’re
great people. But at the end of the day, when you add up all those inches, when you add
up all the wines by the glass, the one stack, the two stack, the five k stacking, maybe
you got in a store, when you add up all of those by the glasses, floor stacking, placements,
that’s what makes a difference between winning and losing. And that’s what we look for in
our company. We’re not looking for home runs all the time,
we’re looking for inches. So we also talk about goal versus result in our company as
far as how we growing our company. So again, using a sports analogy, there’s a wide receiver
that wants to say he says, Well, I want to make I want to catch 30 passes this season.
That’s not a goal. That’s a result. And when we talk about to our team and our sales people,
the goal is to do the process every day, the same day, correctly.
What does that mean? It means making sure you have the right samples in your bag for
the route that you’re running for the day. It means making sure that you have the sale
sheets with you, knowing your stuff, knowing the backstory, knowing who you presenting
today, knowing the history of the brands, knowing the story behind the brands, I mean,
that’s incredibly important. That’s the goal, the result is the sale. So that wide receiver,
what he is looking for is not the goal of catching the passes, it’s the result of running
his routes every day, and practicing and knowing where he’s got to be at the right time. That’s
the result. And so we look at results. And our company,
we don’t talk about goals, we don’t give out goals, we give out results. We say to our
team, are you doing the goals, what’s necessary to achieve the result that you’re looking
for. So it’s very important to distinguish between what a goal is and what a result is.
The other thing I have to talk about before I get to the slides real quickly is your mindset.
I mean, it’s unbelievably important to have the right mindset in our industry and what
we’re doing here. I’ve seen a lot of my competitors, and I’m friends with a lot of my competitors
as well. I mean, it’s a tough industry, you have to be resilient, I go back to perseverance,
part of how you grow your company, really, everybody has great brands, there’s a lot
of great wines out there. There’s a lot of great labels, there’s a lot of people trying
to sell wine, but you have to have the right mindset, you have to really believe that you
can get there. That’s absolutely critical. So those are just a few of the things that
we talked about in our company in our sales meetings and with suppliers and having supplier
meetings. So we started our business with no brands,
zero, I was standing on the corner of I think it was Fifth Avenue, and somewhere with my
brother, my family’s in the retail business did a lot of interesting things in our careers.
And we started with nothing. Nobody gave us anything, nobody gave us any money. Nobody
gave us any brands, we started calling people talking to people. And little by little people
started to trust us and believe in us. And at the end of the day, the one thing that
I say to all my suppliers and to my team is you have to do what you say you’re going to
do, you have to do what you say you’re going to do.
So we started our business about 20 years ago, we have worked in all three tiers of
the industry, we’ve been importers, we sold to the big national distributors, Fedway all
the big guys, we’ve had them. I love the distribution business, because I love being able to go
out to my customer and talk directly with them whether they buy something or not. I
like being able to interact with my customer, I don’t want to go through a big giant sales
team and a salesperson who has agendas that they’re not telling me about. And they’re
yesing me, and then I have to go out and do the work myself anyway.
So we really love the distribution business and learning from that and experiencing that
as an importer, we make sure that our suppliers are treated correctly in that respect. So
it’s very important supplier relationships, treating people the right way. Again these
are magical statements, there’s nothing magical about it, it’s just having the right mindset,
it’s, interacting with people the right way. Growth
Organic first acquisition I mean, that’s it. The big guys that we all
read about they growing through acquisition, They are not looking to build a brand from
zero from no cases, they just go out and they acquire X amount case billion dollar brand.
And all of a sudden they add a billion dollars to their revenue, they just grow. So how do
we grow, we grow organically. And I’m sure everybody in this room understands that it’s
case by case placement by placement, very tough. But again, one thing about our company
and and us is, we know how to do it. And so we love it, we love building brands, we love
the challenge of it, we’re not afraid to do that. But again, growth is really going to
come I think for people like us organically. And that’s okay. I just wanted to put this,
statistics are important. But if you look at where the business is being done, most
of its being done off premise you could see it right there.
So every supplier we meet with, can you get me into restaurants, can you get me here,
can you, you know, I want to be in this restaurant, I want to be in that restaurant, and that’s
fair. And that’s great. But at the end of the day, if you’re not selling if you’re not
in the retail businesses, the shows, if you’re not selling the stores, it’s where the volume
is, if you’re not moving cases. So we talked to our suppliers, and we say
do you want to move cases? Or do you want to be on a wine list and sit there for three
to four years before you get another order, because it’s either you get the wine by the
glass, or you’re on the wine list. And we’re very big wine by the glass company because
we our price points vary from $3 a bottle up to $2,000 a case.
So we’re very strong, in both sides. But look, the only people that are going to get anybody
real, you know, true on premise distribution is going to be about major distributor. And
you’re lucky if you get attention from those guys. And they’re all good companies, but
they have to do what they have to do for the multinational. So, again, a lot of the businesses
done, how do you grow your company, look, the numbers right there, show it, it’s you
got to be in the stores, you got to be stacked, you got to be shown, you gotta have the right
price point. And you got to give margin to your customers, our company is known for giving
very long margin to our customers. So we talk about how do you win the race,
right? I mean, if you look at a Ferrari beautiful car, beautiful body, right. But if you have
a Pinto engine under that body, you’re not going to win the race, you might have a good
great looking package. And you might have great wine, just like the Ferrari looks good,
but doesn’t have the firepower, the engine to move the wine and how do you move the wine,
you have to give your customers a reason to do business with you, again, make money with
you. So important. Choosing the Right Supplier Relationships
I can’t stress that enough. If you if you want to grow your business, you have to align
yourself with the right suppliers, us being a family medium sized company, and wanting
to stay that way. By the way. We’ve represented some of the largest companies in the market,
and build brands, loss brands. If you don’t sit down with your suppliers,
and if you don’t sit down with your customers, and you don’t talk about or have an understanding
of what their needs are before you get started, then that is inevitably going to lead to a
problem. Because most suppliers and distributors yes each other to death. And then at the end
of the day, somebody’s not happy? Well, you are not going to grow your business that way,
you have to know what you think supplier is looking for before you take on the product.
Is that a good fit for you? These are questions to grow your business
that if you’re not asking yourself, it just going to blow up in your face. That’s all
I could say. Can you give the products attention?
Don’t get caught up in the maybe it’s a winner. I mean, that’s a big one. I can’t tell you
how many people we meet with all the time, really good sales, people that sit down with
us, show us their brands, everybody’s afraid to pass up on something, it’s very difficult
for a distributor in our market, with customers that have very limited capital, it’s a heavy
COD market, they’re very careful of what products they’re investing into, you can’t get caught
up with well, maybe it’ll be a winner. It may be it will be. And maybe it won’t. But
you have to be able to align yourself with suppliers that understand your business.
And for us, we see a lot of great products. But if we’re not comfortable with the people
behind the brand, if we don’t get along, if we don’t feel that there’s a connection or
relationship, it’s not something we would want to get involved with.
Up knowing your company’s capabilities. Very important. I mean, when we started our
company, as I said, we were a fast mover stacky seller type company, we’ve evolved into more
of a fine wine company. And in doing that, the market sort of was a little shocked that
the change of direction that we took our company, and then that goes back to being able to quickly
adapt. We looked at the market, and we saw a lot
of people coming in, fine wine companies that were owned by major major distributors with
phenomenal relationships around the country. But we said, why can’t we do it? So we went
out, we hired some people that were started some of the best fine wine companies in New
York, we took some brands from competitors that were very very serious products in the
marketplace that opened a lot of doors for us. But the main thing is, is know your company’s
capability, some of our sales, people didn’t feel comfortable with the direction we were
heading in, but we knew we had to head in that direction.
Can you achieve success? And what does success look like?
What does it look like to you? Is it is it, you know, 100 million dollar company? Is it
10,000 cases, 5000 cases in each brand? What does success look like to you, you have to
define that, you have to define what your growth is, where you want to be, where you
want to head, what type of company you want to be. And we saw in the recent past that,
if we stayed on the course that we were, we didn’t see a bright future for our company,
we had to change direction. And we did. And now we have a lot of phenomenal suppliers
wanting to talk to us, because we’re sort of that new kid on the block. As far as the
fine wine company side of the business is concerned, but we haven’t lost our identity
either. And I’m never going to give up our fast Movers.
We own a brand that we build from nothing, our first store, and we negotiated incredibly
hard with the supplier. First Order was 300 cases, I get a call from
the supplier. He says, Larry, you know, I gave you this amazing price, like what are
you doing? You know, I mean, I 300 cases. And I said, let me do what I need to do, just
do it my way. And trust me, Well, today we do about 70,000 cases with that supplier.
So that’s a relationship that goes back to 20 years.
So again, supplier relationships, very important, knowing who you’re doing business with paying
attention, focusing on your suppliers, very, very important. I mean, your suppliers, they’re
your children. Without the brands, you don’t have anything. So you have to make sure you
taking care of your suppliers. And that’s why we don’t want to get too big. And that’s
why we don’t want to have redundancy. And that’s why we don’t take on everything that
comes our way because we want to grow vertical, not horizontal. Salespeople customers
The last ones really the most important because if you add it all up, it’s supplier plus salesman
plus customer, that equals growth. Without all three of those working together, you’re
not going to grow your business, your sales people have to buy into what you’re doing.
And that’s your job as a leader to really show them that. Your supplier relationships
have to be there and you have ups and downs. And believe me, not every day is rosy, but
you have to be able to talk to your supplier and everything can be well screw you screw
you and we go our separate ways. I mean, we sit we argue with our suppliers all the time,
we’re not afraid to tell them where it’s at. And they’re not afraid to tell us where it’s
at. But you have to be able to do is to say, maybe you’re right, and we’ll do it your way.
So that’s something that we’re very open to doing with our suppliers and and that’s what
fosters relationships. Again, it’s all about the relationships. But if you don’t have all
three of those, I can tell you right now, after 20 years in business, if your sales
people aren’t buying into what you’re doing, if your supplier isn’t buying into what you’re
doing, if your customer isn’t buying into what you’re doing, you don’t have any growth. Leadership
So in our company, people know my brother and I, we’ve been out seeing customers, we
still see customers, we have customers that want to only do business with us. In our company,
we lead from the front, we believe that if I say to my salesperson, you have to do this,
or we need this done. They have to believe that I can do it myself. So we lead from the
front and our company. And I think if you want to grow your business, you have to be
able to lead from the front. There’s too many managers and too many people
in our industry that you know, they’re big and sitting in their office and telling people
what to do. But when you say take that hill, I mean, are you going to get shot? Because
if you’re asking me to do it, you better be out there with me. And I think that in growing
our company over the last 20 years, we’ve shown the people who work for us and our and
our people come back to us and say oh, I was at this store and that store and this account
that account and they remember you guys when you first started, so that that credibility
of leading from the front, I think is is so important if you want to grow your company.
And if you want to have your team follow you. You can’t do it all yourself. If you want
your team to follow you, you got to lead from the front.
I talked about the 7 11 syndrome in our company. What do I mean by that? So I sit and I talked
to my sales people and I say look, a lot of what we do, when you go out to see wine stores
and you hear, I don’t know but he knows it, I don’t need it. Nobody’s asking for me. You
hear everything. I don’t have enough room, there is an excuse I haven’t heard. I’m going
to give you a couple of sales pitches, some of the things that we talk about in our company.
And I say to my customer, are you a 7 11 or are you running a wine shop, because if you’re
running a 7 11, whichever direction I decided to go home, I can get a cup of coffee anywhere.
But at the end of the day, you’re a wine shop, and how do you develop a customer base.
If I’m going to get my cleaners one day, and I go your way, okay, so maybe I’ll stop and
I’ll get that bottle of whatever name brand is out there. And if I decide I have to go
another way, I get the same bottle, if I go left, what we try to do in our company in
growing our business, you have to be able to talk to your customer, you need that time.
So we try to tell our customers Look, if you’re going to be a 711, then you’re not going to
grow your business. And as a distributor, I’m not going to grow my business, we’re looking
for partnerships, we want to offer our customers products that when their customer comes in,
and they say hey, listen, I know you want to buy this, try this. And they try it. And
they say man, that’s a really good product. Look, we’re not going to have it everywhere,
because that’s not the business that we’re in. And so we try to tell our customers don’t
be 711, develop a market, develop a business. And that’s so important, I think and how we’ve
grown our business and how and that’s hard to do. I mean, you need a lot of time to talk
to your customers and to be able to get them to do that. But again, we’ve been in business
20 years, so people listen to us, you know, we have that ability. Mutual Fund.
Now this one’s very important, we talk a lot about this at our company. So if everybody
knows what a mutual fund is, right, it’s a whole bunch of stocks right? Together in a
fund that at the end of the month, at the end of the year, whatever those stocks did
up or down creates a value. And as you percentage up percentage down in a dollar amount. What is a wine shop
A wine shop is is not unlike a mutual fund, every product, every bottle in that store
returns a percentage on investment or return to the dollar amount. And a part of our sales
pitch, how we grew our company is we went out and we started talking about with our
with our salespeople, we said look, if you’re going to go in and you’re going to say wow,
you know, you want to try a great Cabernet, it’s amazing, you probably going to get no
because they’ll point to the wall and say I have about 12,000 Cabernet, I don’t need
one. But what you really want to do is you want to talk about how you’re going to add
value and why they should buy this product from you.
So if you think about it a wine shop is or mutual fund, every bottle, every product that
they scan, returns an investment. And what you want to say to your customers Look, I’m
asking you to take a look at our portfolio, take a look at our products don’t buy everyone
by for people like us, us. But at the end of the day, there’s products in your store
that are not returning the investment that you’d like, we think if you give us an opportunity
will add value and add to the bottom line of your company.
And so you have to sort of find ways to go in and talk to the customer not I don’t think
it makes sense a lot of times, sometimes I tell my sales people, don’t pull a bottle
of wine out of the bag so fast, you’re an investment advisor, they’re investing their
money with you is just as if they invest into a stock, are you going to return a certain
amount of money on their investment. So one of the things I tell my customers,
I said, Look, let me ask you a question. If I came to you, you didn’t know me and I said
I’ll give you 80% markup return on your investment in two months, would you take it? Everybody
says yes. We’ll have about three months. Sure. So if you bought 10 cases of wine for me,
and you put it on the floor, and it took you two to three months to turn that inventory,
let’s say it took you four months, which hopefully won’t if you’re behind it. Well, isn’t that
a great investment? Doesn’t that make sense? Because I don’t know anybody that wouldn’t
put their money into an investment that they could get that kind of return on their investment
in two, three or four months. So again, that all comes with supporting the
customer, the salesperson tastings, helping them creating credibility, but it’s really
about showing value. It really is. And the other thing that we do that I think is important,
I don’t know how much time I have left, but I’m just going to go through this with you.
I tell my customers take out a calculator, show it to them. So let’s agree that the average
or let’s just say for purpose of conversation, the average wine liquor store does a million
dollars a year, right. And again, a lot of its theatrics. So you take out the calculator,
and you show them and say a million dollars a year, what would be the average gross profit?
I don’t know 25% because spirits, they don’t make any money and wine, they make money and
lets use 25% is a fair gross profit. So what does that mean? It means that it’s
grossing a quarter of a million dollars a year and a quarter of a million dollars a
year they got to pay themselves pay the help pay the lights, pay the electric, pay the
rent, paid insurance, pay pay pay, how much is left? The question I asked my customers
leaving Wine and Spirits aside is you’re running your company. I don’t care if you’re the chairman
of Apple, I don’t care if you’re running American Express. How do you grow your bottom line
year after year? How you going to do that? Because you’re just fighting with all your
competitors on who’s got the lowest price? So how are you going to grow your business?
Now as someone who runs a company? Can you grow your bottom line? I mean, I’d say asking
10% 20% is pretty high. But can you grow your bottom line by two and a half percent? I mean,
two and a half percent, as a CEO of a company out if a wine shop, if a distributing company,
Apple? How do you can you grow your bottom line by two and a half percent? And how am
I going to do that? Well, you’re going to do that by saying, hey,
when your customer walks into the store, you’re going to try to say to them by this instead
of this, try this instead of that, just by product mix, not by spending money on advertising,
not by trying to even increase, grab one extra customer from a competitor. It’s all about
product mix. So at the end of the day, we say to our customer look, buy from us buy
from our competitors. But why is why is Costco and all the big box
stores doing private labels? Why are they selling brands that supposedly people don’t
know? Because a higher return on their investment, that’s what they’re looking for. You don’t
have to have your own brand Kirkland, I could sell you what’s the equivalent of a brand
that no one knows. But the juice is awesome. And your customer is going to come back, I
guarantee it. So at the end of the day, we go back to him
and we say look million dollars, well, let’s not even say two and a half percent, let’s
say 2%, can you grow your business by 2%? So what would that be? So a million dollars
times, let’s say 27%, again, that’s $270,000 return on your investment, you just made by
offering a customer this product instead of this product $20,000.
Now, I don’t know about you but if I saw 20,000, laying on the floor, I would pick it up. And
so that’s how we have managed our company over the last 20 years, we sell wines and
spirits, we sell really good quality, really good products. But at the end of the day,
what we are really and how I try to get my sales people to talk to our customers is you’re
really an investment advisor, you’re really trying to get people to invest with you and
show them a return on their money. And they are also the people that want to do business
with you. And that’s why we’ve grown our company over the years. And that’s why we just went
into New Jersey maybe two years ago, and have been unbelievably welcomed by some of the
biggest stores the best stores. Why? Because we’re showing them what I’m talking to you
about. So I hope I gave you a little insight. And
you know, the mindset of what, a medium size distribution company is looking for, we’re
always looking for good products, but it’s got to be the right fit. Again, it’s all about
showing people that you can make money with them. So I hope I gave you a little insight
and I and added some value today. And I really appreciate you listening. And of course, if
you do have any questions, I’m happy to take them. Thank you. Speaker 2
We also have a mic, someone will be running around. So I see one in the front. We’re gonna
run the mic to you right now. Speaker 3
Firstly, A plus to the presentation. Speaker 1
Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Speaker 3
Secondly, have you ever been a banker or in Finance? Speaker 1
No Speaker 3
I was a banker. That’s why I’m like wow, the connection is fantastic. Speaker 1
Thank you. Speaker 3
Thirdly, one theme I kept hearing you say was the word credibility, but you were saying
it in different ways. Last I was wondering if you could just talk about you talk about
given the retailer retailers margin, if you could just elaborate a little bit. Speaker 1
So look, all I could say is that when we talk to our suppliers, they’ll give us a price,
we work it backwards, obviously, we need, you know, our return on our investment. We
have overhead, just so you know, in our company, you know, we have salary, we pay health insurance,
we have 401k we match 401k, two weeks time off, I mean, it’s a serious position. So,
we have people that get up every day and need to work. So, we need to make our margin. But
when we talk to our suppliers, at the end of the day, they’re not advertising I mean,
it’s push pole, right? I mean, the brands that we represent, versus the brands that
the major distributors represent. They represent pole brands where the customer walks in, like
we are all consumers, there’s Coke or Pepsi and you just pull it off the shelf? Well,
in our industry in our side of the business, it’s push, you need to be able to get your
customers to push your brands, and what motivates them? Margin.
And so when we sit with our suppliers, we tell them look, work it backwards, we do a
competitive set, we look at who were competing against and either we explained to our our
suppliers, this is your investment of what you’re going to have to do to break into the
marketplace, we’re not asking you to spend money on advertising, we’re not asking you
to just take a shot, you know, everything’s tied to sales. If you give us if you give
not us for our pocket, if you give the retailer or the restaurant, the margin, then they going
to listen to you, they don’t want to sell your product versus somebody else’s.
And I’m going to tell you a real quick story and you could kick me off anytime if you know.
There was a retailer that just wouldn’t buy from us I mean just would not buy from us.
I mean, my salesperson would say to me I can’t get the first base of this guy and I said
fine let’s go we’re gonna go see the guy walk into the store, no one’s in the store, the
guys leaning against the post, goes I know you company I don’t need anything stop right
there. Like almost like don’t even get into the store. So I show my book and I’m going
to give it to you straight. He is this not the most insulting thing. He holds the book
up like this. And goes no I don’t need anything. I said Really? I said here’s the thing. I
said you know, I know you store, you are great store. I know you don’t obviously don’t want
to buy anything from us. I said but you know, I happen to be overstocked on Pino Grigio
Magnums, current vintage, and I got to sell them for like eight bucks a case. I figured
this is a way for me to break in come and see you maybe it’s goodwill, maybe want to
buy some. He goes, you have Pino Grigio for $8 a case? I said, Yeah. He says, well, what’s
that about? I said why don’t we talk a little bit.
So I’m going to give you the cliff notes version. Long story short, we got into conversation.
As you know, my family goes way back in the business. He knew my father, he never knew
this, ends up buying 100 cases of stuff from us. He says you don’t have those Pinot Grigio
mags do you? I said, No, I said, but you know what, next time, maybe if someone walks into
your store, give him five or 10 minutes to listen to what he has to say, because you
don’t know what you’re missing. And that’s the one thing I will tell you.
Anyone who calls me I’ll always take the call. I’ll always listen. And because I know what
it’s like to be on the other side, I know what it’s like when someone doesn’t want to
talk to you, or just blows you off for no apparent reason at all. And and another quick
story that we tell people is, there was a time when I think it was Rockefeller was having
dinner or lunch with somebody wanted to hire. And at the end of the lunch, he said, Man,
you’re terrific. You’re a great guy, I love you to death, but I can’t hire you. And the
guy says, Why can’t you hire me? You just said you love me? And the guy says, Well,
you know the soup you ordered? He says, Yeah, He goes, Well, you put salt in it before you
tasted it. And he said is that how you’re going to run my company? Are you going to
make decisions before you know what the facts are? So I can’t hire you.
We are not afraid to tell our customers that. I mean, if you’re not going to be willing
to listen, and you don’t know the facts, then shame on you as a business person. So those
are just a couple of things, how we talk to customers, we try to sort of take a different
tack on it. We try to bring it into a different level as far as financially I think that always
rings everybody’s bell. So again, you know, just some stories about how we grew our business.
Any other questions before I go? Okay, thank you Speaker 2
Larry, will you be here in the meeting area if anyone has any additional questions? Speaker 1
Sure I’ll hang around for a while. Thanks everybody. Great to meet you.

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