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LeNell’s Ltd.



October 6, 2010

Do you really care how your customer’s day has been?
By LeNell Smothers

Back when my liquor store LeNell’s Ltd was open in Brooklyn, NY, my staff and I would make frequent jokes about the difference between a salesperson and an order taker. Often the level of unprofessionalism was highest among the big corporate distributor representatives who liked taking your order but not working for a sale. They seemed to think that you needed them and their product more than they needed you. Examples of reps exhibiting order taker behavior include things like talking to us in the store without removing sunglasses, leaving us schwag logo’d with products we had never ordered (aka cleaning out the trunk), mailing monthly deals that had nothing to do with any product we sold, and dropping a price book through the security gate when we were closed.

Back then, I got annoyed with lazy distributor reps who thought that making a sales call simply meant dropping off a price book. Then my fiancé Demián and I opened our bar Casa Cóctel in Baja California Sur, Mexico where something as simple as a price book and some product choice is warmly welcomed.

We got our liquor license through the grace of one of the major beer companies that owns quite a few licenses, knowing that this means we can only serve beers from that company’s portfolio. We were told we were not authorized to serve draft beer even after we offered to pay for all the equipment and to pick up the kegs ourselves. The reason we were given was that we were too small for the company to make money off of our draft service. We were also told we could only sell certain beers in the portfolio. It took several weeks of chasing before we were finally informed of what beer brands we could purchase and for what price. Continue Reading…