How to master field sales, with insights from high-performing reps

When I first started working in sales, I found picking up the phone pretty daunting so I’ve always admired the folks who head out into the trade and try to sell in person! 

Since I’ve been with Bowimi, I’ve become friends with some amazing field sales reps, so I asked them what it takes to be a high performing sales rep. (PS If you’re looking to hire and train reps, we have a guide all about that here.)

Be organised 

If you say you’ll bring samples on Tuesday, bring samples on Tuesday. If you drop the ball and don’t keep your promises it doesn’t just reflect badly on you, it reflects badly on the brand. One venue I know refuses to buy from a particular brewery simply because one of their reps was unreliable years ago when the manager was at a different pub! 

You’ll also want to ring ahead to make sure people are expecting you, especially when it’s a second or third meeting. This maximises your chances of sitting down with the right person and having a productive conversation. 

Max Jones from Perfect Ted makes a plan for busy periods, like lunchtime, and goes in just beforehand so he isn’t interrupting people and can get his products looking presentable before the rush. 

Be friendly. 

People buy from people, not companies; so take the time to introduce yourself and get to know the people you’re selling to. George Demetriou from Longshot, likes to start with a handshake and introduction, compliment their shop and ask more about their business. 

Think about how you can help their business: you’re not the only salesperson they’ll have seen this week, so be empathetic and  bring something unique to the table.

Even if you don’t see the person you need to, you’re wasting your time if you don’t at least say hello to the staff and gain some information that you can deploy later on in the process. 

Be creative

Where you’ll really win is by collaborating with locations. Do whatever it takes to breathe the location, understand what makes it unique and what their customers will be delighted by. 

Where are the best places to put your brand so that end customers’ eyes land on your product first? Is it fridge placement, menus or staff recommendations that will sell your product in store? 

Do you need to sit in a deli for the entire lunch hour to see how customers move through the location? Make a note of which shelves and products so you can place yourself in the best places for that venue.


Don’t fret too much. There aren’t any super slick tricks or shortcuts to being successful in this role. Will Cary from Living Things Soda says “the real challenge is just turning up, being consistent, and seeing things through, admittedly this is harder than it sounds sometimes.”

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