Lessons from the Bar: Applying Bartending Principles to Sales
Hello everyone, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Neil Patrick Rogers, author of the book “Bar Tips: Everything I Needed to Know in Sales I Learned Behind the Bar.” Neil has an impressive 27 years of bartending experience, and he shared some invaluable insights on how these lessons apply to sales.
First Impressions and Customer Relationships
Neil emphasized the importance of making a great first impression and understanding customers’ desires. He believes that being present and acknowledging customers’ existence is crucial in building relationships. He suggests practicing this by saying hello to everyone you meet, even outside of work.
Digital Communication and Response Times
Our conversation also touched on how digital communication has affected customer interactions. Neil stressed the need to be mindful of proper response times. He shared his surprise at how easily he got into the writing process for his book, reaching out to former colleagues to gather insights and ideas.
The Power of Organization
One of the chapters in Neil’s book is “The Most Organized Wins,” which emphasizes the importance of preparation and organization in sales. Neil shared an example from his experience working at a busy bar in Boston, where the bar was set up in a way that minimized movement and maximized efficiency.
Preparation and Time Management
Neil also discussed the importance of preparation and time management in sales. He shared his experience in the food business, where he had to navigate busy kitchens and gain the attention of chefs who were not interested in new suppliers. He mentioned the use of a binder to keep track of prices and specials, allowing him to have all the necessary information during sales meetings.
Neil highlighted the significance of situational awareness in sales. He drew parallels between observing customers in a bar and identifying leaders and potential issues in a boardroom. He mentioned the challenge of reading body language in virtual meetings but emphasized the importance of paying attention to the temperature of the room and the flow of conversation.
Positive Activity and Mindset
Neil introduced the concept of positive activity in growing a business. He shared how he discovered mindful behaviors and positive psychology during a challenging time in his life. By practicing gratitude, meditation, conscious acts of kindness, and physical movement, he found that his mindset shifted to a place of positivity, leading to increased creativity and productivity.
Business Development and Lead Generation
In terms of business development, Neil emphasized the need to identify potential buyers and craft a compelling benefit statement. He suggested creating seven touch campaigns for each group on your list. Neil advised not to be discouraged if someone doesn’t immediately respond to your outreach, as it takes time to get them into the sales process.
Staying Positive and Focused
Neil and I discussed the importance of staying positive and focused in sales. He shared an example of how his company lost a major client but was able to recover by sticking to their process. Despite the setback, they were able to make half of the lost revenue back.
The Power of Promotional Products
Before wrapping up, Neil briefly explained that his company has been in the swag business for 27 years, providing promotional items and giveaways. He believes that promotional products are a cost-effective advertising medium that can generate a high number of impressions. He notes that it is the only form of advertising that someone will thank you for.
In conclusion, I highly recommend checking out Neil’s book, “Bar Tips,” which shares valuable sales insights learned from his experience behind the bar. I want to thank Neil for sharing his wisdom and experiences with us. His insights are a testament to the fact that lessons can be learned from all walks of life and applied to our professional journeys.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.