You’ll Never Know.

rockSo what do you do, just jump back in after the tragedy in Paris?  With our thoughts and prayers to those killed and injured, yes – as I said we go on.

What do you do when the shop owner just won’t pick up any of your cigars?  You go back and back and back and nothing appeals to the owner because he or she has no assurance that the cigar being considered is going to sell.  News flash!  There are no guarantees in business sales – especially the cigar business.  It’s a nonsensical conundrum.  I’ll buy it if I know it will sell.  How silly.  How absolutely infantile a philosophy that is.  It’s like me saying to the manufacturer, “Sure I’ll rep your brand if you can promise me it’ll sell.”

But what do I do?  I’m the cigar broker.  I do represent excellent products.  I should be able to override that objection and close that sale!  (Sounds like a national sales manager.)  Well, that’s the bane of sales in general and cigar sales specifically.  There’s no absolute assurance that any cigar will sell, especially a boutique cigar.  Of course, if the owner did take it and place it in the humidor and never mention it or direct the guys to it, it would probably just sit there.  It’s up to the owner to bring the new cigar to the attention of the consumer.  Sure, I can hold an informal event – I can give away free cigars.  But after my actions, if the owner doesn’t continue the momentum for a bit, the consumer may just go back to what he’s used to smoking and the owner can then have the pleasure when we meet again of saying with a smirk, “See, I told you so.”

stubborn childI’ve heard this question asked by owners, (I’ll be bold, John Bell, are you listening?) “What’s my motivation to sell your cigar?”  How about it’s a damn good smoke!  How about making money?    How about turning someone on to something different?  How about introducing the customer to a new brand that has potential, he or she just needs to be nudged a bit.  Purchasing this new cigar is not a mortgage payment.  What’s the worst that can happen – it isn’t to his or her taste.  That’s it.  The world ends?

Oh, but the stick doesn’t appeal to his customers.  Now I’m stuck with them, intones the owner.  Only if you want to be saddled with them my friend.   It’s called retail sales and intertwined within that complex, yet so simple notion is that the shop owner is simply trying to give the smoker pleasure.  He’s just trying to get his investment back.  Hell, your customer can get every “guaranteed” cigar on the internet save for the ones I carry.  Why not use that to your advantage?  It’s the exclusivity of the product that’s attractive.  Not everyone has it!  Try it!  Jump in and gamble.

But you see, I won’t force a sale – never have, never will, that’s just not my style.  If you want to lose out on potential sales, that’s your choice.  But why not have a little fun instead of just being a huge vending machine.  The customer walks into the humidor, comes out with the same old cigar, puts the money or CC on the counter and the sale is made.  How fun was that?  B-o-r-i-n-g.  Come on!  Be a tobacconist.  Take a slide down the tobacco toboggan and splash into a new refreshing experience.  The day will be shorter and the job of retail will be more exciting.  But then, if being a vending machine is all the owner wants – he’s got it.  And I’ll be back.


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