Foodservice marketing secrets from meat smoker salesman — revisited!

In September 2014, I posted a story about one of the simplest and most powerful marketing techniques I’ve experienced that would work brilliantly in the foodservice world.

Since then, I’ve heard that many company sales reps used the idea well before I mentioned it. That’s good to hear.  But I also know many reps still plod along with corporate-supplied PowerPoints and sell sheets as their primary sales tools.

But there’s more to this story from 15 months ago.

First, to recap, the idea revolved around a meat smoker salesman I met at a big box store.  He had a library of simple photos he took on his smartphone to show how easy it is to get amazing smoked ribs, chicken. burgers and the like from his pricey smoker.

I was impressed at how this enterprising rep created his homegrown photo presentation that was fun and effective at illustrating the benefits of the smoker.

However, what I didn’t mention in my original post is that I never bought the smoker!  I got busy and didn’t get back to the store before demo booth closed up.

Fast-forward to this past weekend.  Same store with me rushing through again to pick up a few supplies.  The smoker booth had returned!  Different sales guy.  Once again I start chatting with the new rep.

Lo-and-behold he starts into nearly an identical pitch — except his home-shot photos are on a tablet instead of a smartphone.  The pitch from rep #2 had the same passion and excitement as the first fellow I had met earlier.  Clearly, the idea of showing with pride actual real-world use of the product was in the company’s DNA — not an isolated example I experienced during my first conversation.

Beautiful stylized recipe shots are wonderful.  But nothing is more convincing than seeing genuine (dare I say “amateurish”) photos of a product being used in a realistic situation, hints on how to prep products and examples of the reps’ own recipes.  Home-grown photos add a level of credibility with a kitchen manager who knows things are rarely quite as pretty as a product brochure might suggest.

Oh, by the way, I bought the smoker this time.