This is a handbook from a front-line e-cigarette salesperson, which truly restores the author’s experience from joining the e-cigarette company in late July 2019 to today.
The author, Su Xiaowen, a native of Jiangsu Province, has full strength and flexibility. In order to seize the market in his hometown, he and his partners have to carry more than 20 kilograms of products every day and take 45,000 steps. More challenging is explaining to the owners of thousands of couple stores what e-cigarettes are, and putting this alternative to cigarettes in the most eye-catching position in small stores.
Two months later, the offline sales of SnowPlus jumped to the top of the industry in a city in Jiangsu, which ranked the top five in the sales of electronic cigarettes in the country. Su Xiaowen has to face the burden of his body, the disgust of the shopkeeper, the pressure of his performance and the turbulent public opinion every day.
On the eve of entry on July 21, 2019
I can’t sleep at home. On the other hand, Mr. Xiao is waiting for my answer. Tonight, I need to make a decision about whether to move from pod vape sales to a new brand of electronic cigarettes, SnowPlus.
My first exposure to disposable vapes was in 2018. At that time, this kind of one-off electronic cigarette was a new product, but the brand was not many, and the price was not high for smokers. Disposable vapes cost about 35-45 yuan. Especially through the circle of friends and offline promotion, although not earning much, but in my view is a good business.
But this year, things have changed. Several new e-cigarette brands are created every month. Sales entry barriers have become very low, tens of thousands of dollars can obtain an agent right. In order to make money, we have repeatedly lowered the selling price, whether it is a dollar or 50 cents, even if there is no profit, as long as we can sell goods.
So, for us, SnowPlus, Flow, RELX, these big brands of flip-change electronic cigarettes, are all coming to stir up the situation. When Mr. Xiao, who was the sales manager of SnowPlus, invited me, I even felt a little unacceptable. I felt that these brands disturbed the market balance of the original cigarettes.
But for the current situation of the industry, insiders will think more. That evening, Mr. Xiao talked a lot about the market situation and industry status of pod vapes. In this fast age, bullet-changing electronic cigarettes will become a trend with its convenience.
When I mentioned the brand of SnowPlus, he just gave me a cigarette and let me try it on my own. For most disposable vapes, the material selection and workmanship are very rough because they are thrown out immediately. Especially, the throat hit is a difficult height to reach. As a cartridge change pod, the technology has been adjusted a lot. The strong entrance of atomized vape juice brings a strong throat stimulation, almost the same as traditional cigarettes.
Then he told me about the sales model of SnowPlus. Compared with the blind expansion of many brands, no bottom line agent, the direction of SnowPlus is very clear: offline channels, deep cultivation of every offline store. At the same time, the sales channel of SnowPlus is different from that of other brands. While many brands are still looking at the channels in the electronic cigarette circle, SnowPlus has taken the lead in entering the traditional fast-moving consumer goods channels, such as TT channels for stores and wholesales, CVS channels for convenience stores, and has begun to lay nightclubs, music festivals and LiveHouse under the circumstances of determining the brand culture and the main crowd. Activities in other places.
This honesty convinced me; secondly, under such a clear policy and plan, SnowPlus looks good prospects; finally, because of previous experience in selling vapes, I have accumulated a certain reputation in this circle, so I decided to join.
First day of employment on 22 July 2019
“We are starting a business, not at home. We need to prepare for the 25,000-mile long march.” That’s the most I’ve heard in a day. Startups don’t give you any room to run in.
On the first day, as an ordinary salesman, I received the task of guaranteeing to visit more than 30 stores every day, so that they can put SnowPlus on shelf.
Electronic cigarettes are an industry that must compete in every minute. The number of 30 stores is not easy for a new company to sell. But in order to win the battle in this area, it’s faster for everyone, and SnowPlus has incorporated the battle into the company’s overall acceleration plan.
But in the evening when I finished work, only half of the stores successfully negotiated.
In this city, many shopkeepers will reject us for the reason that electronic cigarettes are toxic. We have to explain it over and over again, even though some people still stick to their own opinions in the end.
As for the impact of electronic cigarettes on people’s health, it was a long time before I realized it. Later, the leader showed us a report containing the conclusions of a five-year World Health Organization survey. In short, qualified e-cigarettes have less impact on the body than cigarettes. More importantly, it does not harm the people around it.
Therefore, electronic cigarettes are a “harm-reducing” product and the best alternative to cigarettes.
Note: As early as 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) submitted a report to the sixth meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Tobacco Control on the basis of existing research and expert opinions, which summarized the debate on electronic cigarettes in the academic field and the limited nature of evidence. Five years later, many of the conclusions of this 2014 report remain in the WHO Global Tobacco Epidemic Report 2019. Compared with traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are less harmful. If fixed smokers can completely replace cigarettes with well-regulated e-cigarettes, they may be less harmful, but not harmless. Another World Health Organization survey showed that the harm of cigarettes to human body was more serious than that of HNB (IQOS) , whille HNB is more harmful than vaporizers.
In some convenience stores in the city, employees know as much about e-cigarettes as professional sales.
In some convenience stores in the city, 50,000 steps were taken on July 23, 2019.
For those who know more about e-cigarettes, the most difficult thing is how to convince them, in the competition of many brands, to pu SnowPlus on shelf.
SnowPlus is not the first electronic cigarette brand to enter the city. Before that, more than 30 kinds of electronic cigarettes were developed in the city. Because this city is the most competitive place in East China, it can be ranked in the top five in the National City Sales volume! It is a well-known fact that a brand of vape sells more vapes a month in this city than in other provinces.
First of all, we will let the boss know that your profits will never decrease the profits of SnowPlus: as long as you sell a device, there will be a market for carts, and the cumulative amount sold in a month will never be less than any one-off vapes.
Secondly, for the competition, we do a lot of detail comparison to convince the boss. For example, compared with a brand which claims to have the first market share in the whole country, we have fewer leakage, better handle of the device, and a sense of throat hit that the other side lacks.
Finally, after the success of the shop, every sales need to visit and maintain their shop regularly, maintain good relationship with the shopkeeper, and conduct research.
All this will consume tremendous energy, in addition to dumb my voice, that day I also took 50,000 steps, climbed the top in the circle of friends sports. I think this is the acceleration of corporate culture in SnowPlus.
However, at the end of the day, the number of stores that refused me was still close to half.
Waiting at 40 degrees Celsius on July 26, 2019
I visited a convenience store owner at the hottest time of noon. After introducing the product, he was still indifferent, but there were four bars near the convenience store. The location was very conducive to sales.
So in the hot summer, about 40 degrees, I waited by the roadside.
After half an hour, the boss came out and threw away the garbage. He saw me still and said, “Come in and blow the air conditioner. How can you be so honest as a fool?”
I said that when you’re busy, I’ll give you a detailed introduction of our products. The boss waved his hand and said, “I’ve seen so many sales, but I haven’t seen you so persistent. Come in and put the goods in.”
Good products and the efforts of salesmen are indispensable for a start-up company. Of course, in the end, I persuaded him that the profits from the four bars around him were still good, and then the store did sell well.
But in most cases, we don’t waste too much time in one place. SnowPlus’s goal is clear, to be the most powerful brand in the shortest time, and we know that the rejection rate of shop laying is generally around 40%, or even higher.
More time, we will choose to lay more stores.
The happier point is that in order to quickly open up the sales channels of traditional fast-moving consumer goods, SnowPlus recruited elites from various fast-moving consumer goods industries, and also attracted many leading fast-moving consumer goods distributors in the country.
For example, in East China, there are many employees who sell Heineken beer in the past and have mature supply chain and sales experience. When receiving acceleration tasks, they can quickly and skillfully operate. Employees’ knowledge of electronic cigarettes is no less than that of professional sales.
Someone quit again on August 1, 2019
Someone is in the job, and somebody is leaving. Today, another person left, and the team was finalized in six people. When I first entered SnowPlus, there were only one or two sales. At its peak, there were more than a dozen people. Later, everyone came and went, and now there are six people left.
I saw an advertisement in the elevator for a “six-person tour” that was privately tailored for high-end travel. As a front-line sales, a walk-in trip is still a dream for us.
I remember when I first joined SnowPlus, I received the task of 30 stores a day, and such a task is normal for every sales, some people can not persevere because of too hard work; and most people are because they have been rejected once and again to blow confidence, or feel confused about the future of e-cigarettes. At least 12 hours of work a day, at least 34,000 steps away, and after that, it may be the refusal of the store owner… It’s a lot more stressful than when we were selling any fast consummering products.
But those who can stay are strong-willed people.
There are two girls in our team, Yue Ran and Xiao Xin. At the hottest time in late July, they each carried twenty or thirty kilograms of material – heavier than bomb bags – and worked 14 hours a day to lay about 40 stores. From one end of the city to the other, the e-bikes could not support such a long journey, often without electricity.
Another boy, Xiao Zhao, is also very good. He is in charge of the shops in the new district. After taking down several stores, they even helped to sell hundreds of boxes a month in stores with almost zero sales. Xiao Zhao said that in addition to his efforts, the store owner himself had a certain understanding of e-cigarettes, but also saw SnowPlus’s sales policy brought profit points.
Fame and wealth are always the most important driving force for people to move forward. But if you don’t believe what you’re doing is right, you can’t achieve good results.
August 6 to August 14, 2019 – SnowPlus’ Black Technology
“You should bring me some surprise every time.” It’s been 10 days. I’ve heard this from the shopkeeper several times.
The last surprise was SnowPlus’s new electronic coffee on the 29th. It’s also the first time we’ve heard about e coffee. Everyone was very surprised when they got the goods. The company seemed to be “taking the edge of the sword”. We often say “acceleration”, and indeed SnowPlus is far ahead of its peers in introducing new products. And this is indeed our strong backing.
But the most important thing for us is that selling E-Coffee has less resistance than selling e-cigarettes. For our friends who just want to try smoking because of vapor, we also strongly recommend this product, not for more smokers emerging.
The same is true for store owners. Electronic coffee looks much safer than cigarettes. It can also effectively prevent the temptation of minors to smoke.
With the fastest speed, our team not only visited all the stores that had been negotiated in the past, but also negotiated many new stores in a week. In the company’s CVS channel, convenience store owners who are more popular with young people are obviously more willing to accept this product, and the number of rejections has been greatly reduced.
Within a week, SnowPlus launched another “black technology” called smokeless edition. Electronic cigarettes are much less harmful than cigarettes, but heavy smoke can sometimes be daunting. This invisible smoke can avoid the harm of second-hand smoke to non-smokers to the greatest extent. It is a product of “harm reduction”.
Note: At present, 740 million people in China are threatened by second-hand smoke, of which 180 million are minors. Secondhand smoke contains 250 toxic substances, of which 69 are carcinogenic.
The resumption meeting on 15 August 2019
Everyone of us is very happy to see the published data. After a month of devil’s promotion, more than 30 stores were visited every day, and 600 Snow Plus stores were finally built in the city, of which 40% were mobile stores.
Perhaps some people think that 600 stores scattered in the whole city, or even can not stimulate any sparks, but in the brand of electronic cigarettes, our number of stores is already the largest.
It’s not only the process that the company teaches us, but also the potential profit points that move the store owner. Everyone in our team will pay attention to every smoking shop owner beforehand. If we have the habit of smoking, we even buy SnowPlus carts from our own pockets and give them a try in the past in order to let them know what our products are like.
In some places where sales are good, we will help shopkeepers set up stalls to sell goods. Sometimes we will stay all day and put solid earnings in front of shopkeepers, and subsequent bosses will also make great efforts to replenish and replenish goods.
Many other brands of e-cigarette sales describe us as crazy. Indeed, while they are still moving their fingers on the operating line, we are already frantically laying stores below the line – this may be another manifestation of “acceleration”!
August 21, 2019: “Brother smokes not NEON vape, but loneliness.”
SnowPlus’s new product, NEON edition, has scored a good result on the electronics platform: it sold out on the day it went online, much faster than we thought.
And this product will be our main product in the next week. When Mr. Xiao and I talked about Snow Plus, we had clearly positioned our main crowd and set up a series of activities about nightclubs and bars. We were also surprised that NEON edition, a product that accurately caters to nightclub crowds, was born so quickly.
Perhaps, want to go to that noisy environment, the heart is actually the most lonely. “Brother smokes not NEON edition, but loneliness”.
Here, we hold night events 3 – 4 times a month, each time we can give hundreds of electronic cigarettes. Although not profitable for the time being, it has laid a good foundation for word-of-mouth and future cart market.
This time, we do intend to use the emerging NEON edition as a new “acceleration” basis.
I was promoted on September 1, 2019
It took me less than two months to go from salesperson to sales manager to city manager, but I feel I deserve it because I not only finished sales ahead of time, but also exceeded sales by a large margin, selling 120,000 units a month.
And that’s exactly the important standard for us to judge the promotion. For a start-up company, playing “emotional cards” is the most useless. It is useless to say nothing without good performance.
I think that’s the right value.
But it’s not easy to say how to improve performance. Electronic cigarettes are different from other traditional fast-comsumering products. It has not opened up the market it should have. Everyone who sells electronic cigarettes must first fall in love with electronic cigarettes in order to enter the best sales state.
In the past month, some people have tried to give up, others have really quit the team. Because they communicate with the store over and over again, but in the end they can not convince themselves to believe in the product, but also can not stand the pressure of being rejected again and again under such high intensity of work.
After my promotion, I took charge of the current team. I can know that everyone left behind has the basic qualities of doing e-cigarette sales, understanding of products, sales, understanding of SnowPlus, and understanding of the use of e-cigarettes scene.
But ultimately, everything comes down to understanding people.
September 2, 2019 Negative Thing Troubles Front-Line Sales
Today, I know that Tsinghua University released “the first blue book of electronic cigarette industry” a few days ago. The company prints out the blue paper and sends it to us for sales study and industry knowledge.
But my heart is not too ups and downs. In the past month, there has been more news about electronic cigarettes in the United States, which has affected the promotion of sales, and the argument that “electronic cigarettes are killing people” has emerged.
The so-called “good things don’t go out, bad things spread thousands of miles”, that is the truth.
We all know that although the Blue Book is authoritative, for these shopkeepers, they always believe what they want to believe. “You see, it’s said on TV that electronic cigarettes in the United States are killing people.” “Electronic cigarettes are poisonous and several have died.” That’s what we listen to every day.
Others just want to take these negative effects to depress the purchase price. In fact, we can also understand: in the face of interests, everyone will have a variety of ideas.
We are adjusting our mindset to continue to sell. To be honest, our front-line salespeople are the most able to perceive the mood of consumers, and in the face of such public opinion, we can only explain over and over again: electronic cigarettes in the United States and China are different, cannabis vapes are not products like us.
But the company did not fight back for the first time, and the whole industry did not make much noise. We were very anxious.
September 7, 2019 – not in a good mood, but we still have to fight with our opponents
Work still needs to be done in the face of bad news.
Our front-line personnel and sales of other brands are often in contact, and there will be competition among salespeople of different brands. The people sitting in the office may not see our smokeless war – the one I remember most was when we went to shop at a store, but a head brand has taken the lead, and no matter how much we lobby, it can’t move the boss.
Since you don’t want us to sell this product, we’ll put our SnowPlus goods all around your shop and bite it hard!
This is the war we often see between these front-line sales, in which the number of stores, the volume of goods and our speed are laid behind. And this kind of competition is urging us to continue to fight.
Compared with the shop, it seems that the tens of thousands of steps a day, and the many transit Metro buses from the city center to the suburbs, are nothing. Because legs grow on themselves and can be controlled, while the selling is to communicate with others and convince them. Many times, I feel powerless.
But maybe this is when everyone in the world is weak, no matter strong or weak.
September 10, 2019 – No sales to minors
The negative side news of e-cigarettes is frequent. The news we see is that the United States has banned e-cigarettes again. President Trump is also opposed to e-cigarettes… This makes us all frustrated.
If this goes on, will the industry soon enter a cold winter?
Affected by these negative effects, sales pressure is increasing. Nevertheless, we did what we should do. Every time we shop and visit, we repeatedly emphasize that we can’t sell to minors. Once we find out, we immediately cancel the contract. Moreover, we will never put products near any high school or junior high school.
I want to make money, but not conscience money.
Resistance hits us, but it doesn’t slow down our entire sales team. After all, under the sales strategy of SnowPlus, good profits can attract many like-minded shopkeepers and distributors.
September 13-16, 2019 – have a long way to go
For many people, it is a Mid-Autumn Festival, but for us, it is still a busy three days.
After reaching the sales target in August, our whole team started a price chain test without stopping. It was very busy.
The goal of this time is to have nearly 8,000 couples’ shops in this city. Each of us has to walk more than 30 kilometers with a heavy load every day to convince every boss. You know, the distance between the city and the next city is no more than 40 kilometers. We are almost across the city.
But until the end of the Mid-Autumn Festival, our record was less than 300.
This figure, the negative report of electronic cigarettes can be said to be “indelible”. Although President Trump has turned his finger from electronic cigarettes to counterfeit electronic cigarettes, the company has also made a strong public opinion counterattack. We have read the relevant reports and shared them with friends in every sales, but for most “conservative” couple stores, acceptance still needs a process. Clear planning and clear profit points are the key to moving hundreds of accepted shops.
With the change of function, my work began to turn to data research in the rear, so the 8,000 couple stores were allocated to five sales. It takes one and a half months for everyone to visit 30 families every day, but we finished it in one month, depending on our foot.
On September 28, 2019, good news finally arrived.
According to headquarters news, the United States has begun to investigate illegal e-cigarettes mixed with marijuana, and at the same time, it is a real e-cigarette name correction. But as I said before, it’s still a long way to go to change people’s perceptions. These news and blue books deepen the understanding of those in our circle. For those stores and consumers, the real popularization of this new product will take a long time.
Note: Up to now, there is no definite conclusion about the suspected death of electronic cigarettes in the United States. The latest statement came on September 28, when the CDC (Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention) disclosed on its official website that the latest investigation of lung injury caused by e-cigarette use showed that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) products played a role in the incident. According to a report published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 77% of people used THC-containing products, or both THC-containing products and nicotine-containing products.
In fact, what we hope most is that journalists and the media can report more objectively, rather than following suit, and speak out without knowing the basic concepts. Even worse, some media only rely on rumors to attract attention, while the latter is ignored directly.
So for our first-line sales, what we need is not documents, but actual operation. We are using our way to impress the store. In addition to the rhythmic store way and considerable profits, we also pay attention to the hobbies of every store owner. In the long run, we have established a good relationship with them and passed on the “replace cigarette, reduce harm” of electronic cigarettes to them. These stores will also explain to consumers for us in the process of selling goods. They will also give us feedback on which kinds of products are popular and which flavors are not good enough.
For example, E-Coffee is popular among young people, and invisible smoke is bought by most white-collar workers.
But what worries us is that there are so many brands of electronic cigarettes in China now. Of course, those companies including SnowPlus will strictly control the quality. What else?
SnowPlus and Red Flag on September 30, 2019
On September 30, the day before New China’s 70th birthday, a sales guy took the lead in launching a “SnowPlus + Red Flag” friend circle forwarding campaign in our group. A large group of 500 people immediately received many responses.
At that time, I was in a meeting with distributors. By the time I opened the Wechat in the afternoon, the circle of friends had been occupied by a Chinese Red Ninth Palace, while SnowPlus’s red device were interspersed between the numbers “70”. One salesman said in his circle of friends, “Pick up SnowPlus’s little red device and follow the motherland’s red.”
When employees are employed, the company will give us training, so we clearly know three 90% of e-cigarettes: more than 90% of global production, 90% of exports, and 90% of patents are in China. In the global electronic cigarette market, China has pricing power.
Moreover, electronic cigarettes were invented by the Chinese.
In September, Juul’s entry into China actually gave us a few days of excitement. We have sold a lot of things, and we can feel that many consumers depend on foreign products much more than domestic products, so our shop is quite intensive in those days, almost at the same speed as in August. Visiting 30 companies has now become a foundation, and 12-hour work has become the most common situation. Although Juul eventually quit the market soon, we will not forget the pressure it brought.
So when we saw SnowPlus and the red flag brushing the screen together, our hearts were still very excited. Electronic cigarette is a national industry, and SnowPlus, as the leader of Chinese electronic cigarette, no matter how far and how long it goes, will cherish a sincere Chinese heart.