The road to promotion and success can be fickle at best. Mostly it is the result of good old fashioned hard work and effort but occasionally other factors come into play.
This is the story how one man earned promotion and the title of vice president and western regional sales manager for a prominent distiller. He told me the story over lunch one day on how he has earned his present position.
In the liquor industry sales are conducted in two ways at the distiller level. There are open states, where retail sales are conducted in privately owned liquor outlets; or control states, where sales are made the states’ themselves in state liquor stores.
If a distiller wanted to sell his brand in an open state there was no problem as long as he had a distributor and was willing to support said brand with advertising and promotion. However in a control state the distiller had to have the brand “listed” with the state alcohol control board which generally consisted of a Chairman and several board members appointed by the Governor.
If they said no to a brand that some distiller wanted “listed” that was it and the distiller was effectively cut out of doing business in that State.
Now there was an Intermountain region control state that had said no repeatedly to the distiller marketing Kessler whiskey. Several representatives had tried to get Kessler “listed” but each had been turned down by the State Alcohol Board.
The man who told me this story, we will call him Bill, was the next company representative to try to get Kessler “listed” in that State. Since Kessler was a national brand it was very frustrating to be kept out of a particular market.
As it happened there were some turnovers in the membership of the Alcohol Control Board of that intermountain state and a new chairman as well. When Bill went before this new group they accepted Kessler as a “listed” item in their stores with no fuss at all. In fact they seemed pleased to add the brand to their stores.
Bill could hardly believe his good fortune to succeed where so many others had failed before him. Then over dinner with the new Board Chairman the reason came forth. It seemed that the Board has been repeatedly heckled and harassed by a staunch prohibitionist, a true gadfly and activist by the name of Mrs. Kessler. To have a brand with the Kessler name available in state stores throughout the state was sweet subtle revenge for the harassed Board Members.
Of course Bill never gave the true reason for his brilliant sales achievement to his company principals. They were duly impressed and hence the promotion to his current post.
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