One would think that high-quality malt such as BESTMALZ’s would more or less sell itself. But of course that is not the case. This is why Joachim Sandel travels through Germany and Switzerland for BESTMALZ AG taking care of existing customers and gaining new ones. The editors at BESTMALZblog chatted with him to find out more about his daily work.
BESTMALZblog: Mr. Sandel, what is a normal day’s work like for you?
It depends on whether I am working in the office or traveling: On office days, I sort out my correspondence and e-mails, write reports on my visits and draw up proposals. I am also often the first point of contact for many of our customers for all kinds of issues – for example, I pass on complaints to our technical support. When I am traveling, I leave the house relatively early and visit clients. In other words, I fulfill appointments that I made previously. That also sometimes means staying in hotels if it makes sense to combine several visits. When I am abroad, I usually schedule my appointments so that I am there for a whole week. I have been working for BESTMALZ since mid-2016, so with the large number of customers still many of my visits are to get to know them, as it is important to find out what they want and expect. And of course I also travel to trade fairs if we have a booth.
BESTMALZblog: Where did you work before and what is your background?
I served the food and beverages industry for a cleaning company. BESTMALZ was one of my clients, which is how I got to know the company. As I qualified as a master brewer, I am delighted to be working with beer and breweries again on a day-to-day basis. A love of beer definitely helps in this industry and this profession.
BESTMALZblog: What other qualifications do you need, and what are the challenges of the job?
You should be good at dealing with people and have an insight into human nature. My contacts are usually technical plant managers or master brewers in breweries, sometimes the owners. You need technical expertise to be able to discuss things on equal terms and offer good advice. My training as a master brewer is very useful in this respect. Apart from that, you need to be well organized to follow up contacts and support clients regularly and continuously. A strong customer focus is indispensable, including a certain frustration tolerance to cope with setbacks or negative feedback, which is rare but can happen from time to time. But that is exactly what I love about my job – working with so many different people. I visit breweries a lot, so my job is very varied.
BESTMALZblog: Talking of which, what else do you value in your job? And are there more difficult aspects?
In sales, you have to keep at things and be persistent to a certain extent. Of course it isn’t always easy to get a customer to change their mind, especially if they are already happy with the supplier they have. Changing malt also means modifying the product. Sometimes, it’s a matter of the price – BESTMALZ offers quality malts and is not a discounter. But I enjoy being part of the “family”. I have great colleagues who support each other. And I like being in contact with customers and being able to sell a great product.
BESTMALZblog: Thank you for talking to us!