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The Coke Habit Giving Sales A Bad Name

Sugar. The new tobacco. Big Sugar way worse than Big Oil, Big Pharma and any other dastardly Big-ly you care to name.

I know this because I see fat people. And I recently learned of the scandalous suppression of Pure, White & Deadly facts.

So I read a mini-memoir from a rescued former member of the church of Coca-Cola.

This interested me in part not simply because of finding yet another example of the Pavlovian reaction of mankind’s baddies to being (rightly) accused of wrongdoing. With its associated mass-manoeuvring of dark forces against truth and honesty, stubbornly sticking to reinforcing a fatally flawed status quo and laughing off doubters as deranged whilst planting contrived, false evidence of nastiness against them.

Welcome to the world of solution selling.

I also remembered fondly my distant days of partying next door to the Atlanta demon’s UK Sales HQ. Where I encountered Cocalytes in person.

‘We invented Farther Christmas, so the whole world owes us a debt and as repayment we demand you buy a never-ending river of our murderous healthy fun drinks, laced with bombs of despair natural goodness.’

The whistleblower was a territory sales manager. Such TSMs are a staple of the Sales arena. Every (mainly small) account in a geographic area was his. By way possibly of reward, he scaled the ladder to dealing with supermarkets. Key Account Manager may have been his title then. A typical hierarchy.

As a TSM he held 144 accounts. Corner shops, sandwich bars and petrol forecourts.

The people I met in that environment back in the day had to fill out their diaries in six-minute slots. I remember actually seeing such handwritten paperwork. Justifying time through each hour broken down into ten separate entities. The single word ‘traffic’ seemed common. 30 calls a day and every customer ticked off each week.

As the chap recalls; “It took all of two days for my enthusiasm to be completely annihilated.”

His employer quashed dissent and pushed brainwashing with relentless zeal. It’s easy to rail against the machine mercilessly pitching toxin (“We were even told to get Capri Sun put on the ‘back-to-school’ aisle.”). Yet consider their selling routines.

Each month a new target, new product or new initiative to ‘sell in’ to my 144 customers.

Each individual drink noted, tallied and scored by the great Coke computer back at base.

Any drink went off sale and there were investigations to be made.

“Find out where the big schools are in your area”

“Show the shops these graphs, charts, figures…Kids love these products.”

We were told to link our products with everything from newspapers to crisps.

Not to mention their sinister “brand activation” strategies, these are the kinds of tactics you see from many a wholesaler.

New product conveyor-belts, customer lock-ins, offers, promos, micro-management, territory segmentation.

But here with a chilling sense of entitlement. With added Bewilderment that anyone would not want to stock their entire range.

It brought to mind the concept of drones. Young, eager, naive doorknockers taught to pitch by rote, without deviation, and run themselves into the ground. Rank Xerox were one outfit famed for such. An army of “white socks”, known by the market as Xeroids. Pitney Bowes followed suit with their franking machine colonisation (ask a Grey Hair). High regard generally elusive.

There is a better way. I hope you choose it and avoid being thought of like the water-sugarers;

“All Coke wanted to do was piss their product all over those in attendance.”

 

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