Why Bartenders Make The Best Salespeople

It’s 8:30am on Monday morning, 2 cups of coffee deep, and I finally muster up the courage to check my bank account after the weekend’s festivities…


bartenders make great salespeople 2*Jaw drops*


If you can’t relate to that story personally, then I’m sure you know someone who can. For me, that moment solidifies an opinion:

Bartenders are some of the best salespeople around.

I didn’t know it at the time, but tending bar in college provided me with the skills necessary for a successful career in sales. (It also allowed me to feel like Tom Cruise in “Cocktail.” We’ll save that for another post.)

Let’s break it down.

3 Reasons Bartenders Make the Best Salespeople

1. A bartender HAS to be personable, and also be able to build and sustain relationships.

A bartender’s ability to strike up a conversation and get customers to open up is essential to business. Each person they encounter has a different outlook on life, which means a bartender has to adjust his or her own personality to relate to their target audience.

The same can be said for your sales prospects. CEO/CFO/VP/Operations – each role has different goals and objectives. As a salesperson, it’s your job to determine what’s going to make it “sticky” for your buyer and position your product in a way that appeals to each of their needs.

2. A bartender HAS to be knowledgeable about what they sell.

Based on drink preferences, a bartender has to be able to provide something that is going to appeal to the customer. There’s an initial discovery session where the bartender learns what you like, so that they’re not suggesting an Old Fashioned when you’re actually in the market for a Vodka Martini.

The same concept can be applied to sales. How can I prescribe a solution, if I don’t know your pains? Too many times, salespeople are only concerned with pitching their product and don’t take the time to figure out if their product is actually a solution to what the prospect is looking for.

3. A bartender HAS to hustle.

It’s simple: The more drinks bartenders make, the more money that goes in their pocket. That means as soon as a patron walks up to the bar, the bartender must drop everything they’re doing (in the middle of a conversation/checking Facebook/restocking the bar) to acknowledge the customer and help them out.

This is essential to having success in any sales role. If you’re in sales development,  the more calls you make, the more opportunities you book. If you’re a closer, the more proposals you send out, the more deals you’re going to close.

What I thought was just any old job to get me through college, has turned out to pay dividends for my sales career. Even if you didn’t have a similar gig, hopefully you can take away some of these tips for your own sales role.

Now, who wants a drink? I’m buying.

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