Saturday, February 28, 2009

I've become a Barbecue Groupie!

We had the pleasure of spending 4 days with some of the most passionate, authentic and colorful people at the annual National Barbecue Conference in Austin. The NBBQA is a not for profit organization that serves anyone serious about BBQ: Restaurants, Competition Teams, Caterers and enthusiasts. I took our copy of Peace Love and Barbecue to gather signatures from many attendees who were in the book. I've become a barbecue groupie!

This gang's passion for barbecue is equally matched with their genuine desire to help each other by sharing techniques, recipes, business practices etc. The conference curriculum was outstanding with topics ranging from bottling and marketing your own sauce, branding, pitfalls of running a family business and of course judging and competing in barbecue competitions.

We had the pleasure of grilling BBQ pizzas and quesadillas for lunch one day and had a blast trying out different sauces made by other members. We used a lot of award winning sauces so I'll duck from playing favorites, but the most unusual was a jalepeno ginger jelly from Joy Peppers that we made quesadillas with. They were coming out of the building to taste this delightful treat. Does anyone have any pictures of these grate creations we were grilling? We were so busy grilling and selling :) that I only pulled the camera out once!

I'm excited that many of the attendees purchased GrillGrates for their restaurants and their backyards. We're looking forward to hearing back from you! And a special thank you to the NBBQA judges for The Award of Excellence that GrillGrate received as the best overall specialty product. I am proud that we'll have the NBBQA logo and the award on our product label! We grately appreciate the hospitality of the NBBQA staff: Joe, Ashley and Tyva, and the many new friends we made. The SHED BBQ & Blues Joint put on a diner the last night that was over the top. The cheese and crab grits were to die for. You must visit THE SHED if you are anywhere near the Mississipi coast. Funny thing is my wife has never been a big fan of barbecue, but she sure loves the barbecue crowd! Peace, Love and Barbecue! Great book, great people, great industry. Now we have more friends to stop and visit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Warm Calling

Cold calling has such a negative connotation in the sales world, I've decided to approach it as warm calling-- with a warm smile along with a warm handshake. Meet, greet, gather information, deliver a brief message, move on. That is what I have been doing since Monday morning. Over the past couple of days I've made over a dozen warm calls on my way to Austin Texas for the NBBQA conference. I've written a few orders and made more than a few new friends. I've been in sales all my life and never made many "cold calls", now I'm enjoying the heck out of warm calling. If we can only apply this kind of positive logic to the economy.