What if? (50ml edition)

Time for another edition of What if? The pandemic is changing how we have to work, which means there is an opportunity to make things better. An opportunity, only once, here and now, to rewrite the rules of ‘normal work’ in the wine business. So here’s an idea … What if it became the norm Read More…

The Post-Pandemic Wine List

What is your restaurant wine list going to look like on the other side of the pandemic? Will it be the same size? Will you work with the same vendors? Or the same number? Will you allow big brands to wiggle, seduce, push, shove, or buy their way onto the by the glass program (yet Read More…

What is your job?

Give me the one sentence answer to this questions: What is your job? “My job is to represent my brands to retailers and restaurants.” “My job is to grow my account base and increase company revenue.” “My job is to provide the ultimate in customer service.” “My job is to show what truly great hospitality Read More…

Four Months from Today

Welcome to SOND 2020. This is a final third of a year like no other. The global pandemic, the unrest in America, the upcoming election, and for those in our industry the continued upheaval of the business in general. Taxes, tariffs, the crash of restaurants, the boom of retail business. Wildfires, overproduction, competition … the Read More…

The Annual Review

Merry Christmas Eve, happy holidays, and Bestest Festivus to all! This is not the normal Vinethinking essay. It’s more important than that. This essay is about the Annual Review. The Annual Review is a process that I’ve been going through since 2009, during which I take the time to get secluded, get reflective, get analytical, Read More…

Payoff

It’s mid-November, and the sales call in this time of year changes in shape: the buyer has less time to meet with you, but orders more wine. Ironically, and seemingly counter-intuitively, you make more money for less work. But this is the moment to realize the payoff from ten months of building, planning, relationship massaging, Read More…

Measuring a sales job by dollars, or not

Sales reps usually measure by dollars. It’s an easy yardstick to use, it contributes to the quality of your life, and it’s a measurement that allows instant comparison to others in the industry. An “Annual industry salary survey” can be useful to a small degree. But it can also be clickbait. When you measure by Read More…

What happens if …

… you present ten Pinot Noirs to an account, they don’t find joy in any of them, then a competitor presents just one and that makes it on the list? … you own 95% of a wine list at a local restaurant, but the company that has the other 5% suddenly starts spending a lot Read More…

Your internal narrative

We tell ourselves stories. Stories of failure. Stories of hesitancy. Stories of contrast and scorekeeping. The tough part about our internal narrative is that it’s the driver of our actions. Our hesitation to make another call to an unopened account because of the look you got the last time you were there. Or the phone Read More…

Six minutes

You just pulled into the parking lot of your next sales call. You’re about to bounce out of the car and rush right in. Hold on! Before going in, stop and breathe. For one minute, sit in your car, radio off, and think. What is the goal of the sales call? Do I have all Read More…

The easiest way to sell anything

There is one surefire way to sell anything. This works across all industries, across all cultures, and during all economic situations. You give it away for free. Not just your product. But your time. And your energy. And your ideas. Free is a dangerous downhill slide, and once you have put no value onto something, Read More…

Are you secretly trying to fail?

If you fail in selling wine and spirits to a particular account, and you get kicked out or have the account taken off your roster, you are off the hook. Some sales reps, consciously or unconsciously, secretly try to fail in an account for this very reason. Why? Because going through the truth and the Read More…

Customer management is not …

… telling your customers how it’s going to be. That’s not customer management. Customer management is done on the backside and in the shadows, not in front of your restaurant and retail buyers. It’s the coordination of deliveries. It’s the replacing of samples. It’s making sure their bills are paid and confusion is quickly resolved. Read More…