Shooting straight

You can read endless customer management articles through Harvard Business Review. You can watch endless TED talks on motivation and how to motivate others. You can go to school for years to learn about sales techniques and buyer motivations. But in the end nothing is better than simply being a straight shooter. Tell it like Read More…

Twelve minutes

If you’re a wine sales rep on the street, visiting accounts every day, dusting off your bottles, showing new products, trying to hit sales goals, running will calls, answering the phone, and putting out fires all day, this is for you. A challenge for one week. When you park your car in front of an account, Read More…

The gut instinct

“When you follow your gut, you get indigestion.” Sage advice coming from somebody as disconnected from the real world as possible: a Fortune 100 CEO in a high rise Manhattan corner office, who wrote a book about productivity years ago, aimed squarely at the people that he needed more of: workers, not thinkers. Being aware Read More…

Currency, value, and street cred

Adding income to your bottom line is usually in the form of selling. Sell more stuff, make more money. But currency and value is not just money. There are thousands of instances every day where you can improve your value. The positive interaction you have with a competitor. The attention you pay to a new Read More…

Who is ultimately responsible?

Sales in an account go down. What’s the common reaction? Point at the sales rep. It must be something they did. Not so fast. Sales can go down, way down, quickly, in an account for a huge number of reasons. The account’s general business is down. They want to work with a greater range of vendors. Read More…

Just show up

True story, heard from a restaurant buyer this week: A sales rep, let’s call him Willy, works for one of the premier top notch best reputation best portfolio best established mid sized distributors. The kind of distributor everybody seems to want to work for and with. Willy is working on getting into this new hot local Read More…

Turn off the dopamine loop

Remember the phrase “You’ve got mail?” It was one of the earliest internet dopamine loops created. America Online and their AOL mail service (remember when everybody had an AOL address?) programmed people to get a dose of excitement and anticipation every time they heard “You’ve got mail” in that manly authoritative voice. It triggered an Read More…

Standing for something

Clean farming. Vineyard worker compensation. Family ownership. Quality and provenance. Wine served at the right temperature. Good stemware. Decent buyers that respect your time and family. Bosses that help instead of hurt. … what do you stand for? When is your line crossed? Stand for something. Speak up. Say what is important. The alternative is just to Read More…

Give them what they want?

Or give them what they don’t know they want? The smartphone didn’t exist until Steve Jobs pulled it out of his pocket.  Uber didn’t exist until you downloaded the app and made your account.  NakedWine didn’t exist until somebody said “what about crowdfunding for a winemaker?”   Do you give people what they want, or Read More…

Where is the loyalty?

Is your customer’s loyalty with the brand? If so, you need to keep that loyalty carefully groomed, make sure they have knowledge and access to the gems within the brand, and make sure the brand reaches out to your customer on a regular basis. Is your customer’s loyalty to the importer or distributor? If so, you need to keep that Read More…

How empires topple

Every major wine market in the United States has one dominant distributor and one dominant retailer (or a chain of stores). Sometimes it’s not actually obvious who the dominant players are, but just a little bit of research will easily unlock the secret of who sells the most wine. These are the empires. And just Read More…

How did you get hired?

When you got your wine job, how did you get hired? Odds are good it wasn’t just your interview going well. Odds are good it wasn’t just the piece of paper you carefully organized to highlight your awesomeness. Odds are good it wasn’t just your enthusiasm for fermented grape juice. You got hired because of Read More…

Monday Challenge: Smarter, Faster, Better

This week’s Monday Challenge is as easy as can be. Buy a copy of Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg and read it. This book is transformative, and every chapter has incredible relevance to all aspects of our industry. Broken into eight concepts that are discussed with surprising facts and entertaining stories to back up Read More…

Good vs. Interesting

Two different wines. Two different approaches needed to sell them. Saying a wine is “good” implies ranking and inherent quality. This one is better than the other one. Most wines/brands strive to be sold as good wine, where comparisons and rankings are sought after. It makes for easy selling. A wine that is “interesting” is Read More…