The ifs and the thens

  IF … … your top account closes … your three leading brands move to another distributor. … your top import portfolio goes out of business. … your top salespeople or managers quit. … a recession hits and everybody suddenly buys less wine. … you get fired, or leave a job where you are not Read More…

Old topic, fresh discussion

In seems that sales people in the wine business are very good at finding ruts and sticking to them. We find the pattern of talking about a particular place, style, or wine brand (especially if we have been selling it for years). Same stories, same analogies, same ways of saying the same sales pitch year after year. We are all Read More…

Out of stocks and auto-shipping

As a sales rep for a wholesaler, here’s an easy way to make your buyers mad. Run out of stock on something.  Do little to nothing to acknowledge the out of stock situation. When the product comes back in, ship it automatically without asking. When you can’t ship something because the item is out of Read More…

Guilt is not a sales technique

  … or is it? If your business goes down in an account, do you mention it to the buyer? And if so, how? Do you whine, say the bills piling up and that things are tough and you need their help? Or do you say, in a constructive and straightforward way, that you’ve noticed the line Read More…

How to be an average wine rep

Here’s the abridged list of how to be an average wine rep (i.e. you disappear amongst the crowd). The real list is far larger but this is a start. Bring a handful of wines with you, pour them, and ask the buyer what they think of them Avoid sales and leadership training opportunities Sell by Read More…

Choice and control

A wine sales rep that presents one wine at a time will have a hard time indeed. A primary motivator for buyers (and human beings in general) is control. Control of a situation can only come from having choices, and having choices by definition means multiple options. So on one hand your buyers are asking Read More…

Ask, don’t tell

What’s your buying program and schedule? How far out do you plan you wine list changes? How many distributors do you buy from? What percentage from each? What is your markup formula? What margin do you need to hit? How many wines do you taste through before picking one? Do you buy based on quality Read More…

DIY Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day didn’t exist before Amazon decided it should exist. Why is it so successful? Because they have a dedicated fan base that responds to deals, offers, suggestions, reviews, and consistent fulfillment (if they are out of stock, you usually know it before the pain of ordering and never seeing it). So the steps Read More…

Statistics don’t lie

When trying to open new business, only 25% of sales people follow up a second time. That means 75% make one call, drop off one book, and never try again. Of those that follow up a second time, only 10% of sales reps make more than three follow up calls or visits. And yet … Read More…

Happy (Wine) Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all! There are a few readers of this blog that are outside of the United States, so here’s the short version of why July 4th matters in America: this is the day we celebrate the spirit of our country, the founding fathers and what they believed in, the standards by which freedom Read More…

You’re not selling on price

If it’s about the quality of the wine, the story of the winemaker, the place it is from, the history of the region, the consistent accolades about the winemaker over years and decades, then why do we so often start by talking price? If you want price to be less of a consideration in the Read More…

The best thing about having a vision

Do you have a vision for your job? The ideal combination of customers, sales, and workflow that you can achieve? The ultimate situation you’d like to find yourself in twelve months from now? What is your ideal job vision? The best things about having a vision is that it’s contagious. When you have a vision and discuss it Read More…

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…