High end chocolate

The world of high end, exclusive, limited availability, hand-made chocolate is pretty neat. Where the beans came from, the roasting, the pressing, the sweat involved in every step makes each bar simply taste better. It’s a world where knowledge multiplies the taste experience. And the folks that buy the high-end chocolate have little hesitation to Read More…

The choice to complain

Private complaining and grumbling about accounts and your sales life, to friends or significant others, is part of a salesperson’s life. We all have to unpack a bit at the end of a tough day. It’s life. It’s normal. We all do it. Don’t worry too much about your daily or weekly grumbling about small Read More…

Info power (and wine wholesalers)

I type this post while sitting at a coffee shop. No surprise there. But this coffee shop (Caribou) is trying to compete with Starbucks. Part of their strategy is the new “perks club” (cute name). If I join the club I can slooooooowly build points for a free cookie or a coffee. But in exchange Read More…

Learning to taste, or tasting to learn?

When buyers are just starting on their wine journey (“Hey server manager! You’re now the bar manager and the wine buyer! Good luck!”) they need to learn the basics. A sales rep in tune with this will welcome the opportunity to help them learn to taste. Then at the next sales call you might have Read More…

The irony of competition

There is a grand irony in the wine business. First, the more wholesalers there are, the better it is for retailers and restaurants. It makes for competition, it makes for more choice, it makes for opportunity to buy wines that nobody else has, it allows for a retailer or restaurant to stand out easier. Second, Read More…

Looking backward …

… rarely helps. Yes, you can learn from the past. But you can also think too hard about it, too often. Try this: think about the past and the mistakes you or your company made (“We hired that lazy good for nothing that derailed the team and sucked down morale”). Make a full list. It’s Read More…

Don’t forget the boss

Most wine buyers, both on the restaurant side and retail side (but it seems more so on the restaurant side) have one thing in common: they don’t own the store. And when the buyer is not the owner, then you have a worker. And when you have a worker, they have a boss. And a Read More…

Seeing things with true clarity …

… is almost impossible. But doubly impossible when you’re starting from behind to begin with. How do you start from behind? Lack of sleep Lack of exercise Drinking too much wine and feeling the compounded impact on your brain and body Anxiety (fear of what might happen) Disorganization Poor diet Letting others usurp your time Being digitally Read More…

On luxury wine

A luxury wine (as opposed to a great but expensive wine) exists based on scarcity and social proof. It has to be scarce, because the rules of supply and demand not only keep the proposed value sky high, but actually increases the eventual cost of holding a bottle of your own. A luxury wine cannot Read More…

Being relevant

To be relevant in an industry is the simple goal for most workers and most businesses. To be a restaurant that gets mentioned in the “top 10” lists. To be a wine that retailers are asking for, not being loaded upon. To be an employee asked for an opinion on an internal matter. To be somebody Read More…

Recognizing sunk costs

It’s one of the most important lessons you can learn: All that matters is the future. That is the clearest way to describe sunk costs. What happened in the past, what occurred between you and your customers, the efforts and investments you put into your job, the brand building and analysis and yearly reviews, the Read More…

Broken locks

Embarrassing story, but a good lesson to be learned. I was recently at a restaurant. Not just any restaurant, but a well reviewed chef-driven hard to get into place of the moment kinda restaurant. I went to the restroom. Had to go. Happens to everybody. It was a small one room restroom with a crappy lock Read More…

Falling into a hole

You’re cruising. You’re doing great. Your work is firing on all cylinders. Then BAM, you find yourself tripped up. You fell into a hole and now you have to work your way out. First, are you injured? Can you stand back up? Can you shake your head and make a little goofy cartoon noise (with Read More…

The problem with committees

Committees work on averages and “most votes win.” Therefore, in a committee people (over time) are hesitant to speak their mind, outliers are outvoted, and passionate singular voices have no impact and thus are rarely heard. Committees can be great when it comes time for group discussions and decisions such as where to put the Read More…