A seven year (payment) plan

How far forward do you plan? Some very smart people insist that five year and ten-year goal setting is not realistic. That there is no way to project that far and know what will happen with the economy, your industry, or even the state of the world. I see their point, but they are wrong. Read More…

Overwhelmed

Another sales call. More samples to pull. Who is the new buyer again? Oh yeah, that will call I have to run! The focus winery of the month. Do I have a sparkling wine stopper? OMG Thanksgiving and Christmas is around the corner! My phone is out of juice! Yet another sales call. I know Read More…

Passions vs. Skills

Two wine sales reps. Two different ways of doing business. Sales rep number one has a passion for what she does. She is so into wine! It’s her life. It’s all about the aromas, the flavors, the food, and the occasional travel. Wine is first and foremost the creator of her energy. A wine sales Read More…

What customer service is not

Customer service for a wine wholesaler takes many forms. Clear information. A heads up. A lead. Running the emergency will call (when it truly is an emergency, not a matter of convenience). Being on time. Making sure your customer knows your portfolio and what you can do to help grow their business. Customer service is Read More…

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…