The list of quick improvements

This is a good exercise. Grab a piece of paper. Turn off the inputs and interruptions. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Namaste. Now answer the question: “What can I change, improve upon, upgrade, do, or fix in just one or two minutes, that will have a lasting impact on my work?” A Read More…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

You have permission …

… to take the simple path instead of the complicated path. … to take time off to rebalance and think big thoughts. … to find success while others struggle. … to put your own name and identity out there before your company. … to take a break after reaching goals. … to work smarter instead Read More…

Let’s talk email

Efficiency is talked about often, and email is definitely one of the most efficient ways to communicate (in many ways too efficient, which is why it gets overused). In the spirit of efficiency some people use email well. And others do not. And it’s painful to watch (and read). Rules: Learn what BCC: is all Read More…

Tell and Show

When we are young, we have Show and Tell in elementary school. Then we grow up and become wine sales reps. And we continue our version of Show and Tell. We pop the cork, we show the wine, then we tell. Flip it around. Tell and Show. It works better that way. Tell your customer Read More…

The problem with being the first to say it

Sometimes the truth needs to be said. The problem is somebody has to say it first. “This brand really doesn’t fit our portfolio or our company style.” “That customer is not good for our business, even if they buy more and more wine.” “Your technique in selling is too abrasive and confrontational.” “The cigarettes you Read More…

Screwing up (gracefully)

You dropped the ball. Screwed up royally. There are no excuses. Somebody is going to be mad. The owner’s manual on screwing up gracefully reads pretty simply: Own it. Don’t make excuses. Don’t try to hide. Apologize. Hope for the best. Then apologize again. Too bad more people don’t have a copy of the owner’s Read More…