The myth of the overnight wine success

What is this wine and where did it come from?? It’s suddenly everywhere! Who is that sales rep that is mopping up business all over town? Nobody knows anything about her! Overnight successes are found in all industries, including ours. Some brands, from previously unknown wineries and tiny weird distributors, shoot into a city like Read More…

The chemistry of learning something new

Let’s put brain chemistry to work for us in the wine sales industry. No, I’m not talking about even more sampling and drinking. I’m talking about learning. Turns out the release of dopamine in the brain — the trigger that happens when you have the first sip of a really great wine, or hear coins Read More…

The communication quandary

The single biggest problem wine wholesalers have is simple and universal: communication of important information. Nobody does it well. Nobody. What’s new in the portfolio? What’s leaving the portfolio? What is out of stock? What containers just arrived? Which sales rep left? What sales reps just got hired? When is the next portfolio tasting? Who is Read More…

What’s your one great talent?

We all have one. The one talent that we can say with confidence “I’m better at that than most.” When I was selling wine for a local fine wine wholesaler, I learned over time what my great talent was: dealing with problem customers. If somebody was pissed of, if they kicked out their previous sales rep, Read More…

What is focus?

The process of “focus” gets bantered about endlessly, especially at wine distributor sales meetings.  “You have to focus on this line of wines.” “We need focus on this important importer.” “You have to focus better on our number one account.” “We have to focus on getting that wine on that wine list.” In this light, Read More…

The stories you hear

Rarely does a customer tell you a story just for entertainment. In fact, it’s incredibly rare. Stories are told to tell you the reason or justification why an account is doing something. Or, if that’s not the case, they are asking for something without asking it directly. Stories about other sales reps screwing up? It’s an Read More…

When do you ask for help?

Most experienced wine sales reps live an independent life during the day. See the right accounts, keep selling wine, keep the bosses happy (i.e. not being too involved in your sales business), then head home. That naturally leads to an assumption on both sides (management and sales): if the boss isn’t hearing of any problems from Read More…

A simple formula

Here’s the simple formula for success: Exceed expectations. Again and again and again and again and again. There. Done. Simple as that. (Moral of the story: you don’t have to complicate things to achieve success in business.)

Plus five percent

Teachers in West Virginia are back to work this week after a torturous nine day strike that grabbed media attention nationally. Traditionally one of the lowest pay states for teachers, they saw no option other than to walk out on the job to get the attention they deserved. Fighting tooth and nail, they got what Read More…

Spring Training

It’s March, and all the baseball teams are in sunny locations getting ready for opening day, happening in about a month. Spring Training is the time to loosen up the joints, play some casual games, let the coach get a feel for the team, let the team get a feel for each other, all the Read More…