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…

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.)

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…

It comes down to telling a story

What makes this wine different from others? What makes this wine similar to others? Why was this winery started? What struggles led to winery success? When did they face failure? Was there one hero in the winery that saved the day? When did all of this happen? How many acts are in this winery’s play? How Read More…

Sometimes, there is no answer

“How can we sell more expensive wine to more retailers?” “How do we break into the hot new restaurant?” “How can I make my sales reps more efficient and responsive?” “How can we get more market share in this increasingly tight and competitive wine scene?” There is no answer to these questions. If there were Read More…

Selling Champagne

There are a few fundamental differences between selling Champagne (and I’m only talking about real deal Champagne here) and other wine categories. Consumers tend to buy it one bottle at a time. And thus, without another glass next to it for comparison and assuming it’s served quite cold, it’s hard to make a call on Read More…

Why Black Friday works

It works because everybody is involved. Black Friday would be an uneventful day indeed if only a few stores participated. But the collective mass builds the excitement, which leads more to join the mass (both retailers and consumers) making it a self-fulfiling prophecy. So what might happen if wine retailers got together for Local Wine Read More…

The flavor of history

As I type this, I’m putting the final touches on a wine class I’ll be teaching tonight called “The Founding Families of Oregon Pinot Noir.” Doing the research and outlining the class has brought up a bit of a philosophical question: in wine, does history really matter? This might sound like a dumb question because Read More…

What you can’t measure

  Loyalty. Smiles. Thank yous. Dedication. Focus. Positivity. Resilience. Creativity. Innovation. Attitude. Ideas. Friendships. Relationships. Partnerships. Be careful about trying to measure everything. Much of the most important stuff is impossible to quantify. If you ignore something simply because you can’t measure it, then you’ll lose it all. 

Then you have a brand

Two scenarios. A company assembles 100 carefully chosen wine consumers. They enter a room and taste and rank five whites and five reds. Then they leave. The statisticians come in. They analyze the numbers. They discover the one white and one red the crowd liked the most. They speculate why. The scientists come in and Read More…

Words matter

If you are a wine retailer, the words that you attach to products matter. These are the words your staff says when suggesting wines (you are training them on what to say about certain wines, right?). These are the words that are on your hand written shelftalkers that show your endorsement of a product (which you Read More…