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…

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…

Overwhelmed

Too many commitments. Too many meetings. Too many things on the to do list. Too many emails in the inbox. Too many phone calls to make. Too many customers to see. Too many wines to sell. Too many things to organize. Too many, too many, too many! Many sales reps secretly (or subconsciously) see a Read More…

What work should you do today?

The answer is pretty simple, really. Do more of the work that proves to work well for you. Do less of the work that proves to not work well for you. More of what works, less of what doesn’t. Take the time to think about that as you make decisions on how to spend your Read More…

Bird Brains: Proof that there are always haters

If you try to appease everybody all the time you eventually spend an inordinate amount of time appeasing the lowest of the low. In the wine business, there are legendary thugs and bullies that own liquor stores around the country or buy wine for such shops. They harass, they intimidate, they threaten, they position themselves for Read More…

Simplifying networking

“Connection points” and “synergy” are terms often bantered about when it comes to networking. Heck, there are easily 12 other overused buzzwords I could list here. There are whole books, blogs, video series, and courses based on the Art of Networking. At its core networking sounds so easy: The idea that you can help them and they 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…

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…

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…