A challenge: more questions

I’ve run into a few wine sales reps lately that only tell, they never ask. They tell me about the winemaker. They tell me about the steel tanks. They tell me about the vineyard. They tell me about the barrels. They tell me the scores. At no point do they ask anything. “What’s the best Read More…

What do your wineries want?

What do wineries that you represent really want? “We want to be placed in the right accounts.” “We want to be a category leader.” “We want to grow our direct to consumer business.” “We want less competition in your book.” “We want your sales reps to take more samples out.” “We want your sales reps Read More…

When things go wrong

In the relationship between a wholesaler and a retailer or restaurant, things will go wrong. It’s just a matter of time. A forgotten invoice. A screwed up delivery. A change of vintage from the 95 point wine everyone wants to the new vintage, which is only 85 points. Or something bigger. A shift in the Read More…

Tools vs. Skills

The writer Neil Gaiman was on the Tim Ferris podcast. In the show, Tim asked Neil about his writing process and how he physically went about writing his wonderful books. It’s a common question for authors, photographers, painters, and musicians. Why kind of guitar does she use? What type of camera does Annie Leibovitz prefer? Read More…

Is it really that bad?

Rejection is tough. Hearing NO is difficult for everyone, across all industries and cultures. And too many times hearing NO can wear down the best of us. But why did they say no? If they said no for a specific reason, that is okay. “We have twenty Malbecs right now, we really don’t need another Read More…

Faults vs. Problems

I used to say, rather sarcastically, that there is no such thing as a wine emergency. The idea being that far too many sales reps run around like chickens without heads solving emergencies that don’t qualify as emergencies. And in the big scope of world problems and social issues, a restaurant running out of a Read More…

Dangerous multipliers

Say you have 25 accounts in your territory, and you’re pulling in $50,000 a year. Makes sense to think, therefore, that if you doubled it to 50 accounts you’d make $100,000 a year. So why not ramp up to 100 accounts and make $200,000 a year? Using the easy multiplying math, you only need 500 Read More…

Articles. Clippings. Proof of concept.

Just sell wines that people want to buy. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But if you have to spend precious selling time rolling the ball uphill to reach the peak of simply convincing someone to think about maybe buying, then you’ve wasted energy and resources. Oh, you’ve never heard of Zweigelt? Well, let’s spend Read More…

Little nudges vs. big changes

A baseball manager walking to the pitcher’s mound for a little conversation is looking for a little nudge. Don’t try so hard, try harder, focus more, stop focusing so much, you can do this, don’t forget what the plan is. A baseball manager walking to the mound to substitute out a pitcher is making a Read More…

More is, unfortunately, free

I’ll bring you more samples. I’ll pour more wine in your store. I’ll put up more shelf talkers. I’ll train your staff more than last year. I’ll spend more time in your account. When you offer more, you’re doing it because you don’t see the costs in dollars and cents. You’re not being billed for Read More…

Strategy solves problems

There are three types of problems for wine sales rep: short term, mid-term, and long term. Short term is tomorrow, the day after that, and the next selling week. It’s the immediacy of having to react. Having to run a will call. Having to correct an error on an invoice. Having to scramble for appointments Read More…

Wine prices and pillows

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, I bought a new pillow. A fancy one. It came in cool packaging, well designed and unlike other pillows on the market. Being who I am, I also looked online at reviews to help nudge me toward what I wanted to do (buy the pillow). Enough glowing reviews led me Read More…

The Velocity Question

As a wine sales rep, having a retailer say “I’ll take 31 cases of that wine” is rare. 31 cases, at 12 bottles per case, is 372 bottles. That means the retailer has to sell a bottle every day, seven days a week, for a bit over a year in order to move through the Read More…