What happens if …

… you present ten Pinot Noirs to an account, they don’t find joy in any of them, then a competitor presents just one and that makes it on the list? … you own 95% of a wine list at a local restaurant, but the company that has the other 5% suddenly starts spending a lot Read More…

Six minutes

You just pulled into the parking lot of your next sales call. You’re about to bounce out of the car and rush right in. Hold on! Before going in, stop and breathe. For one minute, sit in your car, radio off, and think. What is the goal of the sales call? Do I have all Read More…

The easiest way to sell anything

There is one surefire way to sell anything. This works across all industries, across all cultures, and during all economic situations. You give it away for free. Not just your product. But your time. And your energy. And your ideas. Free is a dangerous downhill slide, and once you have put no value onto something, Read More…

Are you secretly trying to fail?

If you fail in selling wine and spirits to a particular account, and you get kicked out or have the account taken off your roster, you are off the hook. Some sales reps, consciously or unconsciously, secretly try to fail in an account for this very reason. Why? Because going through the truth and the Read More…

Customer management is not …

… telling your customers how it’s going to be. That’s not customer management. Customer management is done on the backside and in the shadows, not in front of your restaurant and retail buyers. It’s the coordination of deliveries. It’s the replacing of samples. It’s making sure their bills are paid and confusion is quickly resolved. Read More…

Choose carefully

Think about this: if you see an account for a good sales meeting 30 times a year, and you show them four wines at each meeting, you show them 120 wines in a year. And if you have 2000 wines in your portfolio, it will take you 16.7 years to show all of them, without Read More…

Calm waters and making waves

Swimming in the calm waters is easy. It’s fun. It’s what everyone wants to do. Swimming in the waves is harder, it’s challenging. It’s demanding. It’s not what everyone seeks out. It takes a special type of person to seek out the waves. And then there are the wave creators. The ones that make the Read More…

Speak three months ahead

This isn’t a sales trick, hack, or tool. It’s just a good habit for a wine sales rep to get into. Talk three months ahead. Not all the time, but at least once during every sales call with a customer. In September: “Let’s start mapping out December’s features for the holiday season.” In November: “I’m Read More…

Wine Inventory as Wine Marketing

Inventory is one of the most mis-understood aspects of the wine world. A wholesaler that commits ten percent of their annual revenue to a single purchase of five thousand cases of Hungarian Viognier is going to run into an inventory problem. A restaurant owner who has a wine buyer that overbuys on Barolo and ties Read More…

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…