High end chocolate

The world of high end, exclusive, limited availability, hand-made chocolate is pretty neat. Where the beans came from, the roasting, the pressing, the sweat involved in every step makes each bar simply taste better. It’s a world where knowledge multiplies the taste experience. And the folks that buy the high-end chocolate have little hesitation to Read More…

The choice to complain

Private complaining and grumbling about accounts and your sales life, to friends or significant others, is part of a salesperson’s life. We all have to unpack a bit at the end of a tough day. It’s life. It’s normal. We all do it. Don’t worry too much about your daily or weekly grumbling about small Read More…

Info power (and wine wholesalers)

I type this post while sitting at a coffee shop. No surprise there. But this coffee shop (Caribou) is trying to compete with Starbucks. Part of their strategy is the new “perks club” (cute name). If I join the club I can slooooooowly build points for a free cookie or a coffee. But in exchange 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…

Tell and Show

When we are young, we have Show and Tell in elementary school. Then we grow up and become wine sales reps. And we continue our version of Show and Tell. We pop the cork, we show the wine, then we tell. Flip it around. Tell and Show. It works better that way. Tell your customer 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…

Proven and tested vs. taking a chance

When taking wine out to show to your accounts, take a moment to think about how you’ll present the wine in the context of the rest of the marketplace. A wine that has been proven and tested can be a big brand, stacked high at all other retailers, on the top ten hot brands list, Read More…

When problems happen

In the wholesale wine biz, life can seem like an ever-ending pattern of putting out fires. Wrong pricing. Wrong delivery. I need it NOW. I needed it yesterday. And on and on. The organizational structure of most wholesalers treats problems the same: “we will solve the problems as they come up because we believe in Read More…

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 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…