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…

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…

The stories you hear

Rarely does a customer tell you a story just for entertainment. In fact, it’s incredibly rare. Stories are told to tell you the reason or justification why an account is doing something. Or, if that’s not the case, they are asking for something without asking it directly. Stories about other sales reps screwing up? It’s an 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…

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.)

Plus five percent

Teachers in West Virginia are back to work this week after a torturous nine day strike that grabbed media attention nationally. Traditionally one of the lowest pay states for teachers, they saw no option other than to walk out on the job to get the attention they deserved. Fighting tooth and nail, they got what Read More…

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…

What are you selling? (Maybe it’s not wine)

A wine sales rep’s life, even with lunches, dinners, samples, winemakers, and travel all involved, can be isolating and lonely. When isolated feelings of “me against the competition” and “us vs. them” creep into the sales mindset, you may find yourself running from account to account to account, pulling bottles out of the bag, presenting everything to Read More…

Plans, planners, CRMs, and what is really needed

Tools, pens, calendars, graphs and check lists. Reminders, pings, pokes, and Things. CRM’s, Saleforce, Zoho, Pipedrive, and Hubspot. SevenFifty. Endless inspirational quotes. Internal meetings, sales meetings, performance review meetings. The value of the tools at the wine sales reps disposal can only be measured by the action taken to use them correctly. Thinking about tools and Read More…

Is the wine good? Or is it helpful?

Wine sales reps are hooked on the “good” of wine. “Isn’t that great?” “What do you think? Do you like it?” “Just delicious wine isn’t it?” This is the all too common conversation after pouring a taste for the buyer. It’s based on the quality of the juice, trying hard to make it sound more Read More…

Opening new accounts – the first touch

Opening new accounts is the lifeblood of the wine wholesale business. If you’re not opening new accounts on a regular basis you are beholden to the slicing up of the market by competitors. New business is the only way to stay ahead of that curve. A simple prospecting tool is, of course, email. Make a form Read More…