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 can I do to help?”

When delivered with honesty and empathy, is there a more powerful statement a person could possibly make? There are situations in life when simply offering help is not only the right thing to do but the only thing you can do. When you see someone who is injured. When you happen upon a person in 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 it’s not working

When you know the uphill battle is not getting easier. When you know the problem account has no solutions and will never become better. When you know that stack of Hungarian Pinot Noir was a bad sell or a bad buy. When you know the organization you are working with or for is getting more Read More…

Tug of War

Watching a tug of war match is great fun. Two individuals or teams, if evenly matched, give it their all. Sweat, power, energy, and eventually a winner. But think about this: tug of war only works if both sides are trying hard. If one side didn’t pull, then what’s the point? If the other didn’t Read More…

A challenge for today

I have a challenge for you. It has to be done by the end of the day. You’re responsible for it yourself, and only yourself. No bosses or managers to report to. No spouse or significant other to check in with when complete. Ready? Here you go: today’s challenge is to develop a challenge for 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…

Nothing is impossible

This was the great lesson of Apollo 11. Yes it may take 400,000 people. Yes it may take over $25 billion dollars. But the great lesson of late July 1969 is that we are allowed to think bigger than we ever thought possible. And this great lesson can pare down to each of us and Read More…

Is Wine an Experience Good?

In economics, an experience good is a product that can only be evaluated after experiencing it. The other two categories are a search good, where an item is fully evaluated prior to purchase (think clothing), and credence claims which are difficult to impossible to evaluate or measure accurately even after consumption or purchase (think legal 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…