A wine sales rep is in a special job with some particular leverage advantages.
Service-based businesses trade time for money. A hairstylist cannot make money unless he cuts your hair. A therapist cannot bill the insurance company unless she has a client and an appointment with them. A tree trimmer need to trim a tree to make cash flow.
So when you’re a wine sales rep serving your customer (through staff training, in-store tastings, cleaning bottles on a shelf, running a will call, etc.) you are trading the one resource you can’t replace (time) for value (money).
But product-based businesses can scale without impacting the time equation. Through no extra infrastructure or effort, Amazon can sell more of a particular widget by simply getting more orders. With no extra time spent, a Girl Scout can sell more cookies by simply setting up on a busy street corner in the city, as opposed to a small town in the country. Restaurants, with the same staff working the same hours, sell more stuff by joining the food delivery gig economy.
So for a wine sales rep, if you’re at an account and at the end of the sales presentation and order taking the buyer suddenly says, “Ah, heck, double the whole order!” you not only say thank you, but you made twice as much in commission with no extra time spent. That’s the product-based side of our business. Time is not a factor, but growth still occurs.
So the curious position a wine sales rep finds herself in is this: there is a service
So why do so many wine sales reps sabotage their potential product growth under the guise of customer service?
Of course, clients have to be served.
How to scale up: Grow the products by maximizing your sales techniques, account analysis, and targeting strategically. Then grow the products more by learning to sell better. Then when it comes to service (trading time for money) be radical in your detail, your justifications, and your ability to say no.
It’s the only healthy way to grow.