Six Habits of the Best Wine Sales Reps

The best wine sales reps have routines and habits that set them apart from others. Let’s dive into six of the most essential.

The best wine sales reps know the power of a positive attitude
It’s sales 101 to leave your emotions and opinions at the door, but I’m constantly amazed at how often this is forgotten in the wine sales world. A buyer doesn’t want to hear about your cat’s cancer, or your son’s bad grades, or your achy back, or your low sales last month, or the pressure your boss is putting on you, or (especially) your thoughts about leaving your job.

What they NEED from you is breath of fresh air, a positive attitude, and optimism. When you walk into the account, they should see you and immediately know what you’ll bring some cheer to their life. The sales will naturally follow.

The best wine sales reps keep secrets, don’t babble, and don’t gossip
Being the gossipmonger is social cancer in a sales job. If you’re the one talking about other accounts to your buyers, or about competitor’s sales reps getting DUIs, or the restaurant that is behind on their bills, or the details of why a sales manager was shown the door, then you’re playing the amateur’s game.

Be a professional. Know what to say and what not to say.

This isn’t 8th grade, and you shouldn’t be talking about others behind their back.

The best wine sales reps map out their calendar carefully
Knowing who you’re meeting with and when is essential to success. Whether you meet with a buyer every week, every other week, or once a month, a great sales rep has it mapped out. She should be able to declare “Oh, the Tuesday after next? I start at 9 am at Bob’s Wine Shop, then continue onto …”

More on designing and mapping out a territory schedule in the future. We have a neat course coming up on this topic.

The best wine sales reps sell by educating
“We’ve never talked about the wine regions around Lisbon. We only have two wines from there, both of which we’ll taste, but let’s start with a map …”

“Here’s a juicy article from the New York Times about Mourvedre. Pay attention to the second to last paragraph which I circled, and let’s taste this Bandol.”

“I’m going to leave behind this article from GuildSomm about the differences between Loire Chenin and South African Chenin. Your new hire said she loves Chenin Blanc, so be sure to give this to her. And hey, here’s a couple for us to taste right now!”

The best wine sales reps see selling as a continuous conversation, rather than singular meetings
“Last week we talked about re-shaping the Pinot Noir section, so I brought a few ideas for us to try … next week let’s focus on Sauvignon Blanc to get ready for the upcoming warmer weather.”


“Try this. What do you think? I need to sell some.”

Lastly, the best wine sales reps are consistent
Maybe a rep responds to all emails twice a day, once in the AM and once in the PM … but they do it consistently (this can even be added to an email signature, “I check emails at 9 am and 3 pm daily. If this is an urgent matter, please text me.”)

Maybe a rep responds to texts regularly, at least until 6 pm when it’s family time … but they do it consistently.

Maybe a rep sends a weekly email with updates that all of her customers need to know … consistently every Monday at 9 am.

Maybe a rep comes into the retailer, immediately checks for breakage, checks the cold box, checks the shelves, dusts off a few bottles, hangs a few shelf-talkers, and only then starts the sales meeting with the buyer … but does the exact same routine every time she walks in.

Regardless of what it is they do, a sales rep that is consistent is a treasure.

An inconsistent sales rep is a nightmare.