Most wine sales reps don’t do it for the money. There is surprisingly little money in the wine business. Yes, income can be stable, but you’ll never strike it rich.
And wine sales reps shouldn’t do it for the fame. There’s no fame in wine sales. There’s a little bit of stardom for some sommeliers, but that’s about it. If a person goes into wine sales with the goal of being in the next SOMM movie, they will be disappointed.
And there is no way wine sales reps do it for the security of a job, because the wine industry is ever changing and dominated by big players that can change a market instantly. Consolidation is rampant. The ground is always shifting.
So why do wine sales reps do what they do?
That’s the big question.
Being respected is a higher goal for many. The kind of respect that comes from results, not just words. And being respected is something you can take with you to another sales job or another profession. It also makes for a satisfying feeling at the end of a long work day.
Personal growth is an important factor in anyone’s life, and luckily in the wine world there is always something more to learn. Crack open a book, pour a glass, and be smarter than you were this morning. Easy to do when your job is to know more and more about wine.
Independence is something many sales reps report as being the number one reason they do what they do. They’re not office people. They can’t clock in nine to five. They don’t want the water cooler small talk or to be on refrigerator duty every other week. They want to decide what is best for them on a daily basis (without filters or gatekeepers to go through), to plan their own routes and strategies, and to build and solidify relationships. To start the car in the morning and know they are in charge of themselves.
So let’s repeat.
Wines sales reps should not be in their job for the money, the fame, or the security.
You should be in it for respect, personal growth, and independence.
This is good to remember.