Thursday, October 7, 2010

The thundering herd, all racing to the middle

As a wine sales professional, how do you measure your success? By not catching anyone's ire? By flying under the radar? By comfortably showing up to your accounts every day, chitchatting about the weather, punching in at 10:30 and out by 4:30. It may seem good enough, but it's not.If this sounds like you, you are an order taker.

*Broad generalization alert*
I am noticing more and more, sales reps using each other as the barometer of success. They are running the race like it's a marathon, just trying to stay with the pace. When they start losing placements, the buyers become "idiots". They aren't sampling every day, and when they do, it's obviously items that are on goal and have no rhyme or reason for that account. Incidentally-it's a lot easier to fulfill goals when they sample everyday, and sprinkle them into their usual presentations, this way it won't look suspicious. If they follow the lead of the pack, then not only will they never be in control of their business, they cease to be assets and become neutral, or a liability to their accounts. This business isn't a marathon, every placement is a sprint. It's not difficult to be excellent.

There always have been plenty of salespeople out there driving their company cars with their antiquated palm pilots. Mostly, they aren't really very happy about their role in this mortal coil. You don't need to follow them to the middle. You are selling wine! I can't overemphasize how cool this is. It's not easy, but if you can stay motivated, and your own toughest critic, you can excel. I mean, you already know what the standard is, and you should be able to easily exceed it.


  1. Great insight, thanks for that, and I have shared it with the wholesale people that do the hard work for me as an import supplier. Sadly, I think that many out there would choose to be better than the marathon runner, but their wholesaler-employers keep them dumbed-down; goal items are corporate directives, display requirements and incentives are connected only to the same old everyday plonk, precious open shelf placements need to be filled with that 14th malbec that had a magazine ad last that even high-minded dreamer salespeople are eventually squelched into job preservation by the great gatekeepers of our business, the industrial park delivery service distributors that merchandise what is already selling, and really build nothing in terms of new, refreshing, dare I say exciting, wines.

    Retailers and restauranteurs need to be their allies, in keeping an open place in their mind and their order list, finding (within reason, of course) the patience to taste something that seems an offbeat waste of time without making them feel like idiots themselves for bringing it - and inevitably stumbling upon a few gems that really do deserve a shot. The more they see that their risks might be rewarded, the more they will wake up ready to sprint that day!

  2. I completely agree. There is no room for order takers. If you are not passionate about what you are selling and why you are selling it then what is the point?