Friday, June 17, 2011

Affirmation Society

Political talk radio, opinioned bloggers (ahem), sports talk, all are seemingly controversial, however, the reason for their existence is they make people feel better about themselves. As we form opinions, we lack confidence to make those opinions into conviction immediately. It takes time for these ideas and opinions to become part of our fabric. Pundits that say what we are thinking help us to become more confident in these fledgeling beliefs, until we feel that our opinions are fully affirmed. The rate of this transformation is more about our own self-confidence than the conviction of the person delivering the message.

Now place this in the context of a wine salesperson. Let's assume that most wine salespeople know how to talk the talk, but few reach a point that they have confidence in a vacuum. In other words, their affirmation comes from other sources as well. The further you go into this industry, the easier it is to be intimidated by very knowledgeable and loud (or even worse, knowledgeable and quiet) buyers, suppliers, etc. The lower our confidence (which is different from knowledge), the more we need affirmation to give confidence.

We all hate scores. We all rail against bias, ad selling glossies, smokers palates, etc, it's a very tired topic. Fine, and as much as I hate press, I love it for selling wine. I'm not talking about selling to accounts or consumers. It also works on reps, in fact, it probably works more on sales reps than anyone. As a supplier, it's important for the rep to have total and utter faith in you product. Absent of existing sales and momentum,I can't always just tell someone that I have great wines. Sometimes I need back up or affirmation. The best place to find that is in those loathed glossies. Once a rep starts to get confidence in the wine, they carry themselves differently, they are prouder and can now use this new-found conviction to help affirm the next person's belief.

1 comment:

  1. Adam,

    Funny that there was a Jack Handey reference from a Vintank employee yesterday.

    In any case, I agree with you. Fundamental belief in ones product is key to the confidence to sell it. The belief/confidence can be propped up by press, one wider tasting in the world, or simply experience to understand wine Quality (intentional cap). Once a sales person believes in the wine they don't need any more of the props, unless asked why they believe in it.

    I think you referenced this earlier about how does a supplier get a sales rep to be their "agent" in the market. The plan you lay out is just another step in the process.