Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 2 things every rep can do to sell more wine

I work with nearly 100 sales reps on a regular basis. There is an alarmingly large proportion that don't do the 2 things that will help them to sell more wine. They are:

a) Ask for the sale. In an otherwise innocuous conversation, you may be compelled to be their friend before their rep. Make no mistake, you are there to sell wine, they are there to buy it. If you don't ask, they probably won't order it. This isn't selling something they don't want, it's not like not taking "no" for an answer. Pretend you're writing a "high school" paper and at the end of each meeting, you need to try to end with an "in conclusion" paragraph.
b) Reminders. Remember how you're there to sell wine? Sometimes your buyer likes something, and just isn't ready this week. They may ask you to remind them. Your odds of closing the sale are highest the day of the initial conversation, so try to do it then (see "a"), but if not, you'll need to remind them. I have always made it a habit of keeping the buyer reminded of all of the things they've liked. Organization and routine are key to this. I can't tell you how often I'll ride with a rep, and they'll be asked to remind the buyer. We'll get in the car, and the rep will assure me they'll close the deal next week when they remind them. I can always tell if they're telling the truth based on what they just reminded the buyer of. If they don't discuss previously tasted wines while I'm there, then the buyer's "remind me" answer became an automatic "no". While this can invariably be a cop out, sometimes, the buyer really needs a reminder. They may have 20 reps, it's hard to keep all of the slots straight. Your organization will be appreciated and rewarded.

These are 2 easy, routines to increase sales. They are usually a pretty good indicator of the level of sales training as well. It's nearly impossible to passively sell wine.


  1. Well said! A tried and true practice. I can't tell you how many times I've had a buyer say "Oh, I hoped you'd forget" after reminding them about their previous week's "remind me next week" and because I've reminded them they've almost always ordered. A majority think you'll forget, and it honestly throws them off guard and shows them how organized, thorough and ULTIMATELY how important the sell/placement is to you.

  2. You're spot on. Even for what we are doing with our project, we thought for sure buyers would "get it" and simply buy on principle. So many things seemed to be perfect for the targeted buyers and yet we were way too passive and were not getting the responses we expected. Once we "turned up the heat" in that we asked for the sale, and maybe even demanded the sale, we saw real progress and easy repeat purchases. It's tough out there. You've got to believe you have what they need to male a profit.