Tradecraft: Sustainable Sales Success Lessons in the Beverage Arena
Very early on, I was lucky enough to run into some of the truly great Jedi salespeople in NYC. These craftspeople knew that longevity didn’t mean Foreau, foie gras, and four negroni lunches. They helped me succeed with simplicity.
Take these to heart and go make waves.
“Don’t take this too seriously.” – Dan Lerner
Wine taken too seriously is a farce and beyond boring. Dan Lerner said something like this to me at the Core Club in 2008 and it was an over-the-shoulder bullseye. Remember this: If you make beverage sales your life, it will take your life.
“Take care of your relationships at home. It’s a lot harder if that isn’t working.” – John Coyle
If you do not give care to your home relationships, your family, and those around you in your daily life, the beverage game gets incredibly hard, super fast. Imagine being out to dinner with buyers of the opposite sex and not having trust at home. It will crush you. I actually have come to take this as a credo in life in general. Chaos without care at home makes everything harder.
“That isn’t real wine.” – Michael Wheeler
I was out on a tear one night and I ended up at Blue Hill in Manhattan during their last call and I ran into Wheeler and Phil Sareil. I bought a bottle and Wheeler said it wasn’t real wine – as in, it wasn’t a wine of substance, terroir, or nature. Whether I believe he was right or wrong (he was most likely right) is of no importance. Wheeler taught me at that moment that putting wine in buckets is a hard habit to break. I had put the wine in question into a box that I believed he would agree with and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Context matters. Understanding comes with experience and seeing wine as more than the tech info checklist or tribe that promotes it is vital. It’s easy to like what other people like. But it may be a bucket of fake frosty cake that may not be what you think it is.
“Never open a bottle for a closed mind.” – Robert Chadderdon via Christopher Russell
I think about this one often. You don’t need to push, you need to connect. A lot of wine has been wasted on folks that will never give it the time of day in the name of the appointment or the new sales blitz. To have a strong, curious perspective about what you present and don’t present is empowering. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer.
“Why would we want to do what everyone else is doing?” – Naomi Rosen
You don’t have to be like everyone else. You don’t have to say what everyone else says. Naomi has her own style, sense of clarity, curiosity, and immense charm. She approaches her work as a meaningful specific. Consider doing your own personal version of this as a practice.
“Orders only matter if you have dialogue, and philosophy over numbers.” – Looper
You need a philosophy.
I specifically think one night when I realized that I had sold 175k in a week with no connection whatsoever. Zero dialogue. I could have been an order machine. Avoid this dynamic as if you mean it. Find a philosophy that you can hang your hat on every day no matter how much or little you sell and you will find much more clarity in what you do.