Want to know how to begin with a start-up account run as a wine sales rep? Read this.
So you got the job. You know which accounts you have, so now all you have to do is go sell. Sounds easy, right? Nope – stop for a moment.
What does success look like as a sales rep? What does it feel like? What are you doing this for? Really picture it. Now write it down and put a date.
The goal may evolve, but put it in writing and have it handy. And don’t just put a random sales number…in this case, numbers are often empty.
You are going to have immense challenges at the beginning and are going to have to remind yourself of your personal goal.
The tendency for startup salespeople is to either throw a grenade in a lake, run around like a chicken with your head cut off and rush it, or just sit in front of a computer, plan all day – and then never do anything.
Hopefully, after reading the below, you won’t do either.
When I was starting out and the economy was tanking, a manager told me that a certain account was a “colossal waste of time.”
Thankfully, I didn’t listen. That single account opened me up to a whole neighborhood and group of buyers that thrived through the economic meltdown.
People in our business hold onto old stories. Further, most people who are going to give you advice about this haven’t done what you have to do. And if they did, it has been awhile…it ain’t current.
Take all advice with a grain of salt.
Now, take the run and get it organized. If you “goose it” to organize it by number in excel, so be it. These numbers lie and they don’t hold answers, only hints at the picture of the account at one time.
Separate all the bad payer accounts, you should know them from the interview process.
Your job is to connect.
I just called, to say…
Get to know the buyers.
Pick up the phone, email, show up, reach out a hand, whatever you have to do.
You must to go out, look in their eyes, or at the very least, you want to hear their voice.
Go with an introduction over an “appointment.” I have a strong opinion: avoid the word appointment. It is a normal, overused and barely decent meaning word that actually means “waste of my time” to most buyers.
DO NOT CHEAT THE CONNECTION PROCESS.
Connecting with buyers is an imperfect science, so don’t think of it any other way. If you email once and then complain and call them a shithead for not emailing back, you are acting like a poser. Don’t do this, but do notice the reps that act like this and approach mimicking their tactics with extreme caution.
My point on the connection goal: Stay in it…everyone is short on time. Keep showin’ up.
My Simple Run Building Rhyme:
When in doubt,
go to the account.
Nothing is better than being in an account. There is no substitute. When you do meet buyers, look at what they do with the list and imagine why. Watch them taste wine, put yourself in their shoes, and have something to offer. Not just some random wine…a question – something to say or do that is worth remembering.
I once shook a prominent Somms’ hand several times so they would remember me as the “handshake guy.” Sales Reps all look the same to buyers focused on wine, don’t be the forgettable one.
As to offering something: In this market, many times wine “brands” lead buyers. If you have one you think fits into the “they would want this” bucket, have it ready and give it a shot.
“ Sales Reps all look the same to buyers that are focused on wine, don’t be the forgettable one.
I would consider adding new accounts with every extra minute while you are attending to your given run.
You must keep infusing with new leads and accounts. Get to know this process now like it is your job because guess what…it is your job, and in this volatile market that is NYC, new business searching will never end for you. This is one of the only true constants. Hang your hat on it now.
NOTE: I have to keep repeating this. Ignore trolling Eater for new accounts (the press for them is mostly bought and paid for). Walk neighborhoods at the end of the day and on weekends, i.e. the busy times. Pay attention to Eater, but don’t use it as the Bible. You will find gold, I promise.
The Selling Part
This is the toughest piece because it is impossible to not feel the pressure. Look to make little waves of sales, do it drip by drip, and allow yourself to make mistakes. Ignore other reps account runs (this is a jealousy trap) but learn from what they do. Some of my best accounts are accounts that were dead because no one looked at them seriously. They were not on any heatmap.
Anyone can get a big sale, but it takes grit and vision to get consistent sales.
You may get some one-night stand type sales, or you may get a Hail Mary touchdown – which will feel good – just don’t get addicted to it. That isn’t the game.
Keep making waves.
*big sidenote: if you don’t know the book of wines you are selling well, you need to solve that yesterday. I don’t mean knowing the tech sheets and being able to spout facts. I mean know why your book exists, what the producers have to say and the comparison in the market. Where do producers stack up in buyers’ eyes?