Over a coffee a few weeks ago, a good friend and wine director gave me a gift. He asked me if I had seen a 2011 released documentary on Neopolitan tailoring called o’mast and recommended I see it as soon as possible. At the time I didn’t realize that this movie was the key to opening my eyes – the playbook of an Artisan Salesperson* on film.
That night, I watched o’mast, and I have been incredibly inspired ever since.
It is filled with older Italian tailors speaking in dialect, stunning sartorial stories and a Jazz soundtrack framed within the beauty of Naples, Italy.
For those that know me, it is not shocking that I loved this movie. But looking beyond the obvious, this movie is about the mastery of a craft. Mastery accomplished through a rigorous and thoughtful quest – and even further, the profound pursuit of what I would call the Artisan Salesperson*. This is a concept I am obsessed with.
I have never seen laid out so clearly what I believe is the absolute best way to sell wine and spirits in NYC today (what I attempt every day, and fail often in the pursuit of). These craftsmen are onto something and if you really listen, the properties of a spectacular, genuine salesperson are woven into the stories these men tell.
Artisan Sales – the starting point
Listen more, talk less
This is where to start, and I don’t mean it as literally as it reads.
There is no craft you can do without it. Without passion for some elemental aspect of wine or spirits sales, you will wither and/or burn out in a flash.
Don’t say yes all the time.
Sales without tension is boring and dismisses the elemental part of choice that has to be there in any real relationship. Look at the computerized automatic check out line… That is the left turn to meaningless. You don’t want to do that — you need to engage. And the act of saying no sometimes helps.
Imperfection is interesting
One of my heroes, Seth Godin, famously said (and wrote): Perfection is Boring.
Admittedly, I struggle with this, but you don’t have to. Accept that mistakes and imperfection are not only a given but opportunities. They are never the indication of an imminent death or absolute failure. In one of my favorite moments in the movie, one of the tailors says that you need imperfection in a jacket or it is lacking. Exactly.
“ In the craftsmen’s language, O’mast is the man in charge, the master. He is the one that really knows the craft.
Dialogue wins over any product.
If you have a good dialogue with your client, you can have a real conversation. It takes zero dialogue to sell a wine or spirit everyone wants, that requires little to no nuance. Having the real dialogue helps connect customers to things they didn’t know they wanted. It also requires genuine honesty.
Again and again and again. “Make,” “practice” or “do” the act of sales so often that the very action requires attention to detail, but no strain. Then, and only then, can you tune your attention towards the people you seek to serve.
I would recommend o’mast to anyone who is interested in the qualities of an Artisan Salesperson. Watch it now, there is a free link below. It is all there, you just have to notice it. And if you don’t want to go that deep, no big deal. It is still a beautiful documentary.
Artisan Salesperson – A salesperson that is committed to the craft of sales and places practice, service, detail, respect, and honor into every element of the work. The artisan salesperson pursues mastery, with the knowledge that mastery will not be attained.
I am defining this today acknowledging that it must evolve.