What are the pillars of a functioning account run? Does comfort exist?
You are working a group of accounts where (ideally) momentum is building, and there is no longer the time to do the opening account dance that you did before. Your accounts have needs.
If you want to get to dialogue and make waves, below are some guideposts that lead to a functioning account run.
You need diverse accounts to sell a diverse portfolio. Don’t get hedged to one big account, one superstar producer, or one buyer. Your goal should be a broad spectrum of accounts without spreading you thin.
Shape not Graph
Look at your run like a shape, not a graph.
I don’t mean ignore metrics, I mean step away and look at it like an abstract shape that is continuously changing, because it is. Buyer turnover combined with the relationship-driven nature of the market equals immense volatility*. It is a constantly changing shape, so treat it as such.
Always. Be. Opening.
Opening accounts will never stop. Get used to it. It bears repeating: you have to feed your account run with new projects and help them grow organically. At the same time, you must protect your time, so don’t go around opening accounts as if you were at the beginning. Look at what is interesting to you first.
Know which wines you represent that garner attention, and which should garner more. Also, know where the deep well is in your portfolio for lots of regular wine.
You must have a working perspective of what you offer from the viewpoint of the wine director. If approached correctly, this can really increase the dialogue and in turn, run up the numbers…
Know the market better than anyone else. Know it as if your very relevance depends on it.
This is immense work, but worth more than what it takes to get there.
The better you know the market, the more clearly you see space, the more waves you make.
Stay in Contact
Find new and inventive ways to stay in touch regularly that isn’t an appointment. Do it in your way. It will be imperfect, so don’t worry about it. Just reach out.
At this point, you just can’t be around the way you were before. That bar you always went to, those in-store tastings you always did or those late night meetups — you will have to say No. Get used to it now and do it as gracefully as possible. Done properly with yourself and those you seek to serve will help, not hinder growth.
“ You must have a working perspective of what you offer from the perspective of the wine director. If approached correctly, this can really run up the numbers...
Find your “House Style” and lean in.
If you have things that differentiate you style-wise as a rep, do them more and/or make them more clear.
But at the same time, don’t get addicted to some ridiculous act* that is fabricated. That will explode fast.
Sample less, dialogue more and you will gain trust.
I don’t mean allocate like a monster (unless, of course, your portfolio demands it). Be forward about what you believe in within your portfolio. Anticipate needs and tell the truth.
You have been sampling too much. I guarantee you have thrown a grenade in a lake in the hope it hits something. What if you couldn’t sample anything? What would you do? Think about this right now.
Some reps obsess about their daily numbers and others sit in the park and take orders. While I don’t identify with either of these approaches, I find comfort in the fact that I know who I am serving and that I am actively trying to do it better than I did it before. I sleep at night because I know what all this is for. Try and find that for yourself and you will find comfort. Perfection is fucking boring and not memorable. Remember that when something goes wrong.
*an unfortunate by-product of this is that you may be down in accounts sometimes (shocker! be prepared for questions: management generally looks at your run through the reds and blacks on a page). Accounts ebb and flow. Shit runs out. If you are paying attention, the downturn of accounts is less painful.
*sidenote: I am noticing that some reps are choosing the A-hole vibe as an attention grabber style. Do not make this choice unless you are actually an asshole (Being honest is different than being an asshole).