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In fact, you need not know THAT much about wine to be able to sell it successfully, but a few "smarts" in the sales department are certainly helpful! We have a few customers who shop here regularly that are employed by NASA. They might actually be able to sell more if they have good product knowledge. We have seen, however, the sales rep who is knowledgeable and passionate about wine has become a thing of the past. The best way to learn about wine is by tasting it.
Some sales reps routinely congregate and participate in blind-tastings. Some of them even come to our little tasting sessions, seeking to learn more about wine.
Living in Northern California affords people the opportunity to go visit wineries and, hopefully, to taste at the source. There are plenty of good books that are clearly written and can be very helpful to those looking for fountains of wine knowledge. Here are some suggestions: It is very basic, but well done.
You can get a good over-view of every major wine-producing area, as well as lots of minor locales. All you have to do is check to see if we need to reorder your merchandise and bring in wines from good producers, open the bottles, pour the wine for us and answer this question: A gal who called on us a decade ago made contact via Facebook He worked for a small distributor whose owner is a bit disorganized, to be polite.
The sales rep finally grew weary of the unstable pricing policies of the boss and he moved on. Even more sadly, not many reps are schooled in "sales. We were visited by a winery rep from an estate that by-passes a traditional distributor, selling its offerings directly to stores and restaurants.
We asked what she knew of our account and she said "I have sales information going back 6 to 12 months. She then realized that maybe it would be a good idea for the company to provide more information on each account. When she visited all the accounts in her territory, she found they even had a gas station buying their wines.
A new rep took over for an old pro. She came to the shop and introduced herself. We asked her to check on pricing of a few items as we were ready to place an order. Well, we may simply need to discontinue that item. He simply handed her some sales catalogues and said "Go out and sell! The old pro showed her how to access the various pricing schemes scheme being a good term in this instance and the various wines from that company will remain in our shop.
The large firms expect their reps to call on most accounts on a "regular" basis. Some reps consider a "regular" basis to be once a month or every other month. This gets you "known" to the buyer and staff members. After two or three months and your first few sales , you ought to have a handle on the frequency of sales calls required.
There are reasons to do this, certainly, but a rep might find it a good idea to keep "planting seeds" in barren ground because you never know when some business might start to sprout and blossom into something equally successful. A successful sales rep suggested knowing the "rhythm" of the account. When you first get your sales job, you should contact the buyer. Doing this in person is a good idea, as it will take the buyer several visits before they even remember your name and what company you are affiliated with.
We received a call from a rep who introduced herself on the phone, taking over from the previous guy. He made but one call here and made a nice sale, too. Three weeks after the "new" rep has phoned, we still have not met her face-to-face. She sent along a fax telling about some promotional pricing. We called to ask if she was planning to stop by. She was and arrived a few hours later. Busy working on a project, I was summoned by the staff here to meet the new rep. This made a wonderful impression.
One fellow shows up sporadically. One year he did not pay a single visit to our account during the Christmas holidays.
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When queried he said "Parking is such a hassle during the holidays, so I try to stay at home! Parenthetically, during the course of the holiday season, this same rep was more difficult to find than Osama Bin Laden.
During the Christmas season, this fellow was, as usual, nowhere to be found. The fellow works for another wine company these days We saw this character once in early and then while we were out of town in, say, March of that year. We were sold out of an item in early April which we had floor-stacked.
We did not hear from this guy until July! Happily we found a similar maybe slightly better quality item and have since replaced that stack. The rep whose stack it is now comes to the shop every week without fail! He deserves the business! A new sales rep was dragged in by the "boss" of a small distributorship or brokerage.
They have all kinds of expensive wines masquerading as something special or exclusive. He handed us a current catalogue and we expressed interest in a handful of items. This fellow DID finally show up. Four weeks later and we were busy with a marketing seminar for some students from France.
A sales rep from a local distillery stopped by one day. We expressed interest in some new offerings she was hoping to show. There was one sales rep ahead of her and we were quickly wrapping up that visit. The distillery lady grew impatient after about 10 minutes, came to the counter and said "Here are some informational sheets about our new products.
She did not indicate that she had to run off to an appointment she did not call ahead to say she was coming here, by the way. She just popped in.
Never saw her again. A sales rep for a local importer showed us a half a dozen wines. We were checking the current inventory of his products and he asked if we wanted "to do anything. We waited a few minutes, expecting he would return. Finally we went out the front door to see if he was still here.
He drove off, missing the placement of one of his wines and not taking a reorder for other products. We often see sales reps driving up to our front door and availing themselves of a vacant parking space. If you are parked there, where does a paying customer park? We are often viewed with disdain by sales reps when we ask them to be more considerate of our customers.
Imagine if a restaurant parking lot was filled with cars from the owner of the place, the chef and kitchen crew, wait staff, dish-washers, etc. Where are the customers supposed to park if the parking is taken up by staff members? We routinely hear from customers "I tried stopping by the other day, but there was no parking on your block!
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Ten minutes later, a sales rep pulls in front and she puts a couple of coins in the meter and rolls in with her bag of tricks. The one I put money in? One sales rep from a large, liquor-oriented house did not make sales calls for several weeks. We politely asked him "How was your vacation? He might have done well to tell us he was leaving for vacation and with whom to place orders during his absence.
Of course, this is crediting the fellow with more smarts than he possesses! I noticed a sales rep in the doorway one busy day and was glad to see him, since we needed a few of his wines.
Much later in the day we realized we had not caught up with this fellow and so we called. His boss was coming to town and they wanted to showcase their wines in the company of good food. It seems his week with the boss was an adequate excuse for not stopping by or even picking up the phone as he usually does anyway to see if we need to replenish any of his products. One rep with a spotty attendance record took an 18 case order on day.
We had some of his wines in our newsletter. He did not show up to see the buyer for more than a month when we sent his firm an e-mail suggesting "regular" sales calls, either weekly or every-other-week.
In an attempt to gently spur him into regular sales calls, we put his picture on the side of a milk carton. Happily this guy has a good sense of humor and got a chuckle out his his new-found notoriety. One sales rep has a routine litany of excuses as to why he cannot make his weekly sales call.
One day I was intending to survey the staff to elicit their "bets" as to whether or not one of these would come into play that week. His boss was amused by the frequent citation of "corked wine" as a reason not to come by, saying "Gee, half the sample bottles I just gave him have screw caps! But some buyers DO have appointments.
The rep did not call, either. Since then, this fellow has not purchased, nor will he purchase, any wines from that particular winery.