Sales Trip: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
I'm still chuckling. Apparently that last post had quite a few of you fooled! I've never been all that good at telling jokes, so I must admit I'm feeling pretty smug right now.
I'm also still licking my wounds. This is not due to overindulgence or a lack of sleep but rather, the generally depressing sentiment that envelops me after I've been making endless sales presentations and account calls on a business trip. If you work in the industry, you know what I mean.
Because, there is just SO much wine out there, it's mind numbing. Even the tiny 500 case, uber-boutique-y, ultra expensive brands are coming out of the woodwork to sell their products. Brands from all over the world vying for the same few spots on a wine list menu or retail store shelf. Wine salesmen lined up to see the same wine buyer. And that nagging sense of what can I possibly say that will make a difference??? Because, these days, it's not about the product itself. Or about wine quality. Or about how something tastes or matches up with food. It's about who has the most compelling story and the best deal.
This last trip, I tried a new angle. Inspired by my 11 year old's propensity to invent words, I expanded my lexicon to include spiffy new adjectives like "Fumelicious" and "Zintastic." I proudly touted our wine's food friendliness with such delicacies as "slow roasted grasshoppers and wild braised pig's ears." I even tried embellishing on the terroir angle to drive home my point. "The alluvial soils in the Dry Creek Valley were hand deposited by God himself "
This new sales approach served two purposes: 1. To keep a smile on my face 2. To see if what I said made much of a difference. In other words, does anyone really care??? The results were conclusive. No matter how authentic our story or how good our wines, selling wine today has very little to do with quality, consistency or even scores. It's become a minefield of brands all doing battle for the same elusive sale. A war of wines, if you will. Personally, I'm bracing myself for a long tough road ahead.
Footnote: Brands keep popping up daily. In Dry Creek Valley, there are 4 new wineries alone in the pre-building planning stages.
This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine industry...so sit back, take a sip and enjoy!
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