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“For me the sales rep is my best friend”, Stephen Fahy, Senior Buyer, The Wine Library at the Conference for Alcohol and Beverage Import and Distribution hosted by Beverage Trade Network.
It is always a conundrum when one is encountered with a completely new sales rep in the winery business. Ofcourse, your business is going to depend on this person, and it is obviously not unknown in the wine industry that a single sales rep, one that is successful would definitely deal with multiple sales rep accounts of multiple brands and labels. So how does one judge to quickly decipher the best from the good ones or from the point of view of a wine sales rep how does one become an exceptional wine sales rep?
A disinterested or to put it in simple words a boring sales rep is not going to crack a deal for you when he/she stands against a passionate one that actually wants it. A sales rep with passion, talent and the hunger for it will truly put in everything for you, to close that deal for you. Making your account owner i.e. client feel that you are working everything possible for him/her and not leaving any stone unturned to close deals for the account is one of the various aspects that will help you make your space in a crowd full of wine sale reps.
Rapport doesn’t always mean access. But a good rapport is certainly a potential access into building a better relationship with the account and assuring him/her a constant flow of business. This is also not only to understand that whether you hunger for wanting that big or small account, it’s also what you are willing to do in order to get it.
As Stephen Fahy rightly says, “If I am a buyer who likes to read trashy romance novels, go ahead and pick up a book, read a part of it, and go ahead and talk to me about that trashy romance novel”.
Don’t make it look like a strategy and build a relationship, because you only need an in into the buyer’s life once. One has to engage with the buyer and captivating his/her energies is critical to be able to frequently converse with him/her. If you keep your conversations limited to speaking about wines, there is easily going to be someone who replaces you, maybe because of a personal rapport or anything else. It is always great to not just handshake and keep conversations business, knowing them a little deeper always helps.
Now if you are working professional as a wine sales rep, you must first of all be easily able to identify between money and a waste of time. Building a relationship and rapport with a person takes weeks, maybe even a couple of months at times. Even if you click on a day, it’s continuing that and sustaining that click that takes time and effort. So, if you are putting in the hours towards the wrong person or an account that you have no shot at, or will never give you any returns whatsoever and there maybe several reasons to that from anywhere between the wine’s name, taste, label, integrity of the buyer, already established sales rep, etc.
As already mentioned, a lot counts on the rapport between account and his/her sales rep, so, while some accounts don’t give the authority to a sales to rep to take the final call and retain that with themselves, some based on their relationship with their sales rep completely rely on his / her judgment only. We all know constantly pitching opportunities is what makes an exceptional sales rep, but in situations wherein a sales rep understands the urgency to act before an opportunity is lost is the one who will certainly be viewed apart.
Yes, a sales rep needs to keep him in the shoes of the account and act on behalf of it. We all tend to become a true creative when it comes to our own problems. An exceptionally successful sales rep will always unquestionably understand and pitch solutions pro-actively. For closing a deal (big or small) nearly everything needs to be speckless and spot on without the slightest hiccups that segue the deal towards a cancellation or a damaged reputation, since if that happens, it is not only the account that takes the hit, it is also its sales rep that takes a major beating on his/her credibility.
There are ofcourse many more basic qualities that haven’t been included on this list since they are a given; qualities like confidence, a good palate, polite, one who understands the market, and honesty among other things. Sometimes all it takes is a single closing for an account that could tag you an exceptional wine sales rep, while sometimes it takes multiple closings to reach to those peaks.