Playing the long game

As a wine sales rep, how far out do you think, plan, organize, and set goals?

The answer to that question might very well depend on who you work for. Some wholesalers are notorious for shifting territories around, pulling accounts from one rep and giving them to the other, all under the notion that it keeps “fresh energy flowing” or some version thereof. Any rep that works for a company that plays three card monte with their sales force is bound to develop a habit of playing the short game, jamming as many cases at possible into as many accounts as possible in order to grab the quick sale because for all they know, they are going to lose that account tomorrow.

But here is what is odd: the wine sales reps that work for smarter wholesalers, the ones that guarantee their territory and work with them on constant growth and long term planning, sometimes fall victim to the short game mentality too. They see reps from other (often larger) distributors getting the ‘big drop’ and ‘sucking up all the buying power of my account.’ So they respond by becoming more like the short game players. They push too hard. They get frustrated. They go negative. They show emotion. They dream of making that big drop themselves.

In the end, it’s the long game players that will win, always. Selling five cases a week like a steady heartbeat is far more sustainable than selling fifty cases five times a year. The secret, if you’re trying to play the long game, is to recognize that when those ‘big drops’ happen it rarely impacts your business in a negative way. In fact, no matter what, it will help. If that pile of wine sells fast then your account has more cash to spend on you. If it sells slow (like really slow) it only reinforces to the buyers that they made a bad decision and should work more with sales reps playing the long game.

For true success, and to build something remarkable in your sales territory, always play the long game.

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