Setting the right goals

It isn’t good to say “I’ll sell more wine.”

Goals without structure, steps, and accountability are fantasies. And the problem with fantasies is that it’s too easy to walk away from them when it’s obvious you’re not going to achieve them.

Setting the right goals in the right way is one of the most powerful tools that you have, because setting goals the right way shows you a path, gives you a map, and keeps you on target.

What are ‘the right goals?’ Here is an example.

A retailer is showing potential for growth. They are investing in their store, cleaning things up, and they just hired a new assistant manager who doesn’t know much about wine but you get along with her and she is enthisicastic.

Your analysis of the store shows that five of your top ten retail items (by velocity/volume) are not in the shop. You have shown them to the buyer in the past, but with this new manager on board, you see the potential for new energy.

The goal is set: get three of the five wines placed by the end two months. Based on data you created from similar accounts, that should send your average weekly order from 7 cases to 10.

So you break it down further: when are you going to show those wines, how will you present them, how will you price them, and what will be the objections? Get your calendar out and map it. What wines, when, why, what you will say, and the follow-up. This is important stuff. If by planning a bit and setting a goal you could potentially raise sales in one account by 20% in a matter of weeks, then you should treat it as a priority.

You order your samples but intentionally don’t bring them in right away. You start to drop hints to the retailer. “The new vintage of such and such is showing so well … I’ll bring a bottle by next week. It got just placed by the glass at four restaurants around town … here’s an article from the Times that mentions them …”

You’re planting seeds.

The next week, before going in to show the wines, you pause in your car. You go over your game plan. You anticipate the objections. You’re ready to answer anything.

You present the wines, you sell with a focus on business and profitability, keeping your somm ego in check. You get good feedback, but like most presentations, it ends with “Okay, we’ll consider it.”

That’s okay, because you anticipated that moment. You know what to do because it was in your goal setting plan. You pivot to a one time deal, bringing in some free goods and offering to do an in-store tasting if they buy in the next week and also put the two whites in the cold box (never give away something for free … the cold box is a great ask because it give your wine more value in the store without the buyer needing to spend more). The new manager brings some enouragement. “I like these wines a lot.”

And … they buy. All five wines.

Your sales go up 50% in the store, with an average weekly order of 12 cases plus an even better relationship. Because they are some of your most popular and proven wines, they take off and become a fixture in the store. Three years later they are still there, functioning as an annuity for you.

And that new assistant manager? She helped you make that placement, she takes pride in what she helped bring in and eagerly sells it to many of her customers. What you helped her achieve made her look better in her job. And after a couple of years she’s the buyer, and bringing in even more wines from your portfolio.

All of this happened because you set a goal, mapped out the plan, approached it strategically and methodically, and achieved it.

OR … you can do what every other rep does. Sample out a bunch of wine, pour it for the buyer, and simply hope for the best.

Your choice.

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