The irreplaceable placement

Many restaurants have one or two. Every retailer has six to twelve. They are the wines they cannot swap out, cannot consider getting rid of, and cannot possibly imagine life without.

They are the wines that customers would riot over losing access to. The wines that sell as regularly as a heartbeat.

They are the wines that define that restaurant or wine retailer. The irreplaceables.

How did they get there? What makes an irreplaceable placement made?

It’s not the energy of the buyer or the decision maker that makes it irreplaceable. It’s rarely the owner. It’s rarely a manager. It’s definitely not a shelf-talker or a line on the menu.

What causes some wines to grow roots to the point that they cannot be replaced is the staff. The people that put the wine in the customer’s hands. The people that set the glass down and say “You’re going to love this.”

This is where staff training comes in, and not just any staff training. I’m talking hit-it-out-of-the-park staff training. And training with this much impact doesn’t come from a tech sheet, a taste, and four adjectives.

It comes from telling a story, telling it perfectly, and watching it spread.

A story about the property, the family, the people that made the wine. About their three-legged dog named Rex who, with enough practice, has learned how to poke a bouncing basketball with his nose and about one of ten attempts makes the shot. It’s about the little house on the property where grandma Mimi lived to be 105 and cooked the big meal for the harvest crew every fall (oh and here’s the recipe for her baked tomatoes). It’s about the penniless immigrant who was able to sharecrop a corner of a vineyard and through frugality and persistence now has ten acres and his own wine label, twenty years since smuggling his family to a better life.

Storytelling is an art. Sales is an art. Storytelling mixed with sales is a superpower.

More soon on learning to tell stories. Stories that make placements grow roots and become cornerstones that can never be moved.

In the meantime, take note of the irreplaceables in the accounts you call on. Ask the manager. They know which ones they are.

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