I’ve taken a long time away from writing on this blog because I thought I couldn’t say what I wanted without going really deep into what I do for a living. Someone smart told me that doesn’t matter if I add value to the people in my network. If you don’t know what I do, I am sure you can dig up enough research online. My purpose remains the same: I give people access to the best that life has to offer – particularly wines and spirits.
As a luxury professional specializing in the wine & spirits vertical, I have a strong talent for helping clients procure very expensive wines, which they don’t typically desire until they get to try them with me. Well, I can humbly tell you it’s not because of my looks and charm (that only worked on my wife… thank God she liked what I was selling). It’s because I have a very unique way of presenting rare wines and spirits – I tell stories and help my clients make memories.
My approach stems from a belief that most, if not all people, hate disappointment and failure. Think about it! Who wakes up in the morning and says “today I’m looking forward to failing?” Probably only the rare few that understand that failure is a pit stop on the way to success. However, most of us (even myself at times) dread failure, and its hard to coax ourselves out of those mental prisons that prevent us from fulfilling our potential, expressing true affection or a fashion sense, and even drinking good wine.
In the same way, many collectors hate failing when it comes to selecting wine for their palates and cellars. That’s why most consumers rarely “roll the dice” on a bottle of wine from an unknown producer, even if the wine is made from a varietal they like. They would rather buy the wine recommended by someone else (whose palate and preferences may sometimes differ from theirs).
So most often than not, they rely on the advice and selections from wine professionals like me. It’s unfortunate that I have to say this, but I think many wine pros focus so much on selling the brands that we represent, without any real consideration for where our clients are in their wine journey. We should be working on selling an experience and creating a memory they can remember and associate with our brands for the rest of their lives.
A better way to think about this is real estate.
So imagine you are an agent for a client looking for a three bedroom – two bath home on a half acre plot. Your client knows exactly what they want and probably how much they would like to pay (they might not know how much they will have to pay). Most agents would try their best to find exactly what the client wants.
I take a different approach.
I peel back the client’s expressed needs and expectations to identify their unexpressed desires. I “walk the block” with the client from where they are to show them where “they might want to be in the future.” As a result, I will show my client the five bedroom – three bath home on 10 acres with a little woodshed for him/her to make that custom furniture piece they’ve been trying to produce in their spare time. I don’t do that because I think they should buy a more expensive property. I do it because I want them to have a glimpse of an alternate future. I want to give them something to look forward to, so I capture them with a possible expression of their innate dreams. I may end up selling the customer exactly what they wanted to begin with – but guess who they rely on when they want to fulfil their ultimate vision…me!
We aren’t just chasing the status and social confirmation that our bank accounts and material possessions afford us. We are chasing the memories that make our lives rich and meaningful. Give your clients more than they ask for… give them all they could possibly want and help them build a vision for the future. I guarantee they’ll stick with you because you help them make memories.
I’ve ranted and gone around the block a couple times, but that’s consultative selling in a nutshell.
PS: I had a lot of fun writing this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Drink some good wine with someone you admire after this and I’m sure you’ll understand why I do my job so well. Today, someone whose mind I greatly admire received the Nobel Prize for his work in the field of Behavioral Economics. Irrational behavior and animal spirits are everywhere…. even in luxury and the business of alcohol.
6 thoughts on “Why We Hardly Take The Road Less Travelled – An Easy Primer on Collecting Wine.”
Outstanding article, Edmund. I have witnessed firsthand your passion for your customers, and came away extremely impressed with the approach that you outline in this article. I love to see someone who has aligned his passion with his talent! Keep up the great work!
Steve, thanks for the encouragement.
Excellent post, as always, Edmund! You’ve championed this style for quite some time. I remember you said something along the lines of: “I tend to pour the best wines/spirits first to show what’s possible/where we’re going.”
Typically, consumers throw out a budget number based on rational thinking. As we have experienced, that number can be raised if there’s an emotional attachment to the object they desire. It’s funny how quickly people come up with extra money or expand their budget after becoming emotionally attached to an object they desire. You can watch this play out on HGTV’s “House Hunters”. Here’s the premise of the show from its website: “House Hunters takes viewers behind the scenes as individuals, couples and families learn what to look for and decide whether or not a home is meant for them. Focusing on the emotional experience of finding and purchasing a new home, each episode shows the process as buyers search for a home.”
I cannot tell you how many times the house hunter(s) raised his or her budget after viewing the home that’s seemingly “out of their price range.”
Thanks again for the post!
Kurt, glad the post resonated with your experience. I hope more sales professionals take this “journey” approach because it’s going to be mean the difference between a good and bad sales consultant.
Great KRUG tasting at Cork’s. The wine was great, but you made the evening unforgettable and unique.
Thanks Jeff. Till the next time.