Why We Hardly Take The Road Less Travelled – An Easy Primer on Collecting Wine.

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.

dlp_5166 Edit

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.

Advertisements

Tesla Motors – Keeping up with the “Cool Factor”

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

If there is one thing I’ll keep doing as the publisher of L.I.L, it will be to bring “cool” things to your attention.

I am enchanted with Tesla , especially because its cars are not gimmicks designed to draw “the herd” (a respectful reference to mass consumers). They definitely have my stamp of luxury particularly because of the brand’s exclusivity, quality production, unique heritage, and innovation. More importantly, this is a car you need to have if you plan on helping change the world.

I’ll say no more. Read this interview with George Blankenship, Tesla’s Vice President for Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience.
I bet you’ll get goosebumps by just imagining the world that Tesla founder, Elon Musk, aims to develop.

Back to Blogging… with A Different Focus

First off, here’s wishing you a Happy 2013 ahead.

If you are reading this post, then I must either welcome you anew; or thank you for checking in on the blog.

When I created Lessons in Luxury, I had a goal of starting my post-MBA career in the luxury goods and services sector. Today, I have achieved that goal and have set even loftier ones for my career.

However, this blog has such a cool name that it must continue, even if it means that it will have a new focus. Rather than focusing on luxury from an academic perspective, I’ll discuss luxury as a career.

Look out for the first entry in 2013.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, VA

Today, I’m at the Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner (near DC) for an event organized by the Mason School of Business. What a great hotel. Trust me cause I know. I’ll tell you more about it later (with pictures). This is a brand that truly loves the ladies and gentlemen it serves.

#HBSRLGC – Day 2: Emerging Markets Panel

4/15/12 – After the keynote address from Max Azria, I went on to some of the panel sessions. The panel sessions are a little more intimate than the keynotes because you get to hear different perspectives on the same issues that concern retailers today. You’ll see competitors, collaborators, and disruptors in the same room. This year there were four panels and I attended two:

Emerging Markets – The panelists were:

  • Anya Ayoung Chee – Designer, Project Runway Winner
  • Kai Schoppen – CEO, Brandsclub Group
  • Malte Horeyseck – Co-Founder and Managing Director, Dafiti
  • Tikka Karpurthala – Chief Representative in Asia for Moet-Hennessy/Group Advisor Louis Vuitton, India

New Business Directions – The panelists were:

  • Anthony W. Campbell – EVP of Administration, Vice Chairman’s Office, Perry Ellis International
  • Julie Bull – Director of Investor Relations, Dillards
  • Mark Bonchek – SVP Communities and Networks, Sears Holdings
Here are the tweets to catch you up on what went on in the Emerging Markets panel.

Continue reading

#HBSRLGC – Day 2: Max Azria

Two Crazy Guys - Max Azria (Founder, Designer, Chairman and CEO, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP) and Edmund Amoye (LuxRe Club, Mason School of Business)

On day two (Sunday 4/15/12) at the Harvard Business School Retail and Luxury Goods Conference (HBSRLGC), we kicked off the day with breakfast, which was not attended by yours truly.

I was having too much fun walking around Boston... literally.

However, my day was off to a a memorable start with the second keynote address by Max Azria – Founder, Designer, Chairman and CEO, BCBGMAXAZRIAGROUP. This is a man I have always admired for his perspective on fashion – and have respected for his vision with the Herve Leger brand. Meeting the man was something I wasn’t expecting and the HBSRLGC helped me do that. I tweeted so much at this conference that I’m just going to use my tweets document my experience. Enjoy. Continue reading

Visiting Boston for the 2012 Retail and Luxury Conference at Harvard Business School

Back Bay Station, Boston, MA - First stop off the train

Back Bay Station, Boston, MA – First stop off the train

So here I am in wonderful Boston for the Retail and Luxury Conference at HBS. It’s been a year since I’ve been back. I’ve had a wonderful time so far, traveling via the subway/rail system. I think I like it better than NYC’s subway system. Watch out for more posts (with pictures).