Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wine That Didn't Make It

It's a funny thing. I read about it in a sales book that I am reading, given to me by a good friend, Amy and her husband, who is a sales manager.... the book is called Advanced Selling Strategies - I haven't finished the book, but I am about a third of the way through, and it is a great book.... what I'm getting at here is there is this weird interaction that happens between a sales person and a buyer - a weird dance, if you will, because here are two individuals interacting with each other and each comes in with his or her own fears.

The sales person comes in with the Fear of Rejection. This is his or her own anxiety about not being accepted by the buyer, not being liked, being regarded as not knowledgeable, not having good products and services to sell, not being trusted.

The buyer comes in with Fear of Failure. What is this? It is the fear of buying the wrong thing, and made to feel like a failure. Fear of buying the wrong product at the wrong price, the whole "buyer's remorse" thing.

I never knew that it was these two fears interacting that happened, these two self-absorbed situations colliding, each individual thinking about their own issue, complicating the process, that happens during the sales/buying process.

Especially the buyer's side.

Now, let's explore my version of the buyer's side.

I was a buyer for over 2 years, in a store I worked for 3 years. I grabbed the job by the horns, and overcame my fears of failure, ordering large quantities of wine, which I later sold, generally very successfully.

But there are always those wines that don't make it. These are the wines that sit on the shelf, and sit a while longer, and still sit a while longer and longer, while their friends around them get bought up. They are like the dogs at the pound that don't get taken home by rescuing families. Maybe they are not cute enough. Maybe their breed is not popular these days. Maybe they don't look like anything anyone has ever seen before. Maybe they are too big and require too much money to upkeep. Maybe they were in fashion last year, but not now.

Sadly, I bought one of these dogs in large quantities last summer, while I was basking in the warmth that was Austria. At first, I didn't want to go to Austria. I didn't want to waste my boss' money sending me to Austria when I knew the payoff wouldn't cover the cost. The Austrian wine section in the store is a small one, not because Austrian wines aren't good, but because the market doesn't support Austrian wines. People don't buy them, so why stock them? Even the boss said that he once invested great sums for Austrian wines in the store, only to have to put them all on sale before he could sell them.

So I protested when offered the trip to Austria.

Eventually, though, my boss talked me into it. It seemed wrong not to go - an opportunity of a lifetime to be sent to Austria and tour the wine country there. It was only a week. And my boss said he wanted to invest in me.

Sigh. It all became moot when a few months later, I took an opportunity to work for the company I work for now. And the wines I fell in love with in Austria, which I ordered in the afterglow of the trip came in and became the dogs that no one would take home.

This is the risk of buying.

The best wine of the trip to Austria is from a famous winery in the Wachau, the famous Austrian wine region that sits right on the Danube river. A famous river, too. The wine is 1993 Nikolaihof "Vinothek" Gruner Veltliner, a $180 wine that didn't sell a bottle. Even when I ordered it, the salesperson tried to convince me to take a 6-pack instead of 4 6-packs, but I wanted to go big. Even the sales person (who used to be a buyer, too, and understood my risk better than I did!) tired to stop me!

But, I wanted to feel the fear and do it anyway. Sadly, I didn't do it on my own dime, but on my boss'. I took the risk and he paid the price. Because he had trust in me.

Perhaps I am being melodramatic, but it is sad that this wine is now marked down to $50. It is The Wine That Didn't Make It of the Year.


Nancy Deprez said...

Okay, I'll comment on my own writing -

Sheesh, drama anyone? I know, I know, it is just wine (and my former boss' money). Good thing I am not a doctor or a lawyer with people's lives at stake...

The Wine Country said...

Dude...happens to all of us, including, (and truth be told more often) to that former boss of yours...."4 gallong jugs of crappy Zinfandel anyone.....anyone?".

Outside of white Burgundy it is really hard to sell a white wine that is over $100, just a fact but sometimes you, (as a buyer) taste something so remarkable that you feel with every fiber of your being that you can sell it, make people try it...sometimes it pays off sometimes things go on sale...just the nature of the game.

I liked your comparison to the pound, poor unwanted things...I have a few pound puppies in my department as well, "Meursault-Blagny anyone....anyone?"

Don't feel responsible Nancy, there are many factors as to why that wine did not sell, this retarded economy being the biggest right now, in another time people may have been willing to fork out $180 for adventure...sadly not the case right now. Or we could have given the wine more time, let it sit there until it found a new home, again sadly not the case right now.

Don't beat your self up and shit, take advantage....get in there and pick up a few bottles for yourself at $130 OFF!!

Samantha Dugan said...

Dag-nab-it!! Don't know why it shows me posting as The Wine Country, and when I went to change to Moi it would not save the comment, so all that gunk above is from me!


Nancy Deprez said...

LOL it does sound like a bargain at $130 off, doesn't it?

Are you doing google adwords? Because TheWineCountry has a google account, and if you log on as realvino or The Wine Country to check out google adwords or google calendar, it will log you in as The Wine Country.

How much is the Meursault-Blagny?