Near the end of May 2008, I responded to a Craigslist post seeking part-time wine sales people. The down turn in the economy was having a serious impact on my finances and I needed a secondary source of income to try to make up the difference. I was hired one Sunday at the end of May, and the rest is history. Well here’s the history.
When I first started we were selling Lot 35, Yountville District, Cabernet. Cameron Hughes wine, as of December 2009, is now selling Lot 164! In the span of 19 months, working just 2 days a week, I have sold over 1,100 cases of wine to tens of thousands of customers. I have learned an incredible amount during this time. I have developed the confidence necessary to talk with hundreds of people a day. I have learned first hand what sells. I have read a lot of books over the years about how to be a salesman. All of them have been utterly useless compared to actually going out and doing it. And instead of writing a book full of fluff while holding off on telling you the “secrets” to sales until the very end I am just going to sum it up like this: Enthusiasm sells. And you can’t be truly enthusiastic about something if you don’t truly believe in it. It’s that simple. I truly believe that there are almost no wines that can compete with Cameron Hughes Wine at the same price point. His wines drink like wines that sell for two, three four even five times the price!
I have also learned an incredible amount about wine. The thing that I really like about Cameron Hughes is that I don’t have to wait until next years vintage to try out one of his new wines. He is a wine negociant and therefore can release wine anytime he acquires its, which is usually every 6-8 weeks. So every 2 months I have been enjoying about 4-5 completely new styles of wine that I would have had little exposure to otherwise.
So why am I thanking Cameron Hughes and everyone that I have met there? Because I am stepping back from wine sales. I have been working 2 jobs, 7 days a week for almost 20 months now. I am burned out. I am going to take some much needed time off, and spend time with family and friends. I would like to travel to Napa! Yes it’s true, I have never been there, weird? And yes, I am going to continue with this blog!
I want to thank Jessica for helping me out with a whole bunch of paper work! I want to thank Rob for helping me to be less verbose!
I especially want to thank Terri Reed. Without her guidance and patient mentoring in the art of “hand selling” I never would have lasted this long.
Good luck to you, my friend. I truly understand burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.
Tim – Thank you for all that you have done. I hope that we can stay in touch and that you will work for CHW a little here and there. You Rock!!
Thanks for giving me a chance! I learned so much about wine, and people and sales, AND I got paid!! You can’t get that from school!
Bummer for us but a well-deserved break for you from some real-world wine experience.
We’ll miss you in the field but will stay in touch via the blog for sure.
Thanks Rob! One of the best sales related tips I have ever had came from you “Don’t be verbose” And it works!