Tips for Third Quarter Success: Wine’s Window of Opportunity
For some, July means fireworks, barbeque, and the baseball All-Star Game. For those of us who live and breathe wine sales and marketing, we see July as the start of the third quarter in the sales cycle. Now is the time to evaluate sales made in the first half of the year and fine-tune your strategies so buyers say “yes” more often in the second half. The beauty of the third quarter is that while it is “already” mid-year, it also is “only” mid-year.
I have found that in spite of a challenging market, buyers are still considering new opportunities and genuinely want to sell more of your brand. Also, there has been a shift towards sales growth and an increase in the average sell price. My main takeaways from dealing with buyers recently are:
- Buyers expect you to have a complete plan based on facts versus dreams and wishes.
- Buyers do not have time to help you create or figure out your plan; however, they are very capable of executing your complete plan if they understand it and it fits their program.
- Buyers depend on you more than ever to create excitement and momentum for your brand, which requires you to provide a clear, compelling brand story and value proposition.
- Buyers want to sell more of your wine. You don’t have to give it away through deep discounting, but you do need to supply effective tools and resources that will help them promote your wines.
- Buyers want to buy from people with whom they have a good working relationship and who have a business model they understand.
The third quarter is your window of opportunity to strategically position your brand for success in the critical fourth quarter. Here are some tips to help you reach your mark.
- Study your shipments, depletions and key account placements for trends in each market. Use this data to evaluate and adjust your sales and marketing plan to make it more effective.
- Develop a concrete sales and marketing plan that is based on smart programs that consider your direct competitors and target market. This will help buyers visualize your ideal consumer and enable them to focus their efforts.
- Focus on your competitive advantages. Incorporate them into all aspects of your plan, from developing programs to targeting buyers and building brand power.
- Target buyers. As a case in point, when I was faced with the task of securing orders for a client with a new super-premium wine, I strategically targeted buyers from my network whose portfolio and preferences were in line with my client’s brand. Because I consistently use this approach when selecting buyers upon whom I call, they trust me to have a product that fits their portfolio and is not a waste of their time. Consequently, I was able to obtain appointments with key buyers and the wine was placed with a powerful distributor that is committed to grow the brand.
- Keep in touch. In order to prevent your brand from being forgotten during a time when buyers are bombarded with new wine options daily, it’s essential you contact them regularly with something of value, such as product news, promotional support or educational tools. It is up to you to make your wine stand out in a crowd and engender enthusiasm for your brand. Once you do this, buyers will gladly build upon the momentum that you have created.