There are so many different career paths one can take within the wine world that it can be difficult to know what direction you want to go in when you have just experienced one side of things. For me, I have always been the buyer which is fun but I am forever curious about what other aspects of the industry are like. One afternoon I reached out to one of my favorite Reps, Nico, to see if I could do a ‘ride along’ with him. To my surprise, he agreed to take me around and show me what a day in the life of a Sales Rep is like.
It was a rather cold and snowy Thursday afternoon when Nico came to pick me up, we had our first appointment at noon in the Highlands neighborhood so we hit the ground running.
On the way to the restaurant we talked about his perspective on wine sales and how he likes to approach his clients. Nico said he has found success with a no-pressure attitude and a “when they work, I work” mentality. He also said the most important thing, above all else, is to be kind to everyone you meet along the way; you never know when the server becomes the next buyer and you need to have a good relationship with them in order for them to want to buy from you. To me that meant being a Sales Rep is a networking/relationship building business first and foremost and the sales come afterwords (generally speaking anyway).
As the day went on and we went from restaurant to restaurant, Nico was rather patient with all of the questions I had for him (trust me I had a lot of them). They ranged from what time his day starts, what he does first, who pays for his parking each month, what are some of his own struggles, and what he enjoys about being a Sales Rep. I took pleasure listening to him explain everything to me. At some point in our conversation I asked him for advice on my next career move. His response was, “Don’t make plans.” Wait-what? He proceeded to share a story with me about a terrible accident that happened to him and how it forced him to rethink his career choice all together. He suggested I take everyday as it comes and stay focused on my passion and the rest will fall into place when the time is right. Although that was not the response I was expecting, it made sense. Then this happened…
We arrived at our last stop for the day, a high end Italian restaurant in downtown Denver; we parked the car and went inside. My eyes were instantly drawn to their wine storage room in the back of the restaurant; as soon as we finished tasting I asked the owner if I could take a peak in that room. Little did I know that was just the start of their wine storage-they had about six more rooms full of high end wines from all over the world, some going back to the 1950’s! There was so much of it that they were having trouble storing it all, I slyly commented, “It looks like you could use a helping hand around here to manage your collection.” The owner agreed with me. This was music to my ears! Before we left I got his contact information so we could schedule a time to talk about making that happen sometime down the road. I also grabbed contact information for their Sommelier in the hopes that we could get together for some blind tastings or practice my service before I take the Certified exam in May or June 2017. Even if they decide they do not need extra help managing their collection, I have met some incredible people to keep in touch with moving forward.
I was not expecting to get this much out of an afternoon riding around with Nico but I must say the whole experience was invaluable to me. Not only did I get a chance to experience a potential career opportunity but I had the pleasure of meeting several great, like-minded people. I grew my professional network significantly that day and for that I am grateful.
I would just like to say thank you for following me on my journey to become a Master Sommelier, it means so much to have your support. Please be sure to leave a comment and subscribe to my blog so you can stay up to date on all of my latest adventures!