Sell Your Ideas, One Bottle At A Time

Written by David Pullan

Sell Your Ideas, One Bottle At  A Time

Last weekend McKechnie Pullan Jnr and I went to see AC/DC at Olympic Park with my friend, top Aussie winemaker and all round good bloke Tim Smith. Tim's homepage.


Let’s leave the fact that Axl Rose, Angus Young et al tore the place to shreds in a frenzy of sustained rock ‘n roll genius and focus on a little story that Tim told me.


He was just at the end of a mammoth tour of the USA and the UK where he’d been promoting his sublime Rhone style reds and Eden Valley rieslings to name but two.


My question to him was this.


‘I get the making of wine. There’s the vines, the chemistry and the bit of magic that you bring to it…but how do you go about selling it on one of these tours?’


Well for a start he told me that you make sure that you don’t drink too much. But he also told me that there is a saying that you sell your wine ‘one bottle at a time.’


You might go to eight restaurants in a day and sell a case to the owner of each, but that isn’t where it stops.


Every bottle has an end user who has a network. If the old guy in the corner loves what he’s drinking then he’ll tell the owner to get more and he may well tell his mates to get the cheque book out and do themselves a favour by buying some. In essence every bottle is a marketing opportunity.


So how does this help us as leaders, change agents or anyone who deals with clients?


I’ve spoken before about the forensic concept that ‘every contact leaves a trace.’ In the wine industry every bottle leaves a trace in terms of memory, feeling…and of course stains on your shirt front if you’re a really messy drinker. 


When we are speaking to people we are also leaving traces in terms of memory and feeling. Every conversation has the same potential to be sold forward as that bottle of wine being drunk by the old man in the corner of the brasserie.


Think like Tim. What experience do you want people to have when you speak to them? How do you want them to feel? What memories do you want them to take away?


Sell your ideas one bottle at a time. And…Let There Be Rock!


By the way, if you’re in the UK and fancy a top drop from the lovely Barossa Valley look at Tim’s wine here.


Tim in the UK


  • W B Yeats

    'Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.'