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Modern Sales Strategies for Modern Times (Video)

This is a recording of Ben's speech at the 2023 Craft Beverage Expo.

Ben's topic was "Modern Sales Strategies for Modern Times." The environment for craft beverages has changed a great deal in just the last 6-7 years. Much of what used to work no longer works or works as well. Makers need to adjust to the new realities. This session will cover best sales and marketing strategies to build your customer base and increase your sales. You’ll leave this session with actionable insights you can immediately start leveraging after leaving the conference.


Links Mentioned:

Website Mentioned in the Video
Anti Newsletter Email Strategy
How to Do Wine & Spirits Direct Deals

Time Stamps:

00:43 - Introduction
- Times have Changed
04:00 -
3 Modern Strategies
- Consumers
- Consumers - Your Story
- Consumers - Your Website
- Consumers - Your Email List
- Trade
- 3 Ways to Sell in the 3-Tier System
- Digital 3-Tier (LibDib)
- Wine/Spirits Direct
19:00 -
- Key Takeaways
- Audience Question - Cadence of Emails
- Audience Question - In Store Tastings
- Audience Question - Spirits Direct
- Audience Question - More Spirits Direct Talk
- Audience Question - Websites



Modern Sales Strategies for Modern Times. Please welcome Ben Salisbury. Ben is a consultant, coach, content creator, public speaker, thought leader. Wow, you got a lot of stuff going. Subject matter expert and entrepreneur for the wine and spirits industry. His expertise in sales and marketing strategy accumulated over four decades working with some of the largest adult beverage companies in the world, including Southern Glazer and Constellation Wines. Please welcome Ben Salisbury.


Ben Salisbury:

Thank you. Thank you, OJ. I'm recording this session, so don't pay attention to that man in the back. Good afternoon. I didn't expect this many people to still be here after afternoon break on a Friday. I'm really glad you're here and you are not going to be sorry that you stayed. I promise. I feel bad for the people who split. Now, some of them had legitimate reasons for sure, but if there was a, where's Gina? If there was an award for the most impactful stuff that you could take away and start using right away, I'm just going for that award, even if it's not a real thing. We're going to talk about selling. Anybody here like to sell more stuff?

All right. Well, you're in for a treat then. I call this modern selling because for a lot of people, little has changed since the repeal of prohibition. We've heard a lot over the last few days about this topic. Well, I'm here to shake some water out of the glass and explain to you that there are a lot of new things you could be doing. Most people don't even know about them. I've been consulting for nine years. My primary clients are wineries and craft distilleries. I have meateries, cideries, no kombucha clients yet.

Times Have Changed

But one of the things I see is they're listening to the wrong people and they're selling the way that it's been done for many years, which is crazy because let me ask you, are you selling the same way that you did six years ago? And I chose six years as an important thing because in a minute, I'm going to show you what's happened in just the last six years.

And another important question is, has there really been that much change? I mean, a lot of people are acting as if there hasn't been any change, so let me ask you, does that look like change to you? That's the number of craft distilleries in the U.S. and I put a red X box around the last six years. There are far more brands now than there were six years ago, and that's really where things really start to accelerate this. When it comes to doing this for the wineries, it's a little harder to track because there isn't. Believe me, I have searched high and low for this data and this data doesn't exist.

I put this chart together myself. It's an amalgamation of VinePair,, Wines and Vines Analytics. The information on how many wine brands there are for sale in the US. is just not readily available. I once saw a quote from the CEO of Kendall-Jackson. He said that he thinks there's 125,000 brands for sale, but it's the acceleration of these brands in the last six years that have made life so difficult. And so if you're selling the same way today that you did six years ago, you're going to really struggle and get left behind.

The bottom line is this, what used to work, and it worked great. What used to work doesn't work anymore or work as well. I started selling wine for a wholesaler in Houston in 1984. I've seen a lot of change in all that time. Nothing like what we've seen in the last six years. And as if it's not bad enough that you have all these new brands in the market, you have this massive consolidation of distributors, which we talked about a lot yesterday. So you must change. You must make those changes. Today we're going to talk about exactly what to do.

3 Modern Strategies

So there's three areas that I want to focus on today. Three modern strategies, consumers, trade, and scaling. I haven't heard the word scale used very much in the last few days, certainly not in relation to how to sell more alcoholic beverages, but we're going to open your eyes to that today.


Now, let's talk about consumers first. On my website,, I have a freebie, a download, a lead magnet called Beyond the Tasting Room, A Winery Owner's Checklist for Sales Success. Now, more than 400 people have downloaded this free guide. In the guide are eight different ways that you can approach selling outside of your own tasting room. This is a lead magnet and we're going to talk about lead magnets as a possible way for you to accelerate your sales.

But if you're wondering what I mean by lead magnet, here's an example of one. Now, in this guide, I talk about eight different ways, but today I'm just going to talk about three. I'm going to talk about three one at a time. This is really, really important stuff. Your story, your website, and your email list. In fact, if you don't take anything else away from what I talk about today, implementing the things I'm about to teach you will immediately start having an effect on your sales.

Consumers - Your Story

Oh, so let's start with your story. Let me ask you a question. Who is the hero of your story? If I log onto your website right now, will it be obvious who the hero of the story is? And I will tell you this, if it's not the customer, if it's not your customer as the hero of the story, let's say it's your brand or you, the founder, this is not a good strategy. I highly suggest you get this book, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. It's an easy read. It's a fun read. It'll change your life in terms of how you present your brand to the world.

Now, you have a role in the story, no question about it, but the role that you have is the guide that helps the consumer get what they want. From the very first impression when they get to their website, they need to be able to see themselves in the story. They're not just in the story but the hero, and you need to be very adept at helping them get what they want. I could talk all day on this one subject. I'll leave it to the book. But most of my clients have gotten this book, have read it and started implementing things. It will challenge your thinking and it'll challenge your brain. But this is how people buy. Consumers buy because they see themselves in the story, and you must make that front of mind.

Consumers - Your Website

So let's talk about your website. Another thing that I could spend the whole day talking about, because most people miss this. The role of a website in 2023 is very different than it was 10, 15 years ago. It's not a digital brochure. It's not a place to tell your story and your brand and just me, me, me, look at me, look at my brands. That's really not what people go to websites for. All that information can be there, but your website is really a machine, a revenue generating machine if it's set up right. You want to get as many visitors as possible, especially well qualified visitors to your website. You want to convert as many of those visitors to email subscribers.

And I can tell you from my experience, most wineries and distillers do a lousy job of converting their visitors to their email subscribers. I would even say that a lot of them have no clue what's going on with their visitors. They don't track it. They don't use Google Analytics. They don't study what people are doing when they're getting to the website. They don't study the paths that they take while they're there. I know that you're in this business to make great spirits and great wine and great beer, and this kind of stuff isn't nearly as sexy, but it's essential because of the first few slides I showed you, what you're competing against. There was a talk, I can't remember if it was this morning or yesterday about competing with the much bigger brands with much bigger budgets. They suck at this. You can excel at this. Here's a place for you to level the playing field. And if you devote time to the learning curve, you're going to really be rewarded for it.

Your website also needs to have a mobile first strategy. If you are not routinely using your own cell phone to visit your own website, shop, experience the shopping experience, put a few things in the cart, check out. If you're not regularly doing that, you're going to miss a lot of important things. And look at your bounce rates. Your bounce rates will tell you a lot about how shopper friendly your site is, so there's no shortage of information about how to make your website, especially the purchasing experience, mobile friendly, but you cannot overlook this. This is extremely important.

Consumers - Your Email List

Now, let's talk about your email list. I want to tell you that this is the number one most important strategy that you have for selling whatever it is you're selling. When I say this to people, they look at me a little like I don't know what I'm talking, and I'll tell you why. Because they're thinking newsletters. When I say email marketing to breweries and craft distilleries, you know what they're thinking? They're thinking monthly newsletters. Newsletters are a relic from the early days of email marketing in the mid-90s. No one one knew what to do with this thing called email, and as your list started to grow, you're like, how do I communicate with these 2,000 people or 3,000 people? And so you create a newsletter.

Newsletters are fine as long as you're only sending it to the people who want to read it. But if all you're doing is winery newsletters, man, you are missing the much bigger picture and you're disrespecting the buyer journey. Every buyer, and this is not my stuff, this is everywhere in the world of marketing. The buyers, anything that has to do with a transaction. This is why I hate in-store tasting, because we'll have the... Do we still have the in-store tasting people here? Okay, the liquid to lips thing, the trial, it makes so much sense to our brains. If they could just try my product, they would like it and buy it. Here's the problem. Most of the people shopping in the store are not at the decision stage. They're much further in the journey, and if you want to win them over and you want to win them by the thousands, you must must be able to talk to them much earlier in the stage, and email marketing is the absolute best way to do this. Let's talk a little bit more about this.

Email is not about newsletters. One of my most popular YouTube videos is The Anti Newsletter Email Strategy. Look it up on YouTube, watch it, it's only 18 minutes. Proper email marketing is about personalization, segmentation, and automation. Now, it just so happens that there's two gentlemen in the room today, Terrence and Jesse, who are on my email list. Anybody else on my email list? Anybody else get emails from me? I send them out every single Friday. When these gentlemen get my email and ladies too, but I'm talking about them because they're right here in the room. I'm writing as if I'm writing just to you, Terrence. Does it ever feel like that? Does it feel like I'm writing just to you or does it feel like I'm writing to a large group of people?

Part of why I do this is the personalization and segmentation combined. Terrence is on a different part of my list than Jesse. Terrence has already launched his brand. Jesse hasn't launched yet. Jesse gets different emails from me than Terrence does because he's in a different place of his journey. So when I speak to Jesse and the several hundred others that are in the same category, I'm talking about things that are important to Jesse. He's not getting a monthly newsletter. I've never sent one newsletter in my whole life. I'm using email in a much more powerful, powerful way. This is how I'm able to grow my business. Now, my quarry are distillery owners and winery owners, et cetera, but the principle works the same. Your email list must be highly segmented. You must be growing it constantly and you must be leveraged automation. Depending on what you sign up for, you are going to get subscribed to an automated series of emails that will bring you and follow you along on that customer journey.

I can't go into too much of this today, but this is what it looks like. This is what a best in class email signup form looks like for a winery or craft distillery. And I don't know how many of you in the room have a signup form like this, but it does several things. First of all, how many fields does it ask you to fill out? Just one. That's the best practice. Every field that you add beyond that, like birthdate, hometown, mother's maiden name, your conversion rate goes down dramatically. There's plenty of time later when you build a relationship to get the first name, last name, zip code, and birthday. Right now, you want to convert them.

It also promises. It makes promises that you won't get too many emails. We're not going to spam you. We're only going to get stuff. We encourage you to unsubscribe at any time. It also allows them to identify themselves as a consumer, a distributor, or a trade buyer. And when they click one of those little radio buttons, they automatically get subscribed to a nurture sequence that's relevant to that type of customer. If your email marketing isn't like this, then you have... I've done my job today. This is a very, very important. You cannot fumble this. You cannot overlook this, and I don't care what business you're in. Most people are doing email wrong. They don't really understand how it works.

This is a classic marketing funnel. Take a screenshot. This is important. Put it on your wall of your office. You want to get more website visitors, you want to convert them to email subscribers because that's where you build a relationship. Use nurture, automated nurture sequences to do that, and then they're ready to purchase. This is my problem with in-store tasting demos. Most of those people are not at that end of the funnel yet. Now, what a glorious thing when they come to the tasting table and they say, "I've heard of this. I've been wanting to try it." Isn't that music to your ears? "I've been wanting to try this." The only reason they would say that is you've been doing this work all along.


Let's talk about trade. I'm trying to save time for questions because I have a feeling there will be questions. Now, we could spend a lot of time on the trade thing for sure. There's so much misunderstanding about how to be successful in the trade, and I take a really strong position on this and I'm a little bit of an outlier because what I'm asking you to do is much more difficult. You have to literally unlearn what you've learned before and the longer you've been in the business, the longer you've worked with three-tier distributors, the harder it is to grasp what I'm about to teach you today.

3 Ways to Sell in the 3-Tier System

Did you know there's three ways to sell in the three-tier system? Most people don't. Most people have no clue. They only know of the one way, the one that's listed first here, which is traditional three-tier. If I was a startup, and I'm talking to you, Jesse, three-tier distributors would be the very last place I go. I would want to control everything myself and I mean everything. I want total control over my customer base. I want to be able to talk to my customers directly in the way that I want to talk to them. I'm not going to leave that up to a distributor sales rep to carry that message. But traditional three-tier distributors are a bit of a trap because they just can't do what they used to do. They're overwhelmed, and it doesn't matter if it's small or medium or large. It's the ratio of brands to salespeople that's pretty much the same. They're all overwhelmed. A small startup, a small brand would be better off controlling their own destiny. So pursuing digital three-tier and Wine and Spirits Direct would be a much better way to go.

Digital 3-Tier (LibDib)

Now I'm going to talk a little bit about LibDib and then spend a little time on winery direct. If you haven't heard of LibDib and you have a cell phone, go to right now and study this phenomenon. It's a digital fully compliant three-tier distributor available in 14 states, including all the big ones, California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, New York. This is the greatest thing to ever happen to small brands. You don't need a traditional three-tier distributor. You just need a very large email list and a digital distributor like LibDib.

Is there a learning curve? Yes, but of course there's a learning curve. We're in the most competitive consumer product category on the planet. Books and music don't even come close to the complexity of what we do. So you must learn these new things. Title of my speech, Modern Sales Strategies for Modern Times. This is stuff you must learn to do, so check out LibDib. It's free to join. They have different levels of service. You could use the forever free version until you get a little sales and traction, but it's absolutely critical. The only catch is, and I try to get to people early to look into LibDib before you sign three-tier distributors. And the last thing I'm going to talk about today is scaling and LibDib will help you do that.

Wine/Spirits Direct

Wine or Spirits Direct, a lot of misunderstanding around this. I don't know if it was created by Total Wine, but it was certainly perfected by Total Wine. The idea is you cut out the middlemen. You cut out that fat margin that most distributors add. And as you heard yesterday, we're talking 30% to 38%. Big retailers that are competing with Total Wine like ABC in Florida, Spec's in Texas, Binny's in Chicago, BevMo! in California. They're fighting for their lives against Total Wine. So they're going out and getting their own Spirits Direct relationships and their own Wine Direct relationships. They'll tell you what clearing distributor they want you to use to bring in the goods, and they'll make 50% to 60% profit instead of just 25% or 30%. That's the engine that drives the wine and Spirits Direct game.

Do you want to learn more about how to play this game, on my YouTube channel, How to do Winery Direct Deals. I've tried to think of a better name, but that was the best I could do. Really, really straightforward. It's a 30-minute webinar. Go get it. Learn how to do this. It could change your life. The only catch is you can't already have a traditional three-tier distributor assigned for that state. So drag your feet opening any new states with traditional three-tier. Learn how to do the Spirits Direct and Wine Direct game. Here, you sell by pallets and truckloads profitably. You don't need to lower your price. You don't need to spend money on point of sale. You don't need to spend money on salespeople or anything else. The retailer's making such a fat margin, they'll stack it on the floor, they'll put it on their flyer, they'll put it on their website, they'll promote it everywhere. This is a game changer. Why this doesn't get talked about more is a complete mystery to me, probably because people are living in the past. They're listening to the wrong people.


So lastly, and then I want to open it up for questions. Let's talk about scaling. This is a mystery to me. I have a YouTube channel. I have published a blog. I have 5,500 followers on LinkedIn, which is where I do most of my public thing. I do a lot of speaking like this and I just don't understand why this is not being talked about more. Maybe I need to ramp up my efforts. But today, those of you in the room and those of you watching the recording of this session, I want you to really spend time thinking about this. And here's how I want you to look at it. Anything that requires the physical presence of a human being cannot be scaled. The problem with these things is they look like the things we ought to be doing, in-store demos, riding with salespeople, training distributor sales teams, getting people foot traffic at your tasting facility. The problem is you can't scale them. And if there's one thing the little guy can do just as well as the big, it's scaling. And so to not take advantage of these things is crazy.

Let me be more specific here. On the left, there's a list of things that cannot be scaled, and I'll bet all of you are doing most or a lot of these. And you should, but you can't live on a steady diet of these things alone. The things on the right have unlimited scalability, and I am not exaggerating. I'm certainly given to hyperbole, but I'm not exaggerating here. The number of visitors you get to your website is unlimited. There's no boundaries, no barrier, and you need to be really, really good at understanding SEO, structuring your website so that it's fast and the pictures load quickly, and all the things you need to do to optimize for traffic.

E-commerce sales, completely unlimited. Email marketing. It doesn't cost you anymore or take any extra effort to send an email to 20,000 people as it does to 5. So you must be prioritizing the quality growth of your email list because it's infinitely scalable. Plus email addresses are first party data. You may have spent a lot of time and money growing your social media, which is great, but you're building your empire in rented land. The algorithm could change. The platform could be sold. Heck, we've got one platform that's about to be banned or at least threatened to be banned. No one can take away your email list. And so you must make it the number one priority, the number one marketing and sales asset that you have. And lead generation for trading consumers, wish we could do a whole thing. Maybe the next time I come back and we can talk about that, but lead generation has unlimited upside potential to help grow your email list with high quality buyers. And more and more and more, you're going to see demonstrations of this.

One of the things I want you to do is visit a website called Trestle 31. The number 31, Trestle 31. Just launched yesterday. We built it for one of our clients. We're calling it the perfect winery website because it's optimized for email acquisition. It has a fantastic trade section. It entices people to sign up for the trade only email list. Your trade only email list is essential if you're a small brand and you want to grow without adding a lot of headcount. So does this make sense? If no one's ever talked to you about scaling before, you've got to start reading about it. There's no shortage of things. Why do we tend to stick to the stuff on the left? Because it's familiar and it just seems like the right thing to do and it's important, true. It's just not scalable.

Key Takeaways

So the key takeaways, and then I want to take a few questions. As times have changed, you must accept this. You must embrace it, which means you got to change. What got you here won't keep you here. You need new strategies and ways to sell. Today I just showed you the tip of the iceberg and you must learn how to scale. Fair enough? Make sense? I see a few nods here and there. I know it's late in the day. This is how you can reach me. I invite you to visit Send me an email if you have questions. I am recording this, so if you want to get a copy of the recording, send me an email. I'll be happy you to send you the link. And now I want to open it up for questions. We've got a few minutes. Where's OJ? Yeah, we got a few minutes, right?

Audience Questions

Okay. I know I went really fast and I covered a lot of stuff. Question. Yes.

[inaudible question]

Okay. What a great question. And if you didn't hear, she's asking about the cadence. How often should I send out emails? Now there's two. At any given time, so I have 2,400 email subscribers. I'm constantly cutting it down. I'm constantly booting off unengaged clients. In fact, because I use HubSpot, I can set up automations where if you're not engaged, you get booted off. I don't want to be charged for your email address. I only want people on my list who want to be on my list. This is why I have a 52% open rate. I mean, most people are happy with 12 to 15. I'm not happy with anything falls below 50. I take my email list very seriously. So at any given time, I've got people who are in the process of going through automated nurture sequences. Those are the only emails they get.

So if you visit my wine list and you grab my How to Sell Wine Beyond the Tasting Room, you automatically get subscribed to a four email nurture sequence. When you're done with that sequence, you drop into my general broadcast bucket. And for the people who have already been nurtured, they get an email from me once a week. I do it at the same time. It doesn't really matter which day or time of day. HubSpot allows me to send it at the same time no matter what time zone you're in. So you get it at 9:15 your local time. So if you're in Australia, you'll get it at 9:15 Australia time. If you're in New York, you'll get it at 9:15.

My weekly broadcast emails never try to sell anything. Maybe once in a while I've got a special offer or the price on something is about to go up. I'm using it to add value and build a relationship. So I keep them really, really short and I keep packed with value. And if I have more to say, I can have little buttons and say, "Click here to read more. Click here to watch this video." Then I have click segmentation attached to those clicks so I can see what people are responding to. Terrence, I'll put you on the spot again, my man. I know everything you've opened and not opened. I know everything you've clicked on. I know how you got onto my list, how long you've been on it, and I've gotten to know you pretty well. Now, did we meet before yesterday in person?

No. But do you feel like you know me? Well, Terrence, no one will ever accuse Terrence of overstating things. How about you? How about you, Jesse? Do you feel like there's a level of trust?

Yeah, and we've never met. I have employees I've never met. This is the beauty of scaling. Not everything has to be done face to face. So I know that's a long answer to your question, but have those two groups of emails, the ones that are going through nurture sequences, and the one on your broadcast, do it once a week, find ways to add value. And the best way to do that is to come up with a long list of ways to add value and batch the content. Most of my emails are going out automatically. I wrote the emails some time ago, but they're going out on their schedule. Okay, other questions? Yes.

[inaudible question]

Yeah. So where they are on the customer journey. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing this. In fact, one of the best reasons to use them is because the retailers really appreciate it. It's one of the best ways to show the retailer you're serious about the placement you just got is invest on some money in some in-store tasting. The problem has to do with the level of intent. So I'm pushing my cart around the store. I happened in front of your booth. You don't know anything about me. You don't know if I'm a wine drinker or spirits drinker. And if I am a wine drinker, you have no clue what kind of wine I like. You don't know what I just had for breakfast. You don't know if I have a piece of gum in my mouth. It's just not the optimal thing.

I mean, yes, you can move bottles. But I will tell you this, being the business for 40 years, I've done my share of in-store demos and at the end of the demo, what I have to do is walk around and pick up the bottles that people pretended to buy from me at the table, but put somewhere else on the way to the cash register. The level of intent is not really high. The level of repeat purchase is not really great because they weren't ready for that in their stage of the journey. You still should do it, especially if it's required by the retailer. I'm just saying don't overdo it and recognize that it's limited. On a cost per case basis, it's pretty expensive. And I'll take that same amount of money and show you how to sell three or four times as much using scalable digital means. And again, I'm sorry, nothing against tasting people. If looks could kill right now, I'd be dead here on the stage.

Yeah, it's a fact of modern marketing. It's like inbound versus outbound marketing. Outbound marketing is unsolicited emails, unsolicited advice, people knocking on your door, calling you at home for dinner. Nobody likes that. Nobody. Never have, never did. You must learn how to use inbound marketing to attract people to you. I do that by publishing content. I bring people to me by showing my expertise, giving away free expertise. Believe me, I make plenty of money. I have plenty of consultants. That's my method. Terrance, you had a question.


I wondered, so could you please go into the Spirits Direct game a little bit more? Because it's definitely interesting. And then, I mean, I'm already in Total Wine. Couldn't they just order it already through a database or would you go through...

Ben Salisbury:

Yeah, that's a great-



Ben Salisbury:

That's a great question.


I don't know. I don't even think I'm explaining it, but I'm a little confused on that. And I just wanted to know how it's really...

Ben Salisbury:

Yeah, it's hard. It's a little bit complex. So if you haven't seen that video, that webinar about how to do it, you definitely want to watch that because it'll show you the whole game. And here's another thing about Total Wine. I have nothing against Total Wine except this. Total Wine is a serious, serious threat to the ABCs of the world, the Spec's of the world, the Binny's of the world, the BevMo!'s, the Gopuff. They're fighting for their lives against Total Wine. Total Wine has done an amazing job. It's the best shopping experience for wine and spirits. There's selections unbelievable.

But their model is when you walk in the store to buy Jack Daniels, there's someone there to talk you out of Jack Daniels and into one of their Spirits Direct where they're making 60 points profit versus 17 or 18 of Jack Daniels. And when you start associating with Total Wine, you now are the enemy of Spec's. You're the enemy of ABC. You're the enemy of almost everyone who's competing against them. I advise my new clients to stay away from Total Wine because you're stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. I want the dollar. I want the truckload and the pallet sales.

So here's how the game works. Let's just take Spec's for example. In fact, you could apply for Spec's program right online, go to Spec's online. You go down to the bottom, you'll see a place to submit your products. Tell them, be as explicit as possible, "I want to seek a spirit's direct relation with you. I don't have any traditional three-tier distributor in the entire state of Texas. I want to give it to you. I want you to make 60 points on my new LumiereVodka. In my classes, I gave you the script. I even give you the list of who to approach, which is a pretty good deal.

But that's what makes this work. They cut out the traditional distributor. They use a clearing distributor, which basically just legally clears the goods into the state. They don't even unload the truck. They use what's called a bump the dock. The truck pulls up to the dock, bumps it. They sign the bill of lading. They legally use as distributor and it goes straight to the warehouse where it's distributed amongst the stores. It's powerful, powerful, magical stuff. So I don't know if that's... I have a lot more information I'd be happy to give you that shows you how the whole game. But that's basically in a nutshell.

And once you have the stink of Total Wine on you, you are dead to ABC. You are dead to Spec's. You're dead to Binny's. You got to be really, really careful. Looks like a good thing to do, but in the end, it's going to bite you. And I hope I don't get sued for saying this, but I've just seen it so many times. Total Wine is not really all that loyal to anybody except for themselves. And so you got to be really careful who you decide to sell your soul to. Are we okay on time? Go ahead, Terence.


So, all right, so one more question. So we're in Total Wine in Maryland. We be in Total Wine Texas. Are they going to order through their Total Wine network or they're going to order [inaudible 00:32:05]?

Ben Salisbury:

Great question. It depends if you're Spirits Direct or not. You're probably not Spirits Direct in Maryland, are you?



Ben Salisbury:

Yeah, so this is not hard at all to get into Total Wine as a non Spirits Direct player. But if you want to start doing Spirits Direct, you've got to have that conversation with them. You go to Total Wine's website, they are not shy at all about their Spirits Direct and Wine Direct program and they're training consumers to look for and ask for those products. So you got to be really explicit.

First of all, I wouldn't go into any more Total Wines if I were you, Terrence. Not a single one. If you want to go into Texas and you want to sell by the truckload, a truckload in the spring and a truckload in the fall, go to Spec's. They will love you for that. They'll love it that you're not in Texas at all. And they can take that beautiful green package and put it everywhere. All 200 something stores, all the restaurants that they service. This is working smarter, not harder.

I heard your question yesterday to Brian. This is one of the ways to really crack this thing open and you don't need to lower the price. So learn this Wine and Spirits Direct game. I have resources. We'll tell you how to do it. There's my email address right there. If anyone wants to learn more, just send me an email. Say, "Hey, send me that stuff you promised in Pittsburgh on Wine Direct and Spirits Direct." I'll hook you up. Other questions? If not, Terrence is going to keep asking. Jesse.


One quick question If, for the client introduction, very timely you're currently working on the website development, do you have any templates you suggest to your clients on how to best structure and optimize your website or e-mail conversions?

Ben Salisbury:

Yes. Great, Jesse. So I have checklists. Your website needs to be able to do this and this and this and this and this and this. When you can check all those boxes, your website is fully optimized, whether you're spirits or wine. In fact, Trestle 31 was kind of a bit of a test case for us. We just launched it yesterday. I was so excited because I wanted to be able to talk about it today. I'm going to make a video. I'm going to do a video tour of the Trestle 31 website pointing out all of the key features of that website. How mobile friendly it is, how it's optimized for email conversion, how it's graded in rolling trade buyers and giving them all the things they want, what a great mobile shopping experience it is. All of the things that you want. So yes, I'll hook you up with checklist about how to optimize your website.

And then when that's done, you got to get it to SEO. You have to really understand how to drive keyword research and content and all of that stuff. The smallest, tiniest startup can kick the living shit out of the big brands if they understand SEO and email marketing because they're not going to do it. They're too big and they're relying on their distributors to do everything anyway, which is good news for you because they'll never have the kind of relationship directly with consumers.

When you can press a button and send an email to 400 trade buyers, mixologists, bartenders, sommeliers, and get them to reply to you and you have buttons in an email that says, "Request a sample or order a six-pack here," you are masters and mistresses of your universe. This is how the future is. That's what modern selling is all about, but probably new to a lot of people. So kudos, Gina, for bringing me here because who else is going to bring this message? I don't know. I haven't heard it. I haven't heard it yet since I've been here. Okay, I think we're out of time. Maybe one final question, anyone? Well, thank you very much for having me. I hope this was useful for you. Thank you.