If you are devoted to the art and science of your technical and non-technical profession, read on.
Vintage refers to the year in which the grapes are picked for a particular wine. Some vintage years are great, others are a bust.
That analogy sounds like the world of business, doesn’t it? Winemaking is one heck of a business.
Recently, I was on holiday in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. I had the opportunity of visiting various wineries and speaking with the owners of the vineyards. Of course, I participated in wine tasting as well!!
The folks who own the vineyards of smaller wineries are often the same folks who are the vintners: they make the wine they sell. These owners walk their vineyards, tasting the grapes throughout the growing season.
- Are this year’s grapes worth harvesting?
- Will this year’s output, once picked, produce a vintage worth drinking?
- Will this year’s vintage be high-yield and contribute to a profitable best-selling wine?
- How will the basic production process for that vintage be slightly altered, at the discretion of the winemaker, to account for microclimate factors impacting yield, taste and sugar content of the harvest?
- How will that vintner use his or her insight, experience and knowledge to select the appropriate blends to be used in the vinification process, resulting in the optimal output from that year’s grapes?
Each year is different. They can’t rest on last-year’s laurels or the medals they won at competitions. Next year may produce an entirely different yield.
The same is true in your role as a sales or engineering professional.
- How many of you approach your professional roles, year after year, as though your business outcome and job security are guaranteed?
- How often (and the answer should be at least quarterly) do you stroll your business “vineyards”, tasting the components of this year’s potential harvest?
- How frequently will you factor in how changes in the economy, as well as buying and decision making habits, will impact your manufacturing and business development outcomes?
If you consider yourself to be a high-quality vintage seller or IT/engineering professional,consider blending your strategy from year to year. Continuously assess the factors contributing to the ecology of your own business health and your customers’ businesses as well.
Great winemakers are able to make a solid wine from even the poorest of grapes. I heard that loud and clear from the wineries I visited and the vintners with whom I spoke. On the other hand, mediocre winemakers will never make a high quality wine, even with the best of grapes.
There’s a reason for the differences in output. That difference creates the business outcome of your vintage.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. She was named a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer 2014, for the second year in a row, by Top Sales World magazine.