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Wine Telesales Firm Pivots to Remote Workforce, Offers Tips and Techniques

by Cyril Penn
April 01, 2020



When California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered California's 40 million residents to stay home two weeks ago, Jeff Stevenson’s company Vinopro had its Rohnert Park-based employees set up to work remotely by the end of the day. The next day, the Vinopro offices in Arizona and New Mexico went remote.

“Our company was built to handle a crisis like this because of everything we’ve done as technologists to support remote workers,” Stevenson said.

Vinopro has sold nearly $100 million of wine over the phone behind the scenes since 2010. Stevenson says sales are up 50 percent since the COVAD-19 crisis started. Vinopro's remote wine concierges sell $50,000 - $75,000 worth of wine each day. 

That the company could pivot quickly while increasing sales after the shelter in place order is noteworthy, moreover, Stevenson wants to help save an industry.

His advice: find someone in your organization with an outgoing personality that's not doing anything right now because of sheltering in place; get a list of customers in a spreadsheet or on a piece of paper; put it in front of them with phone numbers and have them make calls and try and sell some wine to generate revenue and goodwill.

Secret Sauce

Stevenson was serving 25 customers on January 1, currently is serving 37, with more than a dozen others in the works. Vinopro currently has 45 employees. 

“My phone's been ringing off the hook from business development folks from wineries who want to do this and they don't know how to do it,” Stevenson, a former winemaker, said. “Their tasting rooms are empty and they're going to be empty for months. What do they do?”

He realized he couldn’t serve all of the wineries in need so decided to make a video series showing people how to do their own telesales - giving back. 

“It's free for the taking. It's not a sales pitch.”



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