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Precision Is The Key
In this three-part series, I am interviewing my beautiful bride. She’s the gal that runs this company. Here’s what we’re going to do. Kerri had a birthday. We’re not going to say how old Kerri is, but for Kerri’s birthday, she wanted to go look at a few wineries, so we ended up making some calls. We set up seven visits to professional wineries. Some of these were decades old. One of them was 120 years old, fourth generation. I want to jump right in. Kerri, first of all, say hello.
This is on the single word of precision. In four of the seven wineries, there was no oenologist there, but either the winemaker or the owner of the vineyard mentioned the exact word or similar to the word precision. One winery said, “All of a sudden, years ago, we started changing out the fresh barrels every single year. That’s incredibly expensive.” There was another one. This was Marte. They had customized oxygen tanks with custom made hoses so that in a very specific way they could add oxygen, which most wineries are trying to avoid. They could add oxygen in a very microscopic way in a certain part of the process. There was another one that when we were there, the Chateau du Zach talked about drones could literally go into a very specific section of the field and spray the proper organic ointment that could revitalize the health of that, said that their 180-year-old winery split their 100 hectares into 70.
Sometimes Goliath is actually not your competitor, but finding the other little rims around it, you could become the next best. Click To Tweet
They brought in a consultant, which Kerri just mentioned in our last episode. One of the greatest ways to stay cutting edge for a management team is bringing outside consultants on a regular basis. The consultants came into this hundred plus-year-old winery and tore apart their dirt, which they call terroir and told them, “By the way, you have 70 different types of terroir in relation to where the clay is in depth of your gravelly soil.” What did this hundred plus year old winery do? To my shock, they split the winery into 70 different sub-sectors and they have 70 different winemakers. The person leading the charge on one of these subdivisions of the 70 cannot work on any of the other 69. They will only work on that the rest of their lives. Here’s the point. What we learned of what technology is bringing into these wineries through the word precision is astounding. What I want you to talk about, Kerri is to give our audience your take on why precision is key in wineries and why people might want to give some consideration to precision in different parts of their business.
In a winery, its effectiveness. It’s is making sure you treat each area differently. You have a goal, direction and you have a path to get there. That path is specific to whatever that vertical happens to be. For example, raising your children is amazing, but each child is an individual. Even if you don’t have kids and if you’ve got siblings, you know that your path is different than the next person’s path. However, you’re still the children of your parents. You need to be precise in what’s working for one area of your business is different than working for another area of your business.
How amazing was it that the first person in Tuscany was a sommelier? Our agent or our broker is showing us all these vineyards and he said, “If you choose this one vineyard, you can hire this particular oenologist and you hand the oenologist this bottle of Sassicaia,” the number one wine in the world according to the Wine Spectator. “You can hand them another bottle of Banfi,” another amazing wine. You can say to the oenologist, which is the wine scientist, “Help me make the grapes on my property turn into wine that tastes as good as this.” Here’s the key and this is the word precision comes in. These own oenologists are so sharp and such good scientists that they can then evaluate your grapes, meaning your products, your tangible physical goods in your warehouse. They can help you craft a narrative, a vision and mission statement to get these grapes to come close to a competitor.
What are the grapes inside your business? What are your core products, your materials, meaning your physical products, but your people as well? What assets are you sitting on in which you might be able to bring this oenologist in or these trade consultants in your space? What could happen if maybe you bring in three consultants to review the assets you’re currently sitting on? You might be able to say, “Mr. Consultant, come in here. Do you see that competitor over there? I want you to take my assets, my people, my products, and help me make a product like that.” I want you to give some thought to that. Here’s a question for Kerri. How can you correlate great vineyard success? I want you to think first and second growth. Think about this. I want you to explain what a first and second growth is to our audience. How can you correlate the great success over the years? How can our audience take that same vision or stance and use that lesson to help grow their business?
Part of the first and second growth, there’s nothing that a new company can do. That happens to be that they’re there first. They’ve continued to keep the excellence that they have. Sometimes you just can’t compete. Kleenex, you might be having a Puffs tissue, but you’re still going to call it Kleenex. They happen to get there first. There’s nothing you could do about it. The best you can do is be the best outside of that and know who your competitors are. Sometimes, you’re trying to compete against the Goliath. It’s not your competitor, you’re never going to beat them. Finding the rims around it, you could become the next best as Puffs did.
I’m going to ask it differently because I didn’t say it properly. Let me say this differently. These first growths got there because they were there first. The thing is they’re such a target. Almost every single year they still get 98 or 100 points in a blind taste test. After 100 years of being a target by all these competitors, how are they still able to produce every single year a wine that costs $1,000 a bottle? How are they doing that?
It's so much easier to correct a wrong path or a wrong direction in the beginning than it is halfway through. Click To Tweet
It’s excellence, but it’s not just excellence in the wine. It’s excellence and precision in every aspect of it. It’s making sure that the floors are completely clean. Honestly, we went into some vineyards where things were leaking, the vats were leaking. How long have they been leaking? If your floor is completely clean and you see a drop there, that’s the first indication that there’s something wrong. It’s so much easier to clean up something, correct a wrong path or direction in the beginning than it is halfway through. When your car is already leaking, it’s breaking down and the axle is a mile behind you. It’s so much easier to fix it in the beginning. It’s the cleanliness, the attention to detail, whether it’s the bottle or it’s everything. It is the bottle. It’s the color of the bottle. There are different colors of the bottle. There are different types of cork. You can have a mixed cork, you can have a screw top, you can have a thorough cork and a complete cork from beginning to end with no air in it. It can have foil on top, it can have a different type of top.
It can also be dipped. It’s the attention to every single piece of it and it’s the communication in terms of the vineyards. We found out that most of them don’t even have a website. There are so many wines out there. You can open up your Wall Street Journal. There’s a Wall Street Journal Wine Club of wines you’ve never heard of before. You can open up your New York Times. There’s a New York Times group that you can be a part of and you’ve never heard of them before. There are thousands and thousands of it. How do you stand out? If you’re not marketing, the same principle you can take to your own business. You have to make sure that you have your niche. You have to have your precision and having it perfect from beginning to end. Pay attention to every single detail. You have to pay attention to the detail because that’s what makes you different. Most people just do. You want to do with passion, precision and excellence.
That is what I was hoping Kerri would say, what we went through these wineries, these vineyards, and it was so crystal clear. There was one vineyard in particular, Marte that just so happen out of a thousand Bordeaux wines over the last decade of blind tastings, they came in number six above many of the first growth. The price point on this bottle is super inexpensive. It’s amazing. When we toured their winery and their barrel room, it’s their attention to detail, the precision, their floors. You could eat off the floor. I remember when he rolled the door back, even where they keep the bottles, the floors were epoxied and I’m thinking to myself, “We are in a Farmville country.”
I don’t know how many people ever even visited this property, but yet their personal pride of that facility in every square inch was so perfect. The question Kerri and I have for every audience is, to what degree are you paying attention to every little detail in your business? How do your people answer the phone? What do they wear to work? What time do they show up? Do they show up on time? Do they leave late? Do they leave early? Do you have military precision? What we can tell you about these first growths in these top tier vineyards, if they aren’t in lockstep every single day making it the exact same way perfectly with minor adjustments through technology, the competitors are going to pick them off.
Do you remember when we were at Monte Carlo? Do you remember the husband and wife that we met having dinner? To share an example of precision, that’s at Jimmy John’s. They have a list in every single storage room. They have a list for their employees in every single spot that they have. They are precise. What are they? They’re freaky fast, but they’re not freaky fast junk food. They’re freaky fast good food. It’s done right. It’s done with precision and it’s done fast because they are precise. They are not wasting time. That company has multiplied. That is a fantastic company of precision. That’s exactly what you’re talking about.
It’s a billion-dollar enterprise. We had dinner next to Jimmy John and his wife and then he ironically invited us onto his mega-yacht. The key is Jimmy John’s lives and dies on precision. They ended up partnering up with a company that had 20,000 restaurants. One of the reasons that guy wanted to partner with Jimmy John’s was to learn his precision techniques. What a great finish to a great show. If your business is not growing as fast as you would like or not as consistent as you would like, you might want to step back and just ask yourself, “How precise am I in every detail of the business from ordering products to delivering to shipping, how you set up your meetings, how you end your meetings?” How precise are you? This is Ken and Kerri. I hope this helps.