How has the summer been for us so far? What valuable lessons have we learned about our customers and about our business challenges?

Many of us who manage tasting rooms barely have time for the basics of hiring and scheduling staff, selling wine, and taking care of housekeeping chores during the summer. Very little beyond those demanding tasks gets done during our busiest season. That’s a shame. There are lots of opportunities for learning from others. If, however, we can manage to carve out some time to visit other wineries, we can learn a lot about how others handle the same challenges we all face during the summer.

Here are the top 5 reasons why taking the time to Go See is worth it.

  1. Visit our neighbors so we can refer. See what their guest experiences are like, so that we can recommend the good ones to our customers to enhance their visit to wine country. These referrals are valued by our guests since they trust us to know what’s happening in our area. They are also deeply valued by our neighbor wineries, since we all thrive on word-of-mouth advertising, which is priceless. Wineries that we refer guests to will likely reciprocate and send their folks our way.
  2. Visit the wineries we admire so we can see what the buzz is all about. Who do we see as our main competition and what can we learn from them? What are we hearing from guests about the experiences they’ve had at the wineries that they think are tops? When a raving fan tells us about the fabulous time they had at ABC winery, we need to see for ourselves what made it so great.
  3. Be an unofficial mystery shopper. From our thousands of WISE mystery shops, here are the key lessons we all need to master for great sales and high customer satisfaction:
    –  Is our backstage showing? Not just our physical backstage like schedules on the tasting bar, but also inappropriate staff conversations that spoil the heck out of the pixie dust during the guest visit?
    –  Is our greeting prompt and friendly, with eye contact within 15 seconds?
    –   Are we building great rapport with our guests through asking open-ended questions, and creating a dialogue instead of a monologue? Are we listening to the answers and tailoring our approach accordingly?
    –   What unique stories are we telling about our winery that will bind our guests ever closer to our brand?
    –   Are we noticing buying signals? They can be easy to miss if all we are doing is pouring wine and moving on to the next customer.
    –   Are we meeting our business objectives to sell wine, sell the club, and get contact data?
  4. It’s an incredible training opportunity. Let’s take new staff members along when we visit other wineries. It’s a chance to show the newbies what others are doing and how they handle the same situations we all deal with daily. It’s a marvelous opportunity to see what they notice about the guest experiences they encounter, and discuss the take-home lessons for our wineries. What did they see that they vow will never happen at our winery? What did they love that they will adapt to our brand to enhance how we treat our guests?
  5. We come back to our winery with fresh eyes about our own business. Based on what we observed, how are we doing in solving the same issues we saw firsthand at other wineries? When others are slammed with traffic, how are they handling the flow?

It’s not too late to catch the last of the summer visitor traffic, so make time to GO SEE!

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