Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping Lessons What makes your winery different than your neighbors’? Your story? Your wines? Your location or venue? Making your winery stand out as different from the hundreds of other wineries is more of a challenge than you might think. What makes your brand different from your neighbors and other wineries sells the experience. And, what you and your team think of as your brand story may not be the message that your guests perceive. The best way to figure this out isn’t seeing it written up on Yelp! or TripAdvisor (although it’s good to check there) – don’t… Read more »

Positive Profiling

Positive Profiling – Are you listening? Good sales people know that to sell, it’s more than a good presentation on your product. Great sales people know selling requires active listening. Stop talking at your customer and create a dialog to talk with your customer. This builds relationships by creating engagement and trust. But, you can’t have a conversation without asking open-ended questions to understand more about your customer. When you engage with your customers, you learn about their lives, the things they like to do, eat, drink…By asking questions, you can start to better understand their needs and start weaving… Read more »

Silent Selling

Silent Selling – It’s Louder than You Think When someone walks into your tasting room, everything within the room is a reflection of your brand which your guests are subconsciously sold on. This is called Silent Selling and includes everything from design, merchandising, collateral, to signage, and other items that encourage guests to purchase products. It’s more than pretty displays; it’s a subconscious emotional trigger to buy. Silent selling at its best can transform a shopper into a buyer. It can increase the average dollar amount per sale. Effective silent selling encourages shoppers to buy through the use of multiple… Read more »

Change Management

Positive Change Management  Let’s face it. In most tasting rooms, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In a typical tasting room, there are always issues that require change management – labor cuts, changes in organizational structure or management, team turnover, changes to goals, pay or commission structure, and so on. So, how do we implement change effectively? Change requires skill and sensitivity. It’s tricky because simply imposing the new change doesn’t work; it assumes that people’s personal needs are completely aligned with the organization, or that there is no need for alignment. It also assumes people… Read more »

Innovating Change

Innovating Change Managers versus Leaders Good managers are leaders. Great leaders are innovators. When people are empowered to be innovative, their commitment increases; they have a chance to take new actions and be proud of their accomplishments. Are you an innovator?  Are you really committed to overcoming deeply rooted tasting room traditions and misconceptions regarding selling and customer acquisition? Are you prepared to go to the mat to support best practices around lifetime value?  Think about it. Here’s a quick self assessment: Do you… Administer? or Innovate? Accept the status quo? or Challenge the status quo? Imitate? or Originate? Maintain?… Read more »

Staffing Up

Staffing Up! Justifying more Tasting Room labor hours. How to justify more Tasting Room labor hours. This conversation is a constant struggle between too many tasting room mangers and winery executives.  To be able to deliver a knock-your-socks-off, WOW guest experience requires a little over staffing.  Maximizing wine sales and new wine club member sign-ups does too.  But no one wants to over staff, to pay too much in labor costs.  And nothing drives winery management crazier than seeing tasting room staff standing around twiddling their thumbs. So how can you identify you labor sweet spot and justify staffing up… Read more »

Organization Strategy

Organization Strategy Tasting Room Staffing Options – Pros and Cons Staffing your tasting room is always a challenge especially trying to manage coverage during high and low seasons and maintaining your budget. Having a good balance of full time, part time and temporary staff is going to depend on your company culture and policies. There are many pros and cons of tasting room staffing options: Full time staff: Pros: Easier to keep in the loop, better focus, more loyalty, easier to hold accountable, fewer people to manage. Cons: Can be a burn-out job. It’s relatively low pay with the consequences… Read more »

Superstars

Make room for superstars Over lunch last week I asked a vintner friend of mine if he was hiring any new tasting room sales people and he informed me that no, they were “fully staffed.” I said “That’s too bad.  I know a young, bright, polished, certified WISE Tasting Room Professional graduate who just moved here from another wine region.  At her last winery she was selling about 4 times what your top sales person is currently selling.  Her conversion rates for wine club sign-ups were about 5 times your current run rate.” Of-course my friend practically jump out of… Read more »

Hiring Tasting Room Superstars

Hiring Tasting Room Superstars Most winery tasting rooms are in the process of staffing up for the high season. Now is the time to carefully consider how to build out a superstar team. First consider your winery’s unique culture. What fits your brand?  Do your team members need to have a formal, elegant demeanor? Or should they be approachable, flexible and folksy?  Do they need to juggle large crowds? The perfect employee would be very different for each of these scenarios. Having a clear picture of your specific cultural needs will help you find the right employees who will enjoy… Read more »

Selling Wine Clubs

Selling Your Wine Club Is your tasting room one of the 20%? Our mystery shopping benchmarks show that only 20% of local tasting room staff is effectively selling wine clubs. Eventually, someone on your team needs to seal the deal by asking for the wine club sign up. But the real work begins earlier. From the moment a guest enters your tasting room, you can be selling wine clubs – without saying a word. Have you got signage that designates a special area for wine club or VIP members only? Does your price list include regular and “club member only”… Read more »