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 »


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 »

Open Book Management

Open Book Management If you don’t know where you’re going, any vehicle can take you there. If your team doesn’t know where they’re going, how will you move your business forward? Owners are always looking for great employees – the kind of team players who act like owners. No matter what role they have, these employees walk around with an entrepreneurial eye, constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the business. Rather than walking by that piece of trash on the ground, these are the kind of employees who pick it up. These employees could be right under your nose. If… Read more »

Buyer Continuum

The Buyer’s Continuum  Do you treat the person you have just been introduced to in the same way you treat your Mom?  Well of course not, you reply, what a silly question.  And yet, many wineries do that very thing without even realizing it. The Buyer’s Continuum is a core marketing concept that begins with the premise that all guests or customers are not equal.  In fact, each one is at a different stage in their relationship with your winery.  Some guests are customers you’ve just met.  These are your prospects.  At the other end of the continuum are your… Read more »