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 the conversation towards wine…your wine that fits their lifestyle perfectly!

Research shows that we interact with many different types of wine buyers. To simplify WISE put these wine buyer profiles into five main types of wine buyers. Each one of these groups has different psychological needs – and when these needs are met, they are ready and happy to buy.

  1. Ratings Junkies: live and die by ratings. They need to follow, but not just anyone. They need to follow someone that they are supposed to / and others clearly respect like a celebrity endorsement, winemaker favorite or it’s on a high profile restaurant list.
  2. Value Buyers: looking for a special value. Focus could be on the lowest price wines in our portfolio or it could be a special sale or significant savings on our highest priced wines. Either way they are looking for a “deal.”
  3. Advice Seekers: looking for consultation. These guys are not beginners; they want to learn, but don’t have enough experience / confidence to go it alone. They want, need their hand held, so give them the advice they are so clearly seeking.
  4. Know-it-alls: looking for an audience – or a debate. Yes, they have lots of ego. They need an audience.  So you need to play that role. Don’t take it personally. Let them show off what they know. Whatever you do, and no matter how tempting – don’t get into a contest with them.  You may win the battle (i.e. have the right answer on something) but lose the war (i.e. sale or club membership.)
  5. Newbies: don’t know where to start. This is the most common group. They are ones who look nervous, feel intimidated, lost or confused. Best thing you can do is put them at ease. Play off of what they know and build their confidence. Keep it simple, be sincere, and go slowly. Remind them to buy what they like – wine tastes are subjective!

When you understand wine buyer profiles, you can identify your customers’ needs and motivations and tailor your pitch accordingly. The power of positive profiling (rather than pre-judging) is not only that it leads to more sales, but also customer satisfaction is actually much higher because they feel that they had a unique experience, tailored to their preferences.

What type of customer is in front of you? Are you asking enough questions to know? Are you listening and adjusting your presentation accordingly?