Now that the weather is getting warmer in most of the country, it’s time to plant seeds in our gardens that will grow food and flowers in the months ahead. This annual ritual of spring renewal is a happy time for gardeners.
For those of us who manage Tasting Rooms, it’s time to look forward to the coming busy season when many guests will visit. Just like the gardeners among us, we need to plant the seeds with our customers and staff that will bear fruit in the coming months. To reap the benefits of a bountiful harvest later, we need to get ready now.
How prepared are your team members to plant seeds with our guests that will lead to sales, new club members and new email list members? Just like in our gardens, the fruits of our labors don’t appear overnight, but rather are grown over time. So let’s examine how we tend to these budding relationships.
Sometimes in our haste, or out of ignorance, we forget that our customers must be warmed up to our ideas to sell wine, club memberships and get their contact data. All these wonderful offers are saved up for the end of the visit when it can seem like a barrage of requests to our customers, completely spoiling the pixie dust in our magic kingdom, and resembling the dreaded, stereotypic used car sales pitch.
What can we do to plant the seeds with our customers that will bring us the harvest we desire? When it comes to selling wine, here are some ideas for helpful sales:
- Ask the guest about their wine preferences and experience to gauge what kinds of information they may find engaging. We need to convey facts and anecdotes about our wineries that are geared to our customer’s interests and level of knowledge, while bringing our brands to life.
- One of the easiest and best ways to help visitors relate to our wine is to talk about food affinities. When they say “stop, you’re making me hungry” you know this is working on a gut level – pardon the pun. How about: Sounds like you love seafood. The great thing about our Sauvignon Blanc is how versatile it is – on its own or with any kind of seafood. May I pack some up for you to take home?
- When a wine is running out, we serve our customers best by letting them know this so they don’t miss out on their favorites. Simply say: I can tell that you really like that wine; we are almost sold out so you may wish to buy a few extra bottles.
- Try not to focus on discounts. Pay attention to what the customer likes and offer that. If they say it’s out of their price range, offer another great wine in the next tier. If they were just looking for a discount, they’d shop at Costco. The key is providing a great, memorable experience and high quality wine.
Planting these gentle seeds for our visitors is a non-pushy way to increase sales. Always remember that our wineries produce some of the best wines in the world! Peoples’ lives are enhanced by wine – it adds pleasure to life, makes any meal an occasion, brings people together, and research has shown there to be many health benefits to wine.
Remember: sales are what pay for staff wages and we need to keep our business gardens growing. The key to knowing our customers and fulfilling their needs is by taking the role of concierge who lives to serve you by observing and asking open-ended questions. Our guests will tell you what they care about, what is relevant to them, even how to sell to them, how to help them buy. When we have developed rapport and planted seeds along the way, they see us as a trusted advisor and are much more likely to buy when we ask for the order.
That’s positive, helpful, professional sales and this is what will make our gardens flourish. If any of your budding gardeners need more tips, please come join us in our WISE Academy ‘gardening’ classes this spring.