What Business Are We In?

When I ask that question, the answer I most commonly get back (along with a slightly quizzical look, as if I should know) is that we’re in the wine business. And while, on the surface that seems like it should be the answer, it’s not.

Wine is our product, but as the hospitality folks the business we’re in is the business of people, and our job is to build relationships, creating connections and memories for our guests as we go. Even if we are winemakers, vineyard managers or owners, when we come into contact with wine drinkers, we need to do all we can to connect.

Visitors may love your wine, but that won’t always make them plan a return visit, attend events or join your wine club. There’s lots of good wine out there and for the majority of consumers the quality of the product is only a part of why they buy. What makes them more likely to buy is the quality of the connection the guests form with those who work for the winery, whether that connection is in person, over the phone or even through email.

People connect with people. No matter the price point of the wine, the product is enhanced by the guests’ connection with the person or people they meet at and through the winery and how those people meet their expectations.

So, find out what each visitor is expecting by asking questions, discover a little about these visitors, get to know what wine means in their lives. Don’t start talking about the wine until you have some idea why they decided to stop in. Be interested in your visitors as people first and buyers second. You’ll sell more by concentrating on who they are and less about trying to give them every fact about the wine. Who knows, you might even find a great new friend.

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