Be A Great Manager (part two)

This week we continue on the topic of managing employees. Last week’s blog discussed giving credit where credit is due, which is the first rule of good management in my mind. I also wrote about breaking bad news to employees (do it early so they have time to accustom themselves to the changes) and being clear about expectations (employees are happier when they know what is expected of them).

Be A Part Of The Team

As well as managing a team, you should want to have a good relationship with your team. Have the same standards for your work as you have for the work of your employees. Help your employees to increase their strengths and work on their weaknesses. It is easier for most of us to see weaknesses in others, so be sure to look inside (or ask your boss) for your weaknesses and how you can be stronger in those areas.

Help Your Team Excel

As a manager you are the leader and the cheerleader. Spend as much time telling your team what they are doing well as you spend telling them how they can improve. Start each staff meeting with a few minutes for everyone to talk about what they think the team is doing well and what they believe the team could improve upon. When the ideas for improvement come from them, they are more likely to follow through with change.

Also encourage them to improve their skills. Provide information or bring in speakers to help them improve. If they are given the opportunity to grow and learn in the job, they will be happier and more productive.

Workplaces Can Be Fraught With Conflict

It is common for managers to be more compatible with some employees than they are with others. However, try not to let your personal feelings get in the way and judge each employee on how well they do their job and their value to the company. Also help employees to resolve conflict with each other.

Life Is Not Always Perfect

You and your employees have personal lives and sometimes things go wrong. Be aware of what is going on in your employees’ personal lives. Cut them some slack when you know that the problems they are experiencing are temporary and may not be of their own making. Do the same for yourself, when you are going through a rough patch.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Be A Great Manager (part one)

Being a boss, at any level, is rarely easy. There are times when you wish your employees would just do what you want them to do and there are times that your employees wished that you understood the problems that implementing new rules and regulations may result in. As a middle manager there can also be times that you have to implement procedures that you do not agree with, as the requests for change come from higher up the chain.

Managing people sometimes has its drawbacks, though, when done well, it also has its rewards. From an article on the Insperity website, here are a few tips on managing staff. Even if you are not working as a manager but as part of a group, these ideas on how to manage may help your working relationships with your fellow employees. If you cannot find anything positive then that employee may not be right for you.

Credit Where It Is Due

If employees are doing a good job, let them know that you have noticed. You may also tell them that you have passed the information on their performance up the chain. Complimenting employees on their work motivates them to work harder and will make them happier in their jobs. Find positive things to say about all employees. Happy employees make for happy customers.

Breaking Bad News

Sometimes managers have to institute procedures that they know the employees won’t like. In these cases, how you break the news is just as, if not more important, than what you say. Be clear when you present the information and do it in person. Take the time to meet with your staff to let them know what is going on.

Additionally, giving your team the time to air their views on the subject and giving credence and feedback to their opinions, at least makes employees feel that they are being heard.

Be Clear About Expectations

If employees know what you expect, these expectations are more likely to be met. When you implement new procedures, ensure that you do so well before the new procedures are put into action. That way your staff has the opportunity to think through what it means to them and how they can best handle the changes. With everyone thinking about the new procedures they may come up with some ideas to improve on them.

Next week’s blog will present more tips and ideas on managing people and systems.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Perking Up Your Email Subject Lines

I received an email from a winery, the other day. As I receive lots of emails from wineries, I don’t always read them right away. However, the subject line caught my attention.

Email subject lines are not always designed to make you open them. Here are a few from wineries that have popped up in my Inbox lately:

• Spring Release Weekend • Need To Restock Your Wine Supply? • Have You Tried Our Selections? • Easter Wine Release • It’s Spring, Save 15%… • “Spring Release • One Day Sale • April Events

If I were a follower of any of these wineries I may well check out the offering (if I had the time). However, if it was not a winery I was particularly familiar with or did not usually buy from, I may not bother to even look.

However, I did get an email from a winery that caught my attention and I opened it to read the post. What I saw was, “We Climbed 1,400 Feet…” which was all that would fit into the size of my Inbox. However it was enough to make me want to find out what the people had climbed 1400 feet for. The whole subject line was: “We Climbed 1,400 Feet for the Best Pinot…” The post was about a vineyard that the winery in questions bought grapes from. The vineyard was at a 1,400 feet elevation. The post went on to describe the family who own the vineyard as well as the location (the facing, cool temps, bright light, etc.). Good job on the subject line and the post! It made me more interested in your winery.

An interesting subject line may bring (should bring) more guests to your site and possibly to your winery. Think about what you can say that is different. Some of the ideas for subject lines that encourage people to open the email include:

  • Make readers curious: See what we have in store for you
  • Alliteration: Catch a compelling Cab
  • Mystery: It’s all over on June 5th
  • Retarget: You missed a great wine (this is for people who abandon their cart)

Start thinking about email subject lines that can improve your sales and increase the connections between you and your customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

What Makes Guests Buy – Part Two

Last week’s blog (March 27) talked about three of the six most important things that guests are looking for when they buy your products. In that article I covered Identity (how your products relate to how guests see themselves), Quality (know what quality means to your guests before you start to sell), and Experience (guests remember a good experience).

Part two follows up with three additional things that guests want. The first is Connectivity/Community. As a winery you want to encourage people to connect with your products, your employees and your business. One of the reasons why wine clubs are popular is because it gives people who enjoy wine the chance to meet other people who enjoy wine. These days it may be harder to create a community; we don’t all know our neighbors, we don’t necessarily go to church on Sunday and we don’t always live close to our family. Wine clubs and wine events give people a community they can connect with.

Connectivity is also the reason you have a Facebook page for the business, post on Instagram and Twitter, just to name a few options for social media connections. Keep connecting in every way you can and create communities of customers.

What Need does your wine fill for your guests? You have a lot of guests. These people buy your wine for many different reasons and to fill many different needs. Find out what their needs are and add the information to their customer record. The more you know about them, the more you will be able to meet their needs.

To finish off, think about Value and what it means to your customers. The idea of value varies from one customer to another. To some, price is value, to others scarcity is value and others may value service. Ask everyone working in the winery what is of value to them in working for the company. You will get many different answers and the same is true for your customers. Don’t assume that someone else’s definition of value matches yours or the last customer you served. A tip of the glass from me to you!

What Makes Guests Buy?

If you want to be good at hospitality and/or sales, it helps to have a genuine interest in people, rather than having an interest only in the product you are selling. Otherwise, it is likely you will focus on the product, rather than focusing on what is really important… the people who walk into your business.

There are countless reasons why people choose to buy. Your job is to find out the reasons that are most important to the people to whom you are selling. On your part,Assumptions play a big role in whether you believe that someone will or will not buy. These assumptions, unconsciously transmitted to your guests, may encourage them not to buy; thereby confirming your assumptions. Congratulations, you were right but unfortunately, you lost the sale.

 In short… What you Think influences what your guests Do. If you have to assume, you might as well assume that your guests will buy, that works out better for both of you.

According to an article in INC magazine by Kaitlin Smith, there are six major reasons why guests want to buy your product.

The first one, Identity, talks about how your products relate to how the guests see themselves or who they aspire to be. If your guests are new to buying wine, give them information that will teach them about certain wines and increase their confidence in their choices. They can also use these interesting facts to impress their friends.

Quality is another reason to buy. However, before you can sell the product’s quality you need to know what quality means to the guests you are interacting with.

Quality is what makes your product worth the price that you charge.  Wine comes at all different price points and all different levels of quality. Discover what your guests consider quality and promote your wines in ways that meet their standards.

The third reason for this week’s blog is the Experience. You are not only presenting a product you are (or should be) creating and presenting a memorable experience. Promote the experience that will make your guests return, and talk about your wines and winery to others. Think about where you like to shop and why. How have those companies laid out their experience to make you want to come back?

Next week’s blog week will talk about the importance of Connectivity, Value and Need.  In the meantime start practicing the lessons of identifying guests opinions of themselves, how your present quality and create the experience.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Motivation Starts with You

There was an interesting article a while back in INC Magazine on motivating employees.  The article contained a lot of sound advice. However, an owner or manager is not always around to motivate staff or they may not always have time. Also… who is going to motivate management so they can motivate the employees?

While motivation from managers and owners always helps, if you want to perform well, you need to motive yourself; no matter what position you may hold in the company. So here are some ideas on how to stay motivated, rather than waiting for someone else to come along and help with that.

Rewards: You can reward yourself when you do something well or finish a task. As I work for myself, I have a reward system in place for when I complete a project. It may be something small, such as reading a chapter of a book or talking a short walk. If it is a big project I may take myself out to lunch.

You can give yourself points that can be accumulated until you reach a pre-decided goal.

Create A Goal: Most people work better when they are working towards their own goals rather than someone else’s. Decide what goals you want to accomplish today, this week or this year. Goals can be big or small. You may create a personal goal for the month as well as a daily goal. Your goal may be to start or finish a task that you don’t particularly want to do, or have been putting off. There is always a certain satisfaction when something gets done.

Think Beyond Your Job: Ask questions about the overall goals of the company. Find out what part you can play in making these goals a reality. Talk to your manager about your work goals and how they can benefit the company.

When motivation comes from the inside it is more rewarding and you will be happier for it. You know when you have done a good job and so do your customers.

I encourage managers and owners to notice when staff members stay motivated, especially in times that are frustrating or disappointing.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Creating Unique Interactions

The best thing about working in hospitality is that we get to interact with different people all the time. If you don’t find that to be a positive, perhaps hospitality is not for you.

We can, however, fall into patterns of behavior that are not always easy to break. We get used to presenting our products, talking about the company and giving people information about the area. However, it is important that we remember that each of our guests is different, including the ones who visit together, especially if it is a man and a woman.

Men and women are different and the rapport we build with each of them is built in different ways. Treating people respectfully is always important. It does not matter how much they know or do not know about our product or even about the type of product we sell. If they are treated well they will come back or recommend us to others.

Most women prefer to create relationships and are more likely to buy if they feel they have been able to form that relationship. While men, overall, are more interested in knowing facts. Additionally, men are more mission and task-oriented, whereas women are more discovery-oriented. The man may have come in with certain wines in mind and stick to those, whereas the woman may taste wines that she has never tasted before and broaden her interest. This means we may be able to sell them wines, they hadn’t known about prior to their visit.

Let’s say a couple visited your winery and the man does most of the talking. However, that does not mean he is, necessarily, the decision maker. It is not always easy to discern who the decision maker is and we don’t do ourselves any favors if we make assumptions.

Keep an open mind and try to meet the different wants and needs of all your guests. It will pay off in increased sales and more loyal customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!