What Your Guests Want From You?

The title of this blog, “What Your Guests Want From You” is somewhat disingenuous. All businesses have many different types of customers, though in wineries there are even more variables. Coming through your doors you may have everyone, from people who have never been to a winery before and/or don’t drink wine, to those who study wine and know more about wine generally than you do.

When new people step through the door, you have no idea why they have decided to visit. Your job is to quickly discover what brought them in and what they expect to achieve. They could have walked in the door for any number of reasons that may or may not involve buying wines.

Before you start telling visitors about your business and products, find out about them.  Start by entering into a conversation that combines asking questions about their reasons for visiting and information on how you can meet their needs.

Here are some of the different types of guests you may encounter:

Newbies: Never been to a winery before. Don’t drink wine on a regular basis and don’t know anything about wine. Rather than this being a time to fill their heads with wine facts, discover:

  • What their lives are like
  • Why wine has never become a part of it
  • How can you change that.

It may be a lack of confidence and fear of choosing the wrong wine that is keeping them from drinking wine. Give them the information they need to be more confident.

All About The Money: These are people who may come in looking for a bargain. While you may think your wine is a bargain, the important thing is, what do they think? You need to know:

  • What a bargain means to them
  • When they have bought a wine that is outside of their price range and why.

Once you know what is keeping them in a particular price range, you can give them reasons to expand their ideas.

Aficionados: These people may want you to listen rather than talk. When you do talk, it may be to point out how your wines meet their criteria:

  • Medals
  • Reviews with high scores
  • Recommendations

Once you know what they like, congratulate them on their knowledge, the quality of the wines they drink or their choice of varietals. Make them feel good about their choices and put your wines into those categories.

Focused: These are the wine drinkers who know what they like and want to see if you have that type of wine. With them, ask about:

  • How wine is a part of their lives
  • Wines they regularly drink
  • How your wines compare.

With the knowledge you gain you are able to create the room for them to expand their tastes slightly into wines that you have that will fit into their focus.

Next week, more ideas.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Customer Differentiation

As human beings, we understand that in many ways we are all very much alike. We have the same basic needs for air, water, food, sunshine, etc. However, we like to think of ourselves as individuals, that we are unlike anyone else.  In a word – “unique.”

While many businesses small and large would prefer that people walk into their business, love the products, buy lots of them, stay connected and continue to buy for years to come… that’s not usually how it works. As customers, we are overloaded with different avenues through which we can buy products and one of the few things that makes one business stand out from another is service. How customers are treated when they choose to do business with us is the important thing to them.

Treating each guest or customer who shows an interest in your products or business as an individual, with distinct differences from others, is the best way to create more long-term customers and increase their dependency on your products.

The level of interaction that customers wish to have with your products or business varies by the type of product you have. If you do not wish to have lots of personal interaction with customers, stick to products that are more utilitarian. For example, if I buy a different dishwashing soap and I don’t particularly don’t like it, I will still probably use it until it is gone and it won’t affect my life too much.

However, if I am having an important dinner party and I buy a wine that does not suit the food I have prepared or I find the wine is corked, the negative consequences may be more pronounced.

Think about the people who buy wine from you the way you think about your wines. If you think your wines are special, remember that your customers are too. It is a rare winery that doesn’t think that the wines they make are a cut above the rest. If you think about your customers the same way you will use the same care and attention when interacting with your customers as you do with your wines.

Next week, the blog will continue to talk about the different consumer categories and how to sell to them.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Small Investment… BIG RETURN

The Facts

Is going to be an interesting year for the wine sales in the United States. Reports are saying that wine production is increasing in the U.S. with more wineries opening every year and wine imports to the U.S. are increasing. A May 2018 report from the Wine Institute noted that wine available for sale in the U.S. from all U.S. production sources and wine imported to the U.S. by foreign producers — grew 1% to 403.4 million cases in 2017.

As of 2018, there are 9,654 bonded wineries in the United States. This number does not include the virtual wineries without a brick and mortar winery. These producers make their wine at host facilities (i.e. custom crush facilities) and sell through mailing lists, retail stores, email, and over the phone.

It is also expected that individual wineries will see fewer people as wine consumption slows in the Boomers and Matures’ generations while, at present, Millennials and Gen Xers consume more liquor and beer than they do wine. It is expected that Millennials will be the largest group of fine wine by 2026 (only 7 years to go).

What does this mean to you as a winery? 

It means that the majority of wineries have put more effort into selling wine to the guests and customers who take the time to come to the winery or have signed up for the email list.

The Problems

1. In many wineries I visit, I find that people who are supposedly selling wine were hired because they know a lot about wine and want to have a spotlight to talk about what they know. Owners and/or winemakers, who started a winery or make wine, also got into the business because of their love of wine.

Unfortunately, knowing a lot about wine, is not a great recommendation for a hospitality/sales person. While it is important to know about the wine you are selling; it is more important to know about the people to whom you are selling.

2. Guests are overloaded with jargon that they may not understand and probably won’t remember by the time they have made a left-turn out of your driveway.

The Result

Guests leave your winery without buying any wine and without a story to tell their friends about your wine. I doubt that this is what you want.

The Solutions

The solution to the problem is two-pronged:

  1. Change your hiring practices, so you are hiring employees who like people even more than they like wine.
  2. Training your hospitality staff is a small investment with a Big Return.

I guarantee that a staff well trained in customer service and sales will sell more wine and create a loyal following for your brand.

If you want more information on training your staff, drop me an email: E@inshortdtc.com

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Creating Emails Customers Want to Read

Since the broad acceptance of email as the most efficient way to communicate, the medium has grown exponentially. According to an article written by Sharon Hurley Hall, more than 74 trillion emails are sent every year. The numbers of emails being sent continue to go up year after year.

I remember as far back in the early 2000s, asking people at conferences at which I was speaking, “How many of you don’t receive enough emails?” No one ever raised their hand and emails have become much more pervasive since then.

While emails make it easy to send information to your customers, these same customers are also receiving emails from many of your competitors. In the next couple of blogs, I am going to talk about many of the ways you can make your stand out from the crowd.

Create individual emails for different groups of customers

Segmentation of your email list is one of the most important things that you can do. The top 10 to 20% of your customers who buy the most wine and buy more frequently should receive more emails from you than those who purchase once each year. Sending too many emails to infrequent buyers could cause them to buy less rather than more.

Sort your customers by their buying patterns:

  • How often they buy
  • What products they buy
  • When they buy
  • The process (buy through email, in person, over the phone, at events).

Subscribe To Your Competitors Emails

How many emails for businesses that you in some way compete with do you subscribe to and read? Take your 10-20 closest competitors and make sure that you are on their email list. I subscribe to many winery emails and most of them are very much alike. Create your emails to incorporate subjects that others are not.

Personal Stories Connect

Make the lead story that will further connect your customers to your brand. Many of your customers feel connected with your winery and with the people who own or work for the winery. Feature a different employee once per quarter, or solicit stories from our customers about your wine. Use those topics as the opening story though keep the stories short. You can add information about the grapes and the wines further into the email.

People connect with people more quickly than they connect with grapevines. Once you have secured the connection, then move onto the product and what you want their response to be.

Subject line

As I mentioned in my tip last Friday, “47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.” That being the case, create a subject line that will connect with recipients and make them want to read more.

Next week, more insights on creating successful emails.

A tip of the glass from me to you! 

Thanksgiving – A Plethora of Emails

I received what seemed like a boatload of emails from wineries over the Thanksgiving and shopping extravaganza long weekend. Some wineries sent me up to five emails in a three or four-day period. Most were touting special pricing on their wines and/or low priced or free shipping.

Offers included:

  •  20% saving with $10 ground shipping
  • Free shipping plus the standard 10% case discount when $150.00 was spent
  • $10 flat rate shipping for gift sets (up to 12 bottles)
  • 5% off on all wines
  • 20% off all wines plus free shipping on 6+ bottles (Black Friday & Cyber Monday)
  • Save $10 on $40 (spent) online
  •  15% off, shipping included on 3+ bottles
  •  1¢shipping on $50 or more plus $10 off on $99 or more.

I also received Cyber Monday prices and Cyber Monday extensions, with the special pricing running through Tuesday.

One California winery did something different: on Black Friday they donated all tasting fees and $5 from each online purchase going to support victims of the Camp Fire (Paradise).

I understand that the Thanksgiving weekend (all the way through Cyber Monday and sometimes Tuesday) is about shopping. More money is spent during these four days (Friday through Monday)than at any other time of the year. So perhaps creating special pricing and/or free shipping options pays dividends. Though if you want your wine to be taken seriously discounting regularly is not the way to promote the quality or overall value. Value is not based solely on price. It is also based on the quality of the product, your reputation in the industry and what bragging rights go along with the purchase.

While it is not surprising that some people buy because of the price. It is not only the price that keeps them buying from you. You still have to have a quality product that fits their lifestyle.

Focus your emails on your customers and what is important to them, rather than what is important to you. 

Next week we will talk more about selling through emails and what information is needed to make it successful.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Working Through Guests’ Price Objections

When a guest objects to the price of one of your products, don’t be discouraged. Many times an objection to the price is the first signal that they really want to buy the product you are selling. If the guests were not interested, they would thank you and leave.

For some people, part of the fun of buying is seeing how much they can get off the retail price. They have every intention of buying while they enjoy the back and forth on price.

For the seller, rule one is: Just because guest quibbles over the price, don’t assume that they will not buy if you don’t give them the price they want.

If guests present objections (and price is the most likely) what they are looking for is you, as the seller, to tell them why they should buy it. They want the reasons why it was a good buy, so when their friends ask them why they bought the product they have a list of reasons why they made a wise buy.

This is particularly prevalent when selling wine. Let’s take Cabernet Sauvignon for example. There are so many different price points that for people who don’t know a lot about wine it is hard to discern why a $100.00 bottle of Cabernet is so much better than a $20.00 bottle of Cabernet.

Here are some of the things that may be prompting guests to object to the price:

What’s in it for me?”

It may be that the guests have not internalized the benefits to them when they buy this wine. Our job as a salesperson is to go over the benefits again, rather than the features. It is the benefit to the guests and their lives that will encourage them to buy the wine.

The emotional process of buying has not been addressed

Buying decisions are made in the emotional part of the brain. We prefer to think we are making intellectual decisions, but mostly they are emotional. So speak to the guests about how they feel about wine rather than how they think about it.

Let them know the wine is worth it

What are the reasons your wine is the price it is?

  • Grapes from a well-known vineyard
  • Amazing winemaker
  • Small production
  • Customer and reviewer accolades
  • Fills your whole palate with flavor
  • Not easy to make wine of this quality

Selling on price alone is never a good idea. Discover from your guests what makes them want to buy and sell those benefits and features that fit with their wants and needs.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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