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! 

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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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Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a busy week, both personally and in business, so I will make today’s blog brief.

As Black Friday is the biggest sales day for most businesses in the U.S. (and even in countries where they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving), keep in mind that it pays to spend a minute or two focusing on the guests and what they want, no matter how busy you are.

Here are a few tips:

Between each interaction with different groups of guests:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Reboot your attitude to positive
  • Approach every interaction as if it were the first of the day.

Lastly, bring at least two pairs of shoes to work with you on Black Friday. It really helps if you change shoes regularly as it changes the pressure points.

Here is a quote from W. Clement Stone, an extremely successful entrepreneur who encouraged a positive mental attitude to achieve success.

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect.” 

Remembering that it’s you who makes the difference may keep you going until you can sit down, take your shoes off and breathe a sigh of relief.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Selling!

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Customer Engagement Reminders

Black Friday and the December holidays are quickly approaching, which means you are busy, busy, busy for a couple of months. As most people seem to be rather stressed at this time, it helps if you go out of your way to be patient, polite and professional with all your customers. Here are a few tips that may help in the busy times.

The Customer May Be Wrong

However, if you have to tell them so, do it in a pleasant way.

Ask Questions

If you know what your customer wants, you are better able to meet their needs quickly and accurately.

Understand the Customers Make Buying Decisions Emotionally

It is easier to think that buying is an intellectual process, though the actual decision is made through the emotions.

Listen More Than You Speak

Let the customer do most of the talking. Try not to interrupt, as it will take longer to get to the root of the request or concern.

Customers Should Feel Appreciated. 

Customers are happier if they feel, Important… Liked… Right. If you can manage all three that is fantastic, though any one of the three will help.

Saying Yes has great power

When you can say Yes to customers, even when the request is simple, the customer feels as if s/he is important to you. Sometimes you have to say no. At those times, find an alternate solution.

Give More Than Is Expected

When you go that extra mile (or even an inch) you receive in return the appreciation of the customer. This means the customer is more willing to buy your products.

Promise Only What You Can Deliver

Don’t overpromise. Better to let customers know if you can’t meet their expectations. However, promise that you will do everything you can to make it happen.

Apologize

An apology goes a long way to keeping a customer happy, even if you are not at fault.

“I am so sorry this happened, let me see what I can do.”

“I don’t think we can have it (the requested item)  to you by Monday,

but we will ship it to you as soon as it comes in.”

Don’t Forget To Smile

Your smile helps smooth any transaction. So keep smiling and mean it, even when you don’t feel like it.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Are Your Employees Motivated?

Business owners may spend a lot of time planning ways to motivate staff and managers. However, it seems that starting with why staff members are not motivated should be the first step in the process. If you know why your staff isn’t motivated, it is much easier to put into play the strategies that will change attitudes and banish apathy.

Interestingly enough a Gallup poll found that 70% of US employees were disengaged. Having that many employees who are not motivated to do the best job they can has to have a great impact on customer satisfaction and profits.

Until you understand the reasons for your employees’ lack of motivation it’s going to be hard to change the behavior, especially if the lack of motivation extends to a number of employees in the same company.

Start with a simple employee survey that asks questions such as:

  1. What rewards do you want for your work?

If you don’t know what motivates your employees to perform at top level, you may well be rewarding them in ways that do not resonate with them.

  1. Does your environment encourage motivation?

There may be things that can be changed with the work environment that will encourage a more positive attitude in employees.

  1. How can the company make your job easier?

Many inspirational ideas for a better work environment come from the employees. They are the ones dealing with all the little things that could be better organized. Plus they may have some good ideas on how things can be changed or streamlined. They may not have said anything because no one thought to ask them.

  1. Are they happy with the management style of the company owners or managers?

Management style should vary from employee to employee. Some employees prefer to be macro-managed rather than micro-managed. Find out which employee prefers which style.  Preference for different management styles may also vary from younger to older employees.

Next week’s blog will be about how to motivate employees.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Holiday Sales

The scariest thing about Halloween is that it makes us realize how little time we have left in this year. Which means that if you haven’t already rolled out your holiday selling plans now is the time. For those who are not yet thinking about the holidays, here are a few tips.

While the main focus is on December don’t forget that Thanksgiving is coming up first. Information on which of your wines pair well with traditional or untraditional Thanksgiving feasts should already be on your website, in your emails, and in your hospitality center.

On to December. A significant percentage of shoppers have already started their holiday shopping by the end of October and the majority will have started shopping before the end of November, The good news is that the different articles I have been reading about who starts their holiday shopping when all say that many people start early, they do not say that they all finish early.

As wine is the perfect gift for almost any occasion, the sooner you let them know that you can take care of most of the holiday needs, the better. Many of your customers are already thinking about holiday gifts, holiday parties and what they will need.

Send an email now to your customers reminding them of what you can do for them to make buying for the upcoming holidays easier. Include some tips on holiday dinners or other get-togethers (there are lots of sites on the Internet that offer holiday planning ideas). At the same time, let them know that you can solve their gift giving and holiday planning dilemmas by telling them what you have to offer.

  • Add a page to your website that features different options for gifts, complete with gift boxes, etc.
  • Remind them of the timeline for shipping to get their gifts to their destinations on time.
  • Schedule a one-day event on a weekend in mid-November for gift shopping, with a holiday theme. While Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend are big draws, there are also many shoppers who prefer not to fight the crowds.
  • Offer a special holiday shopping day for wine club members.
  • Offer holiday gifts for businesses to give to clients.
  • As the holidays approach, shoot out short weekly emails with tips on fun and festive entertaining.
  • Have information in your hospitality center about your holiday offerings for guests to take with them.

There are many people who don’t like to shop or don’t know what to buy for others.  Make it simple for them to get most of their holiday shopping done in one place and… make that one place your place.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Ramifications of Bad Customer Service

As I was wandering through the Internet, I found some great information on customer service on Help Scout. The article was actually a compilation of quotes, facts and statistics from different companies and individuals focused on the ramifications of bad customer service and the benefits of positive engagement with customers. I thought I would pull some of these out for this week’s blog.

American Express Customer Service Barometer (2017)

“More than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase transaction because of bad service.”

Salesforce

“74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.”

New Voice Media

“After one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with that company again. “

“U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.”

Those are some powerful numbers and some amazing findings, showing that the attitude companies have towards the importance of positive engagement with customers can seriously affect the bottom line.

It’s important to spend time accessing your company’s customer service through all lines of communication: in person, via email, phone, mail, on social media and in any other ways that you are in touch with your customers.

Every person who works for the winery, no matter what their job, is responsible for being available to help customers if they come into contact with them. Each and every employee should have some customer service training. Though employees who work in the cellar or in the back office may not encounter many visitors, if they happen to run into a visitor, they should make eye contact, smile and be available to help if needed (even if it is merely directing someone to where they want to go).

How long has it been since you did a customer service review in your business? Are you overseeing at least one customer service training session per year for all your employees and offering more training for those who are on the front lines of customer interaction?

Good customer engagement will raise your sales, according to the 2017 Customer Service Barometer from American Express:

7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers good service.

A simple upgrade to your customer service should mean more wine sold, more return customers and a strong uptick to your bottom line.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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