This week, WHAT, HOW, WHO, and WHY are we NOT Selling?

Last week we looked at what to do and this week we are looking at the opposite side of the What, How, Who and Why of selling, which is:

  1. What are you not offering
  2. How are you not offering it (is our presentation unique)?
  3. To whom are you not selling?
  4. Why are you not doing this?

What are you not offering?

Most people (owners, managers, and staff) have ideas of what they want to do in the business they either own or work in. Many times these ideas have a lot to do with their own interests or motivations, which while reasonable is not necessarily going to get the job done. Because of this, you may not be offering customers the information that will close the sale.

How are you not offering it?

You are not offering the information the customers’ want when you haven’t discovered what it is the customer is looking for. If, for example, I like red wines, fifteen minutes of information on how you grow your Chardonnay grapes and how you make your award-winning Chardonnay is going to cut no ice with me at all. That time could have been much more profitably spent talking about your red wines. Also, many times crucial information is not offered until late in the visit. If it is something that will benefit the customer (such as special case prices or wine club info), let the customer know early in the visit so they have time to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision.

To whom are you not selling it?

Are you judging visitors when they come into your business? If you say no, you are probably wrong. We all judge, it’s part of being human. It is part of what keeps us out of danger. It helps to be wary. It also helps to understand that you have no idea how much someone may buy based on the car they drive, the clothes they wear or how much they know about your product. Many times someone may not buy because you haven’t taken the time to discover his/her likes, dislikes and purchasing triggers.

Why are you not doing this?

Remember that purchases are made through engaging the emotions rather than in the intellectual part of the brain. Buying is a process that is strictly emotional. Instead of facts, inspire your customers. What and How educate your visitors, the WHY inspires them to buy and become long-term customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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WHAT, HOW, WHO, and WHY of Customer Sales & Retention

Before we even get on the sales floor, there are a number of questions (and the answers to these questions) that we have to know. If we don’t know the answers there is no way we can be as successful as we would like to be or convert one-time visitors into life-long customers.

Those four questions are:

  1. What are you offering
  2. How are you presenting the information?
  3. Who is buying your products?
  4. Why are you doing this?

What are you offering?

Everyone in the organization should have a clear idea of what is being offered. Not only what the products are but also what is being offered in the way of customer service and general information. All this information (and a lot more) should be available in written form to all employees and talked about in staff meetings.

Employees, even those who do not regularly see the public, may run into a customer who may need information. It is part of everyone’s job to understand customer service and rudimentary selling techniques.

How are you presenting the information?

When someone walks into your winery, are they going to have a unique or, at least, an uncommon experience? Or are they going to walk away without a precise memory of why your company, products or service?

So many visits to wineries are indistinguishable to many customers.

Who is buying your products?

Know your customers, not only what they buy, but who they are and the demographics they fall into. Most wineries, these days, have CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, most of which has a section that allows you to create robust customer records.  Take advantage of this opportunity to record as much information about customers as you can. The most important letter in CRM is the R.  If you don’t have strong relationships with your customers you will eventually lose them.

Why are you doing this?

Let your customers know why you do what you do. It isn’t enough to say you grow grapes, make wine or work in the tasting room; you have to let them know WHY you do it. The WHY will inspire your customers because you telling them about your passion, your spirit and your commitment to what you do. Inspired customers also buy more.

At your next staff meeting, ask your staff and managers these four questions and see what answers they come up with. Once you know where the weak spots are you can start training.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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It’s Prime Selling Time!

As we are in the midst of the summer visitor season at present, this week’s blog has some reminders about the importance of selling in the tasting room, at events, and anywhere else it seems appropriate.

It is always good to remember that customers make buying decisions through the emotional rather than the intellectual part of their brains. Most of us like to think that our buying decisions are made based on facts and formulated through our intellect but it is just not true. We buy because we feel. We like to believe it is intellectual because it’s easier to describe intellectual feelings than it is emotional ones.

To get your visitors and customers in the right frame of mind, you need to do three things:

  • Engage Your Customers: Let them know that you are interested in them and not just in how much they are willing to buy.
  • Ask Questions: Ask about their wine drinking habits, which types of wines they like and discover if wine is a big part of their lives.
  • Promote the Buy: Discover why your visitors or customers buy wine. Do they use it when they entertain? Is having a glass of wine something they do each night when they get home or with dinner? Are they interested in learning more about wine?

When you know these things, you can focus your sales pitch on what will appeal to them.

Your successful sales presentation will be made up of a number of different parts and should include:

  • Dialogue rather than a monologue, both the customer and you should share a conversation.
  • Enthusiasm for your customers, your job, and passion for the products you are selling.
  • Messaging: Give the customers the information that they want, rather than the information that you want them to have.
  • Differentiation: Give the customers reasons to buy your wine; even people who don’t drink wine have friends or family who do.
  • Inclusion: Make your customers your friends, even if you believe you are only going to see them once in your lifetime.
  • Reasons to Buy: What is it that makes your wines special and different? What other opportunities will the purchase of your wines afford them and are there any rewards for purchase?

If you can make a friend, you can make a sale.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Dangerous Assumptions That Undermine Profits

I was recently asked to do an evaluation of a tasting room experience for a winery at which I had done some training. This meant I actually know the staff. Usually, I would not go myself, but find shoppers they didn’t know and send them. This time I thought I would try something a little different.

I took a look at my list of shoppers I had worked with before and decided upon some friends of mine who were just the type of customers that the winery was trying to reach. The reason my husband and I went along was because I wanted to see if anyone tried to sell to them. Or if, because the staff knew who I was and what I did, they would assume that the others were not going to buy.

Sadly, my thoughts that my shoppers would not get all the information they needed to make buying and joining decisions came true. The shoppers were told about the wines and given information about the vineyards. However, there was so much more that they were not told. As I was sitting at the table I was able to see for myself how the visit progressed.

I was pleased that the staff members were attentive and very nice to us. Unfortunately, there was no mention of the special events that the winery hosts (and they have some great ones) and no one mentioned the wine club (there was no wine club brochure on our table or any mention of the wine club on the tasting information).

This was a pity because my shoppers are a couple who like wine, join clubs, come to events and have the discretionary income to do all of that.  In fact, they are your perfect customers.

They were not asked their names or asked if they would like to be a part of the mailing list. Nor were they asked for any contact information. And even though we bought almost a case of wine, no one asked if we wanted to bump up to a case.

The tasting room staff did a good job making sure the guests had an enjoyable visit and I congratulate them for that. However, so much more could have been done to achieve the goals of the winery management and to take these wine lovers from one-time visitors to lifetime customers.

When people come into your winery, make no assumptions. Give them all the information they will need, rather than what you think they may need.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Selling Luxury

In the past couple of blogs, we have talked about the different categories that wines may fall into and the pricing for those categories. Last week I wrote about the four categories of Premium wines. This week the topic is the highest categories, Luxury wines. The three categories are: Luxury – $50-100; Super Luxury – $100-200; and Icon – $200 plus. The basic definition of these wines is that they are great quality, handmade, exceptional in taste, and expensive.

That is the beginning of luxury. If you want people to buy your luxury wines, it is not good enough that the wines are exceptional, it is the whole experience. Start with your website and follow through with the way guests are treated in person, on the phone, via email and at every point of contact by every person in your company. The look of the winery is also important to many visitors, everything needs to be clean, tidy and promote a feeling of luxury.

The guests and customers who buy these wines do so for a lot of different reasons, but much of it has to do with connection and the feeling that they are making a significant purchase that will enhance their lives and possibly their reputation as connoisseurs of wine. The interactions need to be memorable and out of the ordinary.

Some of these customers are looking for wines that may be traditional, with the luxury of the brand easily identifiable in the story of the wine, the winery, the owners, and the winemaker. Others are willing to spend top dollar on wines that are innovative and present new ideas of how quality is perceived. It could be that some of your customers are looking for wines that will signal their sophistication or have relevance to their lives.

We also have to remember that luxury products, especially wines, are not things that buyers actually need (no matter what we would like to think), they are the products that they want. When we are selling wine, we are selling to customers wants because the wine will do something to make their life or view of themselves better in some way. And to get that feeling they are willing to pay for luxury.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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What Does Selling Premium Wine Mean?

Last week’s blog talked about the different categories that wine may fall into both by price and quality. The next few blogs are going to focus on what it takes to produce higher price, higher quality wines.

Today we are going to talk about the Premium wines, which encompasses four categories; Popular Premium, Premium, Super Premium and Ultra Premium. These wines range in price from $10-15 for Popular Premium, up to  $30-40 for Ultra Premium. However, each of these categories uses the word Premium One of the definitions of the word Premium is “of exceptionally quality,” so if you talk about selling premium wines, your customers are expecting quality products. Your job is to give them quality.

Within your winery you may have wines that fall into two or three of the premium price categories, with a lighter white or rosé being less expensive than a more robust, barrel aged red. So differentiation between the wines and the reasons for pricing them as you do is important, as customers may not know why some wines are more expensive or less expensive than others. Be ready to explain those differences.

In this broader category of Premium wines, you may also deal with a variety of customer types. Customers may be looking for very different things. Some may be looking for bargains (a good yet inexpensive wine), others are looking to pay more for something that will impress their friends, while others believe that in order to get a “premium” wine, they have to pay a certain price.  Just like your wines, all your customers are different, so as with all customer interactions it’s important to find out their individual wants, needsand desires. This will help you create a place in their memories for your wines and winery.

Another consideration is (of course) customer service. The higher price your wines, the greater the expectations of your customers for a good experience during their visit, especially if you charge for tasting, as most wineries do these days. Attention to the customer and to the details of the experience should be high on your list when you are selling Premium wines.

Next week we”ll talk about Luxury wines.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Placing Wines by Category and Price

It used to be that there were two or three wine price categories. The three were low priced wines, medium priced wines, and high priced wines. That doesn’t seem to be the case these days. I was reading an article by Wine Folly and they show a chart of the different wine categories and their pricing.

  • Extreme Value wines, average cost $4.00, this category is made up of bulk wine.
  • Value wine, average cost, $4-$10, described as “Basic quality bulk wines from large regions and producers.”
  • Popular Premium wines, average cost $10-$15, “Large production, decent varietal wines and blends.
  • Premium, $14-$20, “Good, solid quality wines.
  • Super Premium $20-$30, “Great, handmade wines from medium-large production wineries.”
  • Ultra Premium, $30-$40, “Great quality, handmade, excellent-tasting wines from small to large producers”
  • Luxury, $50-$100, “Excellent wines from wine regions made by near-top producers.”
  • Super Luxury, $100-$200, “Wines from top producers from microsites.”
  • Icon, $200+, “The pinnacle of wines, wineries, and microsites.”

So where do your wines fall on this chart both in the category and in the price? Do you find that your wine belongs in one category but that category is not reflected in the price you charge for it? Or are you charging more for a wine that actually belongs in a lower category? Usually, that is hard to say, as it can be difficult to judge your own wines.

Wine may taste different to a variety of customers depending on what they like, how much they enjoy wine and what they are looking for. Also depending on the customer. More expensive wines may taste better to some people just because they are more expensive and their expectations are that more expensive wines taste better. The location of your winery may also have something to do with the prices you can charge or the categories you fall into.

Over the next few blogs, we are going to look into what it takes to move into the higher categories and prices in the wine world. And what it takes to move up to the Ultra Premium or Luxury categories or even higher. Take some time to think about where your wines are.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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