Get In The May Mood

There is a lot going on in the month of May.

Mother’s Day is coming up fast.

Think of different ways to wish a happy Mother’s Day to mothers and others. For example, if you are a winery that produces and sells Cabernet Sauvignon, wish happy Mother’s Day to Sauvignon Blanc, the wine that is the mother of Cabernet Sauvignon. Do the same on Father’s Day with Cabernet Franc.

Many people have May birthdays.

Invite your customers to join you for their birthday, with any customer who comes in during the week of his/her birthday gets a birthday surprise. I will leave it up to you to decide on the surprise, though it could be a flower, chocolate, preferential pricing, a coupon for their next visit, or access to a special offering or person – just to name a few.

There is something special going on every day in May. Here are a few “special” days during the month of May: Today (May 3rd) is Paranormal Day, Garden Meditation Day, School Nurse Day, Lumpy Rug Day (really!), for example.

Looking at a calendar for May shows me that every day in May has at least three special designations and some days have up to seven “special” designations. Some of them are important, such as May 28th which is Amnesty International Day and some less so, May 27th Cellophane (Scotch) Tape Day.

By the way, May 25th is National Wine Day, so you have plenty of time to get ready for that.

A tip of the glass from me to you, and have a great day no matter what you choose to celebrate!

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Skills Successful Salespeople Have

Good sales people are a company’s best asset, but a good salesperson needs to know more than sales tactics.

The most important skill is customer service. Until the customer is engaged emotionally s/he is not paying much attention to the information or facts that salespeople are presenting. Buyers initially are more interested in working with a salesperson that wants to discover what they are looking for, rather than hearing about products they may or may not want. So leave the sales pitch until later and spend the first few minutes connecting with the customer. Salespeople who build trust with their customers are much more likely to make the sale.

Salespeople should participate in a dialogue with the customers about their needs, wants and desires. Listening to their customers’ responses will give salespeople the information they need to present customers with the right information on the right products at the right time.

Communicate the benefits of the products through information that will resonate with the customers. The time spent listening to what the customers want will make personalizing the sale so much easier.

Another form of communication is storytelling. Salespeople should have a number of concise and relevant stories to tell the customers. Keep the stories short and easy to remember and they will stay with customers who are then more likely to repeat an interesting, unusual or humorous story to their friends or family.

If you want to sell effectively you must genuinely like people, treat them well, and make them feel important.

Salespeople should be able to transfer all these sales skills to the phone as well as developing other skills, such as being aware of the tone of voice of the customer. The salesperson should establish quickly why s/he is calling or why the customer called the company. Don’t start asking questions until you know why the customer called or the customer knows why the salesperson has called.

Once the sales person has engaged the customer a small amount of small talk is acceptable.

In short, engagement is the key to creating long-term customers.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Are Your Customers Having Fun?

How often do your make your customers smile or laugh? Is it at least once during any interaction? Well, almost any interaction; if someone comes in seething with resentment, first you need to relax them, then solve their problem. After that, you might make them smile or laugh.

Anytime you can make a customer smile you are closer to a connection and therefore closer to a sale.

Smiling or laughing relaxes people, relieves stresses and is good for their health. If you can make someone smile, you will usually smile as well, which is also good for your stress level and your health.

Greet customers with a smile and more often than not they will smile back at you.  When you smile you appear open and willing to help them. That can relax the customers and put them in a more receptive mood to listen to what you have to say.

Most of us will frequent businesses where we feel we are valued by the staff and owners. Sharing a laugh with a customer makes him/her feel valued, more cheerful and    more willing to buy. Though humor can be a double-edged sword, when used well it is a great sales tool.

There are times to use humor and times to be serious. As you get to know a customer, a sales person may use a joke or quip to relax the customer and enhance connection. Remember though that we do not know the opinions of the customer to many different things, so don’t assume that your customers have the same belief system that you do. They also may mot have the same understanding of sarcasm, so unless you know the customer well and understand their viewpoints don’t use it.

The time to be serious is when you are presenting the key points about your product as humor may also disrupt the customer’s ability to weigh the pros and cons of buying the product.

Be cheerful, smile and use humor to increase comfort levels and your sales will increase.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Customer Service: The Good, The Bad, And The Very Ugly

After watching a segment on the television about a couple of companies that offer customer service that is above and beyond the norm, earlier this week, I decided to write my blog on customer service, talking about some companies that really go out of their way.

On Monday along came the story about United Airlines dragging a paying customer out of his seat and off an airplane. I was amazed. Not only at the removal of the man by airline security people but also by the fact that none of these people gave any thought to the fact that cell phones (which are ubiquitous these days) have cameras. It was not a pretty video.

This was followed up by a less than stellar “apology” from the CEO of United Airlines. All in all an extremely bad day for United, its employees and (it seems from the internet) its share prices.

That takes care of the bad and very ugly, as this incident definitely fits into both those categories.

On the other side, there are some great examples of customer service. Land’s End company will always refund the purchase price of any item. In fact, the information on the Land’s End website states:

“Guaranteed. Period.

If you are not satisfied with any item, return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price.”

That type of service with no questions asked is bound to make consumers life-long customers of Land’s End.

Another shining example is Nordstrom, a company known for the excellent treatment of their customers.

Of course, it’s not only no hassle return policies, it’s also the quality of service, being polite, friendly, interested in the customer and ready to help. All these will increase your sales and keep your customers coming back again and again.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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What About The Wine Label?

I was speaking to a group of wineries and growers recently about sales and marketing of wine and grapes. In the course of the conversation, a question was asked about the importance of the wine label. The question was about the look of the label and whether it was okay for a label to be quite plain and simple.

My answer was that yes, having a simple label is fine as long as it well executed, easy to read and it gave the government and buyers the information they needed.

The person who asked the question then responded by saying that he thought that the label was just the label and that “it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts.” While I don’t disagree that what is inside the bottle is very important, I hastened to add that the label was also of great importance.

For many people, the label is the first impression of your wine. Someone who has never tasted the wine has an impression of the label design and execution as well as the verbiage that will help him/her make the decision as to whether or not they buy that wine. This is especially true if you are selling your wines off-premise, where many buyers will not have the opportunity to talk to you.

Even if you sell all your wines through the winery, many of your customers will be influenced not only by the taste of the wine but also by the overall presentation of the wine, the label, the bottle the capsule, etc.

So while your label does not have to be fancy or expensively produced, it should be of the same expected quality to assure the customers that the price you are charging for the wine is warranted.

Keep a label simple if you wish but let it echo the quality that you know is in the bottle.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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First Emails to Customers

I was at the US Bev X conference and trade show in Washington DC in February.  It was a great conference with lots of pertinent information on a host of topics pertinent to all facets of the beverage industry.

In one of my sessions this question was asked:

“When a visitor comes to your winery and gives you their email address so you may send them information, how do you create that first email to engage with them further?”

This was an excellent question as that first email is crucial in strengthening the connection between your business and the new customer. My answer was that you have to go back to the initial encounter. This person came first to your tasting room and that is where the connection has to start. The staff members who interact with the visitors have to create the relationship from the beginning of the visit.

It is up to them to take the first steps in learning about these visitors:

Their names

Where they are from

What brought them to you

Their wants and needs, likes and dislikes

How much interest they have in the product.

These questions sprinkled throughout the conversation (rather than being asked one after the other) will be the beginning of the visitors’ relationship with the company and with the individual staff members. The staff members should also offer information, not only on the product but a trade of information about themselves, starting with their names. As the visit progresses staff members can mention the things that they may have in common with the visitors as well as giving them information that the visitors will be interested in.

These are the things that will make visitors give you their email and may turn these (possibly one-time visitors) into long-term customers, even if they live far away.

So back to that first email? It should be sent within a day or two after the visitors’ first visit. The email should be signed by the person or people the visitors connected with during their visit. It will renew the personal contact and should have some of the information they learned from the visitors. Remind them of what they enjoyed about the visit. Let them know how much their visit meant to you and that you look forward to seeing or hearing from them again.  There is plenty of time to sell to them in subsequent emails. Use the first one to engage emotions.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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It’s Important To Be Important!

It’s nice to feel important. Think about the last time someone (a friend, family member or a business) made you feel important. What does that do to your mood in the moment or the way you feel for the rest of the day?

In order to make your visitors and customers important, you have to get to know them. In the case of first-time visitors, you start by observing as they walk through the door. First-time visitors who may not be familiar with wine tasting may be more hesitant when they arrive. Being aware of that fact gives you a clue as to their level of comfort or discomfort. If visitors are hesitant, you can start by making them comfortable. There are many people who come into wineries, who have never been to a winery before. They may be unsure of how things work and what is expected from them. So reassure them that knowing about wine is not a prerequisite to having a good time. Ditch the insider lingo and speak in terms the visitors will understand while still giving them information that will make them more knowledgeable. Ask for their names and become their friend.

Conversely, you make regular customers feel important by greeting them by name, telling them you are glad to see them again and asking them how life is going for them. This lets them and (sometimes more importantly) others in the room know that they are well liked and appreciated.

It sounds easy and it is as long as you are focusing on your visitors needs, wants and desires, rather than launching directly into your regular spiel about the products and winery.

Practice being aware of body language, questions asked and answers given. You will always gain more loyal customers and sell more when the focus is squarely on the customers and visitors. The primary goal is to make friends and to create connections.

After that, the sales will follow. People who are engaged are more willing to buy.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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