More on Sales

When people come into your business do they already know that they are or are not going to buy from you? The answer to that question is no, they don’t. How many times have you walked into a business with no intention of buying anything and bought anyway?

As a salesperson, your job is not to assume that someone is or is not going to buy. Though if you have to make an assumption, assume that the customers in front of you are going to buy. If you assume that your customers are not going to buy, did they then not buy because they weren’t ever going to buy or did they not buy because you treated them differently in some subtle ways that may not be picked up by the conscious mind but will be stored away by the subconscious? Also, the subconscious mind contains information that we are not actively aware of but may nonetheless influence decision-making.

Research has shown that customers will make instinctive decisions with their subconscious mind. As consumers, we are not aware of what’s in our subconscious. Although that we may still be influenced by things we have heard, seen or experienced before stored in the subconscious.

As humans, we prefer things that are familiar to us as well as simple to understand. Make it simple for your customers to understand your products and to make decisions to purchase.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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What Do Your Customers Want From You?

Knowing what your customers want is part and parcel of making your customers happy and ensuring that they will continue to buy from you. Here are some tips on how to engage your customers:

Use Their Names

Not only will customers remember you if you remember their names and use their names (a couple of times in the conversation), they are also more aware and interested when they hear their names. Try not to overuse the name. Sometimes when I have been on a phone call with a company and the employee has been told to use the customer’s name, they use it every second word, which is way too much and a little irritating.

Personalize

A key way to make customers happy is to make each experience personal. A personalized experience not only makes customers happy, they are also willing to pay more for a personalized experience. Treat each set of customers as individuals with an individual experience.

Tell Stories

When we tell a story, customers can become a part of that story. Powerful messages about the company are left in their minds through the story. Keep your stories fairly short, so customers don’t lose interest.

Involve Your Customers

Ask customers for their ideas or present ideas you have and ask for their input. If you implement a customer’s idea, make sure they are rewarded for their input.

Surprise Customers

An unexpected treat or gift (no matter how small) will please your customers and will get them talking to their friends about how great the company is.

Time & Memories

Many customers value time well spent and the memories that are created much more than they do discounts. Though in most businesses there is more talk about pricing than there is about what the product will mean to the customer. Start focusing more on the memories that they can make with your products.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Identify Personality Types to Increase Sales

I came across an interesting article by Mikita Mikado the co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc on the ways people think and how you can get them to buy by paying attention to their actions to discern the way they think. Mr. Mikado suggests that one method to understand what motivates buyers is to apply a personality model and sites the DISC model (Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive or Cautious). He goes on to summarize each personality type and useful approaches when selling to different types of customers.

Dominant

Confident and assertive people who know what they want. These people make statements instead of asking questions. The dominant people focus on the bottom line and are motivated by control and achievement. Ask them questions about what they think or how they would solve something. With products and facts show them why your product works for them. Demonstrate how it will help their life and give them more control.

Inspiring

These are people who will listen to what you have to say. They are interested and want to get to know you by asking questions that relate to your personally. These people are early adopters so if you have a new wrinkle on an old idea, point it out as they value what’s different. Sell them on what makes you unique or different. They want to try new things. Let them help you sell to others by providing incentives for sharing information.

Supportive

People who want to discuss things they have learned with others. They are interested in relationships and work hard to maintain them. Once they have a relationship with you they will want to keep it and are primary candidates for rewards and clubs. While they like to take their time making the decision, once they make it you have them for a long time.  Sell to them by building relationships and keep in touch. Let them know what others think about your products.

Cautious

You need to get straight to the point with these people. They want information and them will ask you several questions, so make sure you know your stuff. They are the people who want the details, so focus more on facts. To sell them, validate their thoughts and emotions and when they are right, let them know. Pictures as well as words help.

While many of us share some traits from more than one personality type, look out for the traits you can identify.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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It’s Time For A Change

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” W. L. Bateman

And nowhere is this quote truer than in the wine industry, although there are many different types of retailers jostling for second place. The majority of the wineries that I visit around North America are still firmly rooted in the belief that the way to sell wine is by talking about it non-stop. Overwhelming visitors with facts, which they may or may not be interested in, and not finding out anything about the visitors themselves is not going to help you to sell wine, in most cases.

Yes, you do get the occasional wine aficionado in your winery, the one who really does know a lot about wine and wants to know more. These are the people that you can give as much information as you want to. But there are many others who visit wineries. They want to know a couple of facts they can use to impress their friends when they get home, though by and large they really want a two way conversation, they ask you questions, you ask them questions. They listen to your answers and you listen to theirs.

What leads winery folk to talk almost exclusively about wine is passion. Their passion about wine leads them to keep talking about the wine, even when the visitors have become glassy-eyed and they are looking for an opportunity to escape.

If wineries ever want to be really successful at sales, they have to make sure the staff is asking questions and talking about things that interest the visitors – mainly talking about the visitors themselves. Find out about their hobbies, likes and dislikes. Once you know something about them you can talk about wine in ways that relate to them, rather than talking about wine in ways that it’s important to you.

I understand that when you are really busy, all bets are off. So practice asking questions and being more customer-centric, than wine-centric when things are quieter and then you can use a few of those engagement techniques when things are busier.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

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Have Tea, Will Travel

I just returned from a week in the Midwest, working mid week with the wineries of Iowa and then on to Illinois for some time with the wineries in the Northern region.

After flying into and staying in Des Moines overnight, I drove down to Two Saints Winery in St. Charles to present a full day seminar, then took off for Oskaloosa to visit Tassel Ridge Winery. From there it was a three-hour trip up to Galena, Illinois.

I was listening to the radio as I drove up to Galena and was told of a tornado watch around Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, which I was passing at the time. I am happy to say that the tornado did not materialize in that area though Illinois got hit. I have no idea of what to do in a tornado, having only lived in England and California, neither of which is known for tornados.

Galena, Illinois is a picturesque little town, obviously a tourist town, with lots of wonderful shops, restaurants and a few wine tasting rooms and my stay at Galena Cellars, where I presented another full day seminar, was fun and interesting. Thanks Chris (Lawlor-White) for your wonderful hospitality! I would definitely like to go back to Galena and take in more of the wineries in and around that area.

It’s so gratifying to see the wineries in these areas doing so well and making a variety of wines that suit their climate, some dry wines, some sweet and some in between. Their enthusiasm for their products and dedication to their profession is inspiring.

Wine clubs are catching on in these areas, with a few in Iowa and more in Illinois and even more in the planning for a number of wineries. In both states, I tasted some lovely Seyvals (one of my favorite grapes) as well as Marquette and Chambourcin. The French hybrids are doing very well in the Midwest and the wineries understand the grapes as well as the demands of their customers.

The only thing I have to remember when I travel to the Midwest is to make sure that I have plenty to teabags with me, as it’s hard to get a cup of tea in many restaurants. Which is the reason for the title of this blog. But as long as I have terrific people to work with (and the Midwest has plenty of those), can get a good glass of wine, and remember to bring plenty of teabags with me, I am set.

So thanks to the wineries for their wholehearted welcome and to the people who worked hard to put the days of training together. It’s always a pleasure to come to the Midwest and I hope to be back to see you soon! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A tip of the glass (and the cup) from me to you!

Are You Telling Your Stories to Your Customers?

How many stories do you have to tell visitors and customers? Is everyone saying the same thing, or do different people in the business have different stories to tell about the business?

When you can tell a personal story about who you work for, where you work, or why the company you work for is special, it goes a long way to connecting visitors and customers with the company. Think about what stories are special to you, or something that happened to you while you were at work that will make someone laugh or give them a warm feeling. Do you have a great story about your boss, which shows them in a positive light? Or if you’re the boss do you have a great story about one of your employees?

Even though it has been some years ago, I still remember a story that a hospitality employee told me about how the people she worked for supported her through a time of personal crisis. It made a strong impression on me and led to me buying more wine than I would normally have. If I am in the area, I will always stop at the winery to taste the wine and engage with the staff.

Also telling a story of something that went wrong at the winery, makes your winery and the people in it more human. If it’s a story that your visitors or customers find amusing and engaging there is a more than average chance that they will tell the story themselves to their friends and to others.

In addition to telling visitors and customers your story, it’s important that you take the time to hear their stories as well. Give them time to chat with you about their stories around wine in general or your wines in particular. Create the bonds that will bring people back again and again.

A tip of the glass from me to you! e_T4Q6892 low-res -c bw s

Are You Using Calls to Action to Increase Sales?

e_T4Q6892 low-res -c bw sI get lots of emails from wineries letting me know about what’s going on with that winery, or about things available for me to purchase. Though, not all these emails include a call to action. Sometimes the emails give customers the facts, but don’t give them any reason to purchase, or if you don’t know your customers well the reasons to buy may not resonate with them. Make sure that the offers you make are appropriate to your customers, which will lead to greater buy in. Also, make sure that your offers match your goals. Know what you’re trying to achieve before you start writing the email.

If you want people to buy, the email needs to include not only why the readers should buy, but also how they should buy. You can use words such as, “Email us “now or “Call us now at…” When you encourage people to call immediately, you have a much greater chance that they will call and they will buy. Once they have closed the email, the chances that they will call and order are slimmer.

You may also get people to take action by reminding them that the offer is in some way limited, either by time, amount available, or in other ways. If your customers know the offer expires quickly, or that there are a limited number of cases available, or that they are receiving this email before it goes out the rest of your list (which is one more perk for wine club members), it can boost sales.

Another way to encourage buying is by not giving the email recipients too many options. Research has shown that people are more likely to buy when they have less to choose from. It makes it easier for the customers to make decisions.

Limited options, easy ways to order and purchase, time limits and strong action words, such as “Buy”, “Call today”, “Place your order online”, “Save”, are all directions you can use to increase your sales.

A tip of the glass from me to you!