- Silent Selling
Increase Customer Satisfaction. Increase Sales.
In Part I of this series, we discussed how to increase customer satisfaction (and therefore sales) by understanding how backstage actions affect the sales floor, and how to create a valuable Customer Journey Map. In Part II, we’re going to dive into the various “roles” that tasting room and tap room employees tend to play and the ones they should be playing.
On the Stage – Soliloquy Anyone?
From our WISE research in winery tasting rooms, we see too many team members who get stuck in “monologue mode” and miss the unique preferences, needs and buying signals of the person in front of them. Research shows that this trap is significantly holding back both sales performance and guest satisfaction.
Pour & Ignore
The phrase “pour and ignore” is not how you want people to refer to your tasting room or tap room experiences. Sure, on a busy weekend afternoon or evening, it becomes a challenge to give each customer undivided attention, but this should be the exception not the rule.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Who hasn’t heard of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have others do unto you? Most companies try to provide good customer service by encouraging their employees to model the Golden Rule – to treat others as you would like to be treated. But in a industry like craft beverage, we’ve got to go beyond that and look to high-end retailers and service providers like Nordstrom’s, Tiffany’s, Ritz-Carlton, etc. for examples of truly phenomenal service.
Successful craft beverage companies have learned that it isn’t enough to just be polite or helpful. With so many craft beverages for customers to choose from, how will your brand stand out in a market that offers a plethora of seemingly similar choices? The key is sell the experience, not just the product, and make the service exceptional, the interaction unique, and the experience memorable!
For an extraordinary customer experience, go further than the Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule – treat customers as they want to be treated. How do you know how a specific customer wants to be treated? We have to find out because each customer is not the same. One size does not fit all.
Find out how they want to be treated and do it. It’s about their wants and needs, so find out what they are. It’s as easy as 1, 2 3!
1. Be observant. Ask open-ended questions to engage customers in order to determine their needs and wants. If you don’t ask them questions, how can you know what their interests are?
2. Listen. Pay attention to their responses, both verbal and non-verbal, and be sure to create dialogue around their answers. Build the discussion around their interests but try to relate it back to your brand, craft beverage, or other products. A discussion about a favorite sports team may be interesting, but it probably won’t lend itself to creating a memorable experience with your brand.
3. Respond appropriately. When you ask questions, listen to the replies and build a relationship with the person in front of you. This rapport building creates a feeling of trust, and trust leads to sales.
Building that connection and tailoring the discussion to their needs, creates a unique experience and makes it memorable. For example, if you’ve found out that your customer is a red-only wine drinker, then offering them the sale on the Chardonnay isn’t the best way to cater to their needs. Find something enticing to them based on what you’ve learned by having a dialog with them.
By doing this well, you not only can exceed their expectations, but also successfully make an easier, more natural sale. You’ve already sold the experience, now they are ready to take it home with them to enjoy again later.
One size does not fit all. Get to know your customers individually and deliver a platinum experience they deserve. Why not try the Platinum Rule on for size?
A vast number of enthusiastic tasting room and tap room staff have a tendency to be so happy to share their wealth of knowledge about the company, products, and other information that they tend to treat each guest as a potential audience to present to. While much better than ‘pour and ignore,’ merely regurgitating facts and giving a presentation without any input from the guest tends to be too one-sided and lacks the much needed interaction. In a presentation, you talk at a person and it becomes a monologue. No matter how professional, educational and entertaining it is, it’s just a one-way street. And, unfortunately, monologues don’t build relationships, get club members or sell craft beverages. Dialogues do.
Dazzle & Dialogue
Is your staff talking at your guests or with them? In a dialogue, you talk with a person in a relevant conversation asking questions and exchanging information. With dialog, you still work in all the key points about your products and company/brand – but as a natural part of the conversation and in a way that they’re receptive to it. Figure out (by listening to) what your guests are interested in and convey the information back to them in a way that is tailored to their preferences.
The best way to find out what your guest is interested in and what their needs and wants are is to ask open-ended questions. By asking the right rapport building questions, you’ll find out more about your customer – what their relationship is with your company, with craft beverages in general, and what they are going to be most receptive to. You can accurately profile customers – and then adapt your ‘sales pitch’ accordingly – by engaging them in conversation. This will give you clues on how to sell to the individual in front of you.
Dialogue leads to building rapport/establishing a relationship, which leads to trust, and trust leads to sales. More dialogue not only leads to more sales, but also customer satisfaction is actually much higher because they feel that they had a unique experience, tailored to their preferences.
So dazzle your guests with dialogue that engages them, and watch your customer satisfaction scores rise along with sales. What conversations is your team having with guests?
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