- Silent Selling
Direct to Consumer sales success is pivotal for most small craft beverage businesses. Through our many, many mystery shopping experiences, we’ve finally fine-tuned our lessons into a road map to success. We hope our success checklists below are helpful and help you navigate to DTC success!
Don’t Let Your Backstage Show
Front stage vs. Backstage refers to the ‘performance’ concept of where the “front stage” is the guest experience – everything the guest sees, hears, touches, smells – and the “backstage” is all the things behind the scenes that need to take place in order make sure there is a great front stage performance. Backstage issues are usually physical (i.e., smudged glasses, bathroom that needs servicing) but they can also be verbal (inappropriate staff attitude or comments in front of the guests).
WISE Best Practice: You never want your backstage to be showing in front of the guests. Ensure everything is in place prior to guests’ arrival for an exceptional guest experience.
- Winery/tap room/business entrance has clear signage and easy access
- The parking lot and grounds are tidy with adequate parking near the tasting room.
- The tasting room, tasting bar, and merchandise area are tidy.
- The glasses are clean and have no smell.
- The bathroom is tidy.
- There are appropriate settings for the lighting, music/noise, temperature and smells.
- The craft beverage service is perfect – For example: wine is not corked or flawed and is poured at the correct temperature with a proper size (1 oz to 1.5 oz).
- Staff discussions and attitudes are always appropriate.
- Staff is dressed to reflect the brand (logo wear or other appropriate attire).
WISE Best Practice: Use front-stage vs. backstage concepts and language to motivate team to notice more, care more and keep raising the bar. Include in your daily team debrief “where was our backstage showing today?”
Leverage Silent Selling Tools
Effective Silent Selling covers the many different ways your brand is reflected, which your guests can be subconsciously sold on – but has nothing to do with anyone on your team opening their mouth. It’s everything within the tasting room including design, merchandising, printed collateral materials, signage, and other items that encourage guests to purchase products. It’s more than pretty displays; it’s subconscious emotional triggers to buy.
WISE Best Practice: Every single guest (not each couple) should receive a list of craft beverages being tasted with descriptors, pricing and room for notes plus a full price list, order form, club brochure and a pen.
- The tasting menu, price list, order form and club brochure, and all are clear, effective and readily available for every guest.
- Staff offers guests a pen or makes one available.
- There a separate, obviously marked, tasting area for VIP or Club (even if it’s not always used as such.)
- Beyond the club brochure, there are other club mentions such as signs, price list with club pricing, photos, etc. about the club.
- The visual merchandising (presentation, displays, general look & feel of merchandising) serves as a brand mirror. The merchandise selections – everything beyond your craft beverage – fit with your brand, has the right brand vibe and tells the desired brand story.
- There is collateral in the bag tailored to each guests’ unique preferences and interests. For example – club brochure, event listing, recipe pairings, online order promo code, etc.
Demonstrate Real Service Heart
- Staff gives a friendly greeting with eye contact within 15 seconds.
- Staff sets the stage for the guest experience by mapping out how it will work, by explaining the different options available (i.e. types of tastings, tours, etc.) and guiding decisions as needed.
- Shipping options are explained.
WISE Best Practice: Use shipping as non-sales, sales tactics. Staff can use shipping as a “seed planting” sales tool by asking the right questions and using shipping in a strategic way. For example, when asking guests where they are from, mentioning that the winery/brewery/etc. can ship to that state helps put the idea of shipping craft beverage home into their minds so they are subconsciously thinking about purchasing early on in the experience. Other examples include shipping promotions, up-selling bottles for the same cost of shipping, using cold packs in the summer, etc.
- Staff is hospitable, showing that he or she truly want to help and be of service.
- Surprise and delight every guest.
WISE Best Practice: Exceed guests’ expectations on every visit by formally choreographing elements of surprise and delight into every guest experience. The key here is to do so in an authentic way, tailored to each guests’ experience.
- There is a quick, error-free checkout.
WISE Best Practice: Collect payment at the end of the experience. Asking guests to pay upon arrival decreases the likelihood of them taking out their wallets again to make a purchase after their experience – whether they are asked for the order or not.
- There is a friendly farewell.
WISE Best Practice: Every guest should be given a friendly farewell with an invitation to come back and visit soon.
Natural, Helpful Sales
- Server uses a good icebreaker and asks for a referral source.
WISE Best Practice: Make it a natural part of the initial greeting and icebreaker. Understanding where your guests heard of you – and what specifically brought them in today – helps allocating marketing dollars to those who send qualified guests. Perhaps even more important, these relevant open-ended questions set you up to easily build rapport and then tailor the rest of the experience based on your guests’ interests.
- A compelling performance – the server pours and describes the craft beverage with enthusiasm showing knowledge of the craft beverage and brand. Server is able to educate, entertain, and entice guests.
- Server builds rapports by using analogies and demonstrating great storytelling skills.
WISE Best Practice: Analogies make visitors feel comfortable (instead of intimidated) as they learn new things and concepts. Analogies are especially effective for visitors who are new to your craft beverage. Storytelling helps to share interesting, relevant things about the craft beverage and brand. The best tasting room performers – the best sales people – are all great story tellers because they weave a good tale. Including stories and analogies engages customers, gains trust, and earns sales.
- The server is able to tell a memorable brand story.
WISE Best Practice: Sell the brand first, the craft beverage second. Be sure the start with WHY. Storytelling makes the brand come to life.
- The server uses open-ended questions to build rapport and profile/evaluate the customer.
WISE Best Practice: To move customer satisfaction higher (as well as get more, natural sales), more dialogue (less presentation mode) is needed. This can only be done by asking open-ended questions. The goal here is to adjust the guest experience based on their wants and needs. Remember the Platinum Rule . . . if the Golden Rule is to treat others as you would want to be treated, then the platinum rule is to treat other as they would want to be treated which means our goal is to learn enough about every guest to discover how they may want to be treated – and tailor the experience accordingly.
- The server uses features and benefits as a natural, helpful sales technique.
WISE Best Practice: A feature is what something is. It’s a factual statement about a product or service. A benefit is what something does and answers the question: “What’s in it for the customer?” Features alone don’t usually close the sale. Benefits appeal to the customer’s emotions, which makes the sale. Those who are uncomfortable with sales tend to get stuck in presenting a list of features. When selling the brand, the craft beverage, club and capturing contact data, use features and benefits approach as a more effective sales tool.
- The staff notices both verbal and non-verbal buying signals.
WISE Best Practice: 70% of buying signals are non-verbal. Obvious verbal signals may include making ‘yum’ noises while tasting, asking about prices, saying how much they loved a specific craft beverage, etc. Non-verbal signs may include lingering over price list, licking lips, reading tasting description and tapping with finger, etc. Noticing these buying signals is the first step to more natural, helpful sales.
Focus on the Full Triple Score
The goal for successful DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) businesses is to have both high customer satisfaction scores (rated in the 4 to 5 range out of 5) and 3 out of 3 on the WISE Triple score for every shop.
WISE Best Practice: Ensure that these business goals are communicated to everyone who works in the tasting room by measuring all three metrics. This can all be done in a brand appropriate way.
- Craft Beverage – Always ask for the sale, in a brand appropriate way. It’s important for more natural, helpful sales to plant buying seeds and pick up on buying signals along the way.
- Club – During guest experience, work relevant club benefits into the conversation, again planting seeds along the way. Use features and benefits tailored to the individual interest that staff has discovered while building rapport and using great open-ended questions over the course of the guests’ experience. Have the club brochure available to all guest and use as a selling tool to review key benefits and how the program works.
- Data – Have more than one way of collecting contact information and ensure this is communicated as a priority for tasting room staff.
WISE Best Practice: Measure what matters by tracking your DTC data. Your metrics dashboard should focus on the key driver of full WISE Triple Score (craft beverage sales, clubs, contact data capture). Track performance and share it with the team. Capturing craft beverage sales, club and data capture conversion rates and AOV – both as a group and for individuals – will increase performance as long as performance results are shared in a positive and inspirational way with the team.
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