Elizabeth “E” Slater may be small in stature (she’s 4’ 10”), but she packs a wallop of a message for the wine industry on sharpening its focus with direct to consumer (DTC) sales and customer service.
Slater created her company In Short Direct Marketing in 1994 when, as she says, “wineries were just beginning to think that there might be money in DTC. At that time, any leftover funds from distribution went right back into those efforts, with an attitude toward tasting rooms… ‘if we sell, we sell.’”
Her perceptions were reinforced by her own tasting room experiences, where she found little regard given to customer service or engagement.
“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve walked into a tasting room and somebody pours me something without bothering to find out what I’m interested in,” Slater reports.
“People get into wine based on their own passion and then they believe everyone has that same level of interest. In fact, most people don’t need to know which clone this wine was made from or the length of time spent in the vineyard … it’s important to find out what your customers really want.”
To that end, Slater has traveled extensively throughout North America as a consultant, presenter, seminar leader, author, teacher and trainer, working to drive home her message that “it’s not all about the wine.”
“It isn’t just about DTC, it’s about effective DTC,” Slater emphasizes. “Customer service is sales. People will buy if they think you are interested in them. I often talk to wineries about the type of people they’re hiring. Are you looking for people who have a genuine interest in others? We can teach people about wine. We can’t teach them to like other people.”
One of Slater’s many achievements is working with lesser-known wine regions throughout the south, Midwest and eastern U.S., who are at the beginning of developing effective marketing techniques.
“One of my favorite things is to go places where consumers or other wine regions think that the wine isn’t good and prove them wrong,” Slater confirms. “Wine regions should not want to be the next Napa. You want to be who you are and play to your strengths.’”
In Short Direct Marketing has a phenomenal success record with increasing staff productivity and ramping up wine club enrollments.
For Slater it comes back to that personal engagement with others she’s so emphatic about.
“I really care about the people I work with, care about their success,” Slater affirms. “Because I care, it easy to teach others. That’s the key to all of this. Being interested in others not only brings something to their life, but to your own as well.”
For more information on In Short Direct Marketing and its services, go to www.inshortmarketing.com or email Elizabeth Slater directly at [email protected]