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As it comes into the selling season, I thought a quick blog on some of the things to look for when you are hiring new hospitality employees might be helpful. I go into lots and lots of wineries and other businesses and am fascinated by the range of customer service I receive.

When your company is looking for hospitality and/or sales employees, it is important that you choose people who not only have good sales skills but also have great people skills. In fact, people skills should be number one on the list of attributes. Someone with good people skills usually is a good sales person.

Good people skills include a genuine interest in the guests. Many people who get into hospitality at wineries are much more interested in wine than they are in the guests.

Well-Developed Communication Skills

These are people who can easily strike up a conversation so that the points they get across are the ones that are of interest to the guests. This means they listen at least as much as they talk.

Assessment

Applicants should have ability to quickly assess individual guests through what they say, how they say it, facial expressions and body language. The host can then treat them in the way they want to be treated. If the guest wants to tell you about their interaction with wine, let them. Then give them the information that is relative to their interests.

Flexibility

Being flexible should be a well-honed trait. The employee has to be able to relate to lots of different types of people, some gregarious, some nervous, some wine experts, some who have never had a glass of wine. Each one needs to be dealt with differently. The employee should be adaptable to provide the individual experience that most guests wants.

Gentle Persuasion

The employee should be able to convince the guest of the value of the product (remember that value does not necessarily mean price) based on an understanding of the guests’ wants and needs. I say gentle persuasion because even if the guests do not buy (this time) we want them to come back or to tell their friends.

A tip of the glass from me to you.

Elizabeth SlaterE Column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

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