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I was glancing through tweets over the weekend and came across this one by British wine writer Jamie Goode (wineanorakcom): “We become attached to the rules we have learned – and this can be a problem.”

That led me to this blog, on the same subject though from the winemaking side. It also got me thinking that it is easy to continue to follow rules that may no longer apply when it comes to sales and customer service as well as winemaking.

For example, are you still spending too much time talking about the wine, rather than making lasting connections with the people who come into your hospitality center?

The fact that this is still a common practice was reinforced for me this weekend when I was talking to a friend (also in the wine business) who had relatives in town. She mentioned that she had taken her relatives wine tasting and that these are people who are knowledgeable about wine, drink wine and definitely have the money to buy it.

They went to one winery where, while they liked the wines, they did not buy any. The reason was they were overwhelmed with information about the wine. More information than they needed or wanted. Yet no attempt was made by the person serving them to create a connection.

I experience the same thing when I visit wineries. Many times, I am presented with a list of facts about the wine and winery, but not asked about my tastes or what I am looking for.

The rules for presenting wines to possible buyers have changed for a number of reasons. The most important is that the number of wineries that consumers may choose to visit. If they come to you, you must connect with them in personal ways that will make them want to buy and to return. Tell them about your wines, of course, but do in ways that are relevant to their life and lifestyle.

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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