Home Wine Business Editorial E Column Connecting with Guests

Connecting with Guests


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Think of connections with your guests as the most valuable tool in your sales toolbox. Once you have created a connection with the people who come to your winery, the sale will be much easier and your overall sales and sales per customer should increase.

The simplest way to sell your wines and the value of your wines in their lives is to make guests feel that:

  1. They are important to you.
  2. You are looking forward to a long-term relationship with them.
  3. They are interesting and knowledgeable (everyone is knowledgeable about something, find out what they are knowledgeable about.).
  4. You have enjoyed spending time with them.

Most customers know when a salesperson appreciates them as an individual, rather than thinking about them as just a sale (or a commission). If you want to be highly successful in sales, it helps if you have a genuine interest in people. Each interaction may be the start of a new, long term friendship for you personally and for the company.

When working in a winery, we meet people who know a lot about wine, people who have some wine knowledge and those who know absolutely nothing about wine. If we, as salespeople, learn from our guests about their interest in and knowledge of wine, before we start selling. We will discard our “one size fits all” approach to sales and instead ask questions of our guests and listen to their answers. Both general questions and wine specific questions are appropriate.

I was recently in a winery that I had not been to before. While the person behind the counter was very pleasant, I was not asked one question about myself or my interest in wine. I did buy a couple of bottles because I liked the wines, but I could easily have been talked into buying much more. The person behind the counter did tell me a lot about the grapes, the vineyards, how the wine was made; but knew no more about me when I left the winery than when I arrived. If the salesperson knew my name it was only because I paid by credit card which had my name on it.

The key to sales is forming a relationship, so ask more questions. Listen to responses and create your pitch around the answers you get from your guests.

 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.



  1. Having Elizabeth regularly is one of The Advisor’s best moves. She has helped me be much more effective at selling our wines in our tasting room.
    If my conversion rate is below 90% I’m having a bad week.

    Paul Vandenberg
    Paradisos del Sol


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