When we hire our salespeople, we are most focused on bringing in positive, enthusiastic people…who may or may not have wine and sales experience. While we always PREFER for a new recruit to be well-versed in all of the minutiae of viticulture and persuasion, we often we find that being an eager learner is all it takes to become a great DTC wine seller! I love working with good people from unexpected backgrounds (we’ve brought on everyone from nurses to apartment managers to Disney employees), but when it comes to training, there are some basics that need to be mastered in order to build a strong foundation for future growth.
Here are some suggestions for training the newest members of your team…or your experienced salespeople who would benefit from going “back to basics.”
1) Your mindset is the most important sales tool you have.
How excited are you to hear from a telemarketer that sounds bored, uninterested, and robotic? Not at all, I’m guessing. Many telemarketing companies force-feed a script to their employees and don’t care how the message is received, but we train our employees to understand that positivity exudes confidence, and customers buy from confident people. A few tips for keeping your head in the game: Accept that “no”s are going to happen, and it’s not a reflection of your personal worth; you’re SHARING information about a product you love, not SELLING it; and if you’re feeling down, get up, walk around, clear your head, and smile – you sell WINE for a living!
2) You’re not just selling wine, you’re selling the EXPERIENCE.
Many people purchase wine based on how they FEEL. Because you are on the phone, you need to take that customer back to the winery in their mind – the bright blue sky over rolling green hills, the smell of must during harvest, the sounds of their steps on the gravel as they walk to an Adirondack chair overlooking the vineyards. Create an emotional connection between the wine and the memory, and the customer will FEEL the experience. That’s why it’s important to enjoy the facility/wine/events like a tourist, and then use your experience to mentally bring customers back to your winery.
3) “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” Bobby Unser.
Teaching our team to prepare themselves for common scenarios not only gives them confidence, it also allows them to focus their time and resources on the customers who are most likely to buy. That starts with call planning and list management – sorting out who to call based on lifetime spend history, recency, geographic location, customer purchase history, and other factors – and merge that with sales training. We roleplay different scenarios to practice icebreaking and handling objections while fine-tuning tone and cadence in multiple situations. We go through our voicemail scripts to ensure they’re the right length and have the right feel. And most importantly, we make sure our salespeople are experts in the products they sell, which leads to…
4) The better you know your product, the better you’ll be able to sell it.
It’s often said a great salesperson “could sell ice cubes to Eskimos,” but if that’s the case, you’d better have a great understanding of ice! In the DTC wine business, it doesn’t matter how good you are at sales in general if you don’t have wine knowledge and experience tasting wines to back it up. Learn about the AVAs, the winemaker, the blends, the Old World counterparts, the barrels, the history. Use your personal tasting notes when speaking with the customer about the products. Look up information and interesting facts about the varietals and terroir of the wine you’re selling. It always comes back to confidence – if you know what you’re talking about, customers are more likely to say YES to a sale.
5) You just have to make the calls.
In sales, oftentimes trainers and managers want you to believe there is a “better” way to reach customers – Social media! Blast emails! Robodialers! But when you shift your focus from connection to convenience, your message becomes impersonal and easy to ignore. As with so many other beneficial things in life, it takes discipline and determination to see real results. Understanding that you need to throw that line in the water 100 times to catch a fish; you need to do those 100 push-ups to build your strength; you need to make 100 calls to convey your message in a personal way and vastly improve your chances of making a sale. Daily, our team starts with a revenue goal – and they know their how their message will impact their conversion rate on sales. They understand that, for quality, relationship-building interactions with customers, you just have to make the calls. There is no shortcut.
At Chatterbox, we strive to ensure that our salespeople feel like they have the tools and knowledge to provide a unique and valuable service for our winery partners – a level of professionalism and ambition that comes from taking pride in their work, enjoying their customers and their co-workers, and having the discipline to do an exceptional job.
If you’d like to know more, please reach out to us! We are currently taking on new partners and would be happy to share the details of our program with you.