The Basics of Selling Direct to Trade - Part I
Your trade database is the most critical element of a successful Direct-to-Trade program. Your first step should be to consolidate every trade account (hotel, restaurant, specialty wine shop, etc.) that you have touched, or that you want to touch, into one database. Be sure to include names, emails, phone numbers, type of account (on- or off-premise), and any relevant information (steakhouse vs. seafood). The more information that you include on each account, the easier it will be to segment your list for future marketing efforts.
A few basic sources for building your list:
- Business cards from tasting events
- Email inquiries from the trade generated by your website
- Favorite local restaurants that have purchased in the past
- List of trade attendees at various wine maker dinners
Your second step should be to distinguish between unqualified leads, warm contacts, and current or former customers. This information will help you segment your list for direct marketing efforts. In addition, be sure to differentiate between restaurants and retailers as the value proposition of direct to trade is slightly different.
Your third step should be to associate order history with customers in order to narrow-cast and present specific offers (i.e. new release of Merlot to those who purchased last vintage). Wine brokers and wholesalers’ biggest strengths live in their ‘rolodex’ and relationships – it is what allows them to deliver demand to meet the supply of producers. You can create and connect with that demand yourself, this is why your trade database should be your single greatest asset (aside from your wine), if leveraged appropriately.
More on leveraging it appropriately in Part II.