The Five Steps to a Successful Sale
This is the time of year when our need to make the sale is ever pressing. How do I convert all the traffic in my tasting room to become club members? How do I get my distributor to feature my latest vintage? How do I get the restaurant to add me to their list? You might be surprised to know that the steps to making the sale is the same in all of these scenarios.
Step 1 - Curiosity
To make a sale you must have the customer’s attention. To get their attention, they need to be curious. How do you build curiosity? It can be as simple as asking a tasting room visitor if they would like to have access to select wines. Or you could ask the distributor if he was aware of the great press your new vintage has gotten, or even if he has tasted it. All you are trying to accomplish here is to get the customer’s ear.
Step 2 - Trust
They are now ready to listen, but are they ready to believe. This is the most important, and hardest step in the process. You must build trust quickly. If you are dealing with a long term relationship, trust has already been built. But if you are standing in front of a trade account for the first time, you need to do something on the spot. One technique I use is to show an authoritative grasp of pertinent information. As an example, you are calling on a restaurant, hoping they will buy your 2005 Howell Mountain Cabernet. You might say something like “You might have heard that 2005 was a difficult year, especially in Northern Napa (I’m not saying it was, just an example). In our vineyard we decided to drop 50% of the fruit….”. You then go on to explain how these actions created this exemplary product.
Step 3 - Need Assessment
Their listening, they trust you, but what do they want/need. This is where the questions come in. If you are talking to a tasting room visitor, questions like; where do you live, are you able to get a good selection of wine there, what is your favorite wines, do you like to entertain, do you like to try new wines, what influences the wines you generally buy, etc. Only ask questions that you have a solution for. “Do you like to entertain” “yes I do” “one benefit of belonging to our club is that you get great wines that aren’t available in your market, which makes for a real conversation starter. We also send food pairings and recipes with every wine”.
Step 4 - Need Addressing
I touched on this at the end of the previous section. Here is where you make a recommendation to the customer. You’ve uncovered through your questions that the distributor is feeling a lot of pressure from his big suppliers. So you recommend a fun program, designed at getting a small goal achieved, say placements in five high end restaurants, and offer to do a wine maker’s dinner. You’ve addressed his need to not let your objectives get in the way of his corporate goals, and presented a win win solution.
Step 5 - Agreement
You’re feeling good. You’ve developed rapport, you listened to what the customer needed, you offered a solution. Now comes the dreaded close, ask for the order. The trade account has tasted the wine, they love it. You’ve established that the wine is a nice complement to the list. Now you have to ask, “Can I send you a case to be here next Tuesday”. If you don’t ask for the order, you won’t get it. Do not expect the customer to offer one up, i.e. “this wine is great, send me some”. It happens sometimes, but not often. There are a number of closing techniques, and next month I will blog on some of them.
Remember and practice these steps, and I’m confident they will lead you to greater sales.