How Do I Get My Staff On the Phones?

One of the biggest challenges I hear from wineries doing the calling in house is, “How do I get my staff on the phones”?  Doesn’t matter if it’s the winery or a call center, getting and keep people on the phones is challenging.  Here are 4 ideas on tackling this challenge:

YOU Call the top 10 customers

Keep it simple and put one customer on your schedule to call every week.  Its 10 minutes of your time, all you have to do is introduce yourself and say thank you for being a great customer.  If the customer doesn’t pick up the phone, leave a message.  You’re almost guaranteed a call back.  Not only will the customers be blown away by a call from the winery owner or manager, but you will earn instant credibility from your staff.  Your staff will have a greater respect for you because you can speak directly to the challenges they have on the phones.  YOU have done it too.

Hire for the position and set the expectation

Sometimes you have a situation where not one person on your staff wants anything to do with calling the customers.  That said, you need to hire with that in mind.  When you’re hiring tasting room staff, be sure to add this element to the interview.  That way, the expectation is set up front that calling will be required.  Skills can be trained but passion is what you’re shooting for.  Someone that has passion for wine and sales, with some experience on the phone is the perfect candidate.  If they are passionate about wine and sales then they can be trained to get on the phone and SELL the story.

Give them incentives

The most obvious one is money, but truth be told it’s about finding out what motivates each staff member.  Sometimes its money, other times it’s leaving early or time off and best of all it can be wine!   You have a great product; why not use it as a calling incentive.  It’s one of the reasons people work for the winery so why not incentive them with wine.  When they sell a certain amount of wine, give them a bottle. Money isn’t always the answer.

Give your staff structure

Get organized and establish a calling schedule just like you would a tasting room.  Set up calling blocks and let the staff pick their desired time.  Everyone has to do 2 to three hours of calling a week on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.   By letting them pick their own times it allows them buy in.

On that same note DON’T FORGET THE SCRIPT!  The script is a critical tool they will need to get structure, consistency, rhythm and confidence.  From this, they will gather sales momentum and the one major key to keeping a rep on the phone is the feeling of accomplishment from selling.


Best of luck and let us know if we can help!

Next Blog:  How do I know what to offer the Customer?

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