“It is more powerful to be able to ask great questions than it is to have all the answers in the book.”
During my sales training sessions, I will say this at least twice and more often than not—repeat it three or four times. Perhaps it may seem counter-intuitive, but if your customer is talking more and you are talking less, you are on the right track to sell wine.
Here’s the psychology behind this thought. The most important person in any situation is “me.” Customers love to talk with wineries and often their motivation can be to show off their knowledge of wine and to be included with the winery—to be “in the loop.” When you ask open-ended, easy questions of your customers; you allow them the opportunity to tell what they know, where they have been, and how they have enjoyed wine. Most customers want to tell you all of these things, and more!
This doesn’t mean that you don’t need the information about your winery, your wines, and your vineyard, but it does mean that you should use that information judiciously when the customer is ready to hear it or asks for it! It is far more powerful to ask, “what wines are you enjoying now?” – a broad, open-ended question that allows your customer the space to answer anything that he or she wants, than it is to tell every detail of a wine or vintage that may or may not appeal to them. Listen well and you will unlock the key to what is important to this customer. From there, making an offer that will be most attractive to a particular customer becomes much easier.
Asking good questions is like building a road-map to your final destination—a wine sale. Too many sales reps on the phone have a script that works for them and they use it every time. They do this because they are comfortable and have a degree of success by saying the same things over and over. What if you asked more questions, learned more about your customer, and every single conversation was unique and interesting? Your sales day would be better, you would develop more meaningful relationships with your customers and—you would sell more wine!