How to Increase your Cellar Door Sales

Information for wineries, breweries and distilleries on how to increase traffic and sales at brewpubs and tasting rooms.

Even in small spaces, tasting rooms can generate big business for wineries, breweries, and distilleries, but you’ll need to invest in your tasting room much like you pour resources into production facilities, equipment, and marketing departments.

A successful tasting room is a seamless extension of your brand. It should provide an entertaining and dynamic forum for your staff to educate visitors about products and promote sales. Across the world, tasting room designs grow grander by the minute, but maintaining your focus on streamlining sales should always be your number one priority.

Here are some tips for optimizing your business’s most important on-site sales maker :

  1. Architect for Success

Take tasting room architecture beyond ambiance and begin blueprinting your sales funnel from the very beginning. Tasting rooms vary not only in size but also in setup: from countertop bars to banquet tables, even picnic benches on a veranda. But which is the winning design?

Seated, personalized service allows your employees a greater opportunity to build rapport, which is an essential ‘hand-selling’ component when it comes time to suggest a purchase and close the sale. Though it may not be feasible to orchestrate a full-scale renovation, simply shifting the proportion of tasting counter to seated tables may be enough of a change to make a difference.

2. Don’t be Stingy When it comes to Staffing

Understaffing is a tasting room epidemic, which is commonly caused by managers who shudder at the sight of idle hands on payroll. However, retail runs at a different pace than many administrative positions. There is an ebb and a flow to retail which requires being sufficiently staffed to attend to your visitors when they arrive in droves, yet lean enough to be fiscally responsible when the tide is low.

Still, in an effort to buckle down on labor costs, tasting rooms may be forgoing much larger potential profits. Shaving off a few hours on the clock may limit your customer service capabilities, perhaps costing you a coveted wine club signup.

3. Insist on Sales Training

Regardless of the size of your establishment, your tasting room staff are the sales reps at your most important location. A lack of a professional sales staff equates to dollars slipping out your front door after visitors sip and walk away empty handed. Rather than onboarding them with cursory sales training, invest in intensive and on-going sales training that ensures they are polished brand representatives as well as profit-producers.

Create a sales handbook with essential brand and product information, sample sales scripts, vital vocabulary, and actionable sales techniques that new trainees can begin implementing from day one. You may even create an employee mentorship program to provide specific feedback over the long term.

Be sure to touch upon essential sales strategies such as:

  • Tips for developing rapport
  • Understanding why visitors buy and how to recognize buy signs
  • How to overcome objectives
  • Tactical ways to ask for sale

4. Encourage Engagement

Sadly, too many tasting room encounters scarcely get past a curt “where are you from” conversation. Your visitors are thirsty for a personalized experience almost as much as they crave a perfectly poured glass of your product. A tasting room is not only a sales ground, it is the setting for memories and stories that will ripple out into a visitor’s personal network and conversations.

Encourage your staff to take the time to engage visitors with open-ended questions and to achieve a dialogue even at the tasting counter. If your tasting room is a bar-top only design, peak weekend hours may require additional staff members to ensure the same level of personalized service is provided throughout the week. At the end of the day, face-to-face interaction sells better than anything else.

Continue reading this article at BTN Academy.

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