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Leads are the lifeblood of any business. Wine consulting is no different. Leads turn into prospects, turn into buyers. This is the crux of your sales funnel. This article will help you determine who will be your best leads. Once you know that, you can know who to get contact information from. You can increase your success rate in getting contact information if you only ask people who are likely to give it to you and only from people that you actually want as clients.

Not Every Lead Is a Prospect

At Vinetutor, we often talk about the 6 wine buying styles. Not all of these styles will be valuable to your business. For example, the Everyday Loyal buyer type tends to stick with the brands that they know and trust. If you are new to them, it will be hard to convince them to switch. They won’t have much interest in staying in contact with you either since you are a new brand to them. You don’t necessarily need to ask this person for their information.

Instead, focus on your most profitable segments. Enthusiasts, Engaged Newcomers and Image Seekers are better choices.  They will recognize that you can serve them. So, they will be more likely to give you their contact information. Here’s a suggestion on how to approach each group.  

Assuming you know the palate type of the taster in front of you, the next step is to select three wines that fit that type. Present one as fashionable with high ratings. This will attract the Image Seeker. Present another as novel and artisanal. This will attract the Enthusiast. Present the third as a wine that will expand their foundational wine knowledge. This is for the Newcomer. You can know that they are a good prospect and what kind of prospect if they pick one of the three. If they don’t pick any or don’t seem moved, they may not be a good lead for you.

Another approach, and perhaps an easier one, is to pay attention to their conversation. Are they talking about the wine or about other things? If they are talking about the wine, they may be a good prospect. Next, notice how they are talking about the wine. Are they comparing it to other wines they’ve tasted? They might be an engaged newcomer. Are they talking about the score or label or region prestige? They might be an image seeker. Or are they talking about the artisanal quality of the wine? They might be an enthusiast. 

Focusing on the segments that are most profitable for you will increase your success rate at getting contact information. Your processes will be more refined and will fit your specific tasters needs better.  It will also be more efficient since you aren’t wasting time on prospects that aren’t a good fit.

What Information Do You Ask For?

Now that you’ve found a good prospect, what piece of information should you ask them for? That depends on your marketing goals. But, consumers preferences about contact information sharing should be taken into account.

This study suggests that people are uncomfortable about providing their mailing address and phone number. On the other hand, they feel slightly comfortable with sharing an email address. So, start with email. Only ask for more sensitive contact information when you have a really good prospect match. The strongest matches are when you are solving a problem or alleviating a fear that is important them. Another good match is when your business represents a cause they care about. 

As an example, you might ask for a phone number to notify an enthusiast about a novel wine that always sells out quickly. For an image seeker, ask for their sensitive information if you have an exceptionally highly rated wine that sells out quickly. For a newcomer, ask for their address or phone number if you have a rare but important missing foundational wine that will fill in gaps in their wine education. These represent important problems for these buyer types. They will be more willing to share their more personal information with you if you can offer something really important to them in return. Gather their information using offers like those above.

But, perhaps you can still get their contact information even if the match isn’t as strong. You might just ask for their email address to join a loyalty program that will help them get rewarded for drinking and buying more of their favorite wines.

The Angry Taster

While Enthusiasts, Newcomers and Image Seekers might represent your best chance at sales, there’s another group that can also improve your business. Tasters that had a horrible time with you can tell you about areas where you can make improvements. Or, they can tell you about kinds of tasters you should avoid.

Angry tasters might just be angry enough to share their information with you. If you offer them a comment card to rate your tasting, their anger might be a big motivation to fill it out. Just being heard when you feel wronged solves a problem for many people. But, it’s even better if the problem can be fixed.  If possible, reach out to let them know what you did to resolve their concern.

 

You won’t be able to solve all problems for every angry taster. In some cases, you may decide that you don’t want to waste your marketing efforts on customers you can’t serve well. You can either use that contact information to try to win that taster back, or you can use it to develop a persona about the kinds of customers you should avoid. Both are useful for your business. 

The Freebie or Functional Ask

As was mentioned earlier, what works best when asking for contact information is an offer that is matched to the needs of the taster. Functional requests for contact information don’t work as well. For example, emailed receipts and simple tracking information aren’t as valuable to a taster. Don’t expect these asks to be as successful.

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. If there’s a way for you to turn these functional requests into meaningful interaction, then use them. For example, if the tracking can ensure that a delicate wine isn’t heat stressed during transit, that may be valuable.

The ask also has to be valuable to you. While coupons and sales can help sway some specific kinds of buyers, you may want to be cautious about attracting too many purely cost-conscious buyers. They will not be your high margin customer. Reward-based offers such as loyalty programs and reward programs will get you more contact information from more profitable prospects. Focusing here will serve you well.

Developing leads into prospects and prospects into buyers takes good strategy and even better execution. In past articles, we talked about turning prospects into buyers. This article is focused on an earlier step in the process, but a very important one.  These tips should help you build an even more robust sales pipeline. Your revenue will explode the more successful you are at turning leads into happy buyers. 

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