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There is so much free information about wine available today. There are entire websites dedicated to educating wine drinkers. There are apps designed to make buying wine easier. So, what’s the value that you offer as a wine consultant when consumers can find wine information in many other places? It’s your understanding of that buyer sitting in front of you.

Websites and apps give generic information for the masses, and that serves an important purpose. But you can provide just the right information, tailored information in a way that meets the needs of that specific person in front of you. This article will show you how to do that successfully for each buyer you encounter. This will take your wine consulting to the next level. The story below illustrates how the techniques in this article can help you.  

A quick story

I took calculus three times. I took it twice with one teacher. I received a D both times from that teacher. The third time, I had a different teacher. With that teacher, I got an “A”. What was the difference?

I remember the aha moment on my third attempt. The teacher said something I hadn’t heard in the other two attempts. It was just one sentence, after which everything fell into place in my head. Just one sentence.

I’ve always thought that if the first teacher had just said that one sentence in the first session, I would have gotten an ‘A’ the first time. I don’t know if the teacher really understood my, but what changed was that he taught the course in a way that made sense to me. The result was going from a “D” grade to an “A.” That’s the power of tailored information.

Many teachers teach the material in the way it makes sense to them. But great teachers teach in the way the students need to hear the material. Wine consultants are teachers too. Some just share information about wine. The great ones tell tasters about the wine in a way that makes sense to them. Great wine consultants create aha moments for their tasters. Keep reading to find out how you can do this for your tasters.

Use plain English

You want to talk about wine in language that makes people want to learn more, drink more and buy more. That language will be different for each person. But there are ways you get clues that will help understand what to say.

We will get to the clues in just a sec. But first, I have a general thought about wine terms. I just went through a list of wine terms while researching for this article. There are hundreds of them. My suggestion is to use these glossaries as a way to understand what not to say. These terms are great to use with industry folks, but can be confusing to the average wine buyer.

Let’s take the word structure. To people in the wine biz, it means the balance between acidity, sweetness, tannin, and acid. But, what does structure mean for a sweet Port versus a dry Riesling? The “balance” is totally different for each of these wines, although they could be outstanding in their own ways. That could be confusing to a wine novice.

Your job as a wine consultant is to help people understand wine in a way that makes sense to them. Using confusing language doesn’t make you a better consultant. Giving expert advice that people can understand and use does. My suggestion is to use simple and plain English over industry jargon as much as possible.

Selling to wine enthusiasts

If you’ve read other articles on this blog, you’ve likely read about the Genome 6 wine buyer segmentation. We think it’s great! It can give you direction about what a specific buyer might want.

Take the wine enthusiast, for example. This person is already a wine explorer. They have likely tried a number of wines. What they are looking for is new things, wines they haven’t tried before. That doesn’t have to be a new varietal. It can be a unique blend, a unique year, a unique winemaking process. In short, give them something new and unique.

You don’t have to pour out of the box wines to get this buyer interested. You just have to put a unique spin on what’s in the bottle. This may take a bit of research. Start by learning about vineyard management or winemaking techniques used at that winery. You want to find an angle that makes the wine feel handcrafted. People will pay more for items that seem artisanal, where they get a sense of the people behind the product.

 

The average price per bottle this wine buyer spends is $13. Consider this the floor of your sales price. Since you’re showing them a special wine, a higher price is warranted. Where else can they try what you have? And, they will be happy to spend this money with you since you introduced them to this new wine.

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Selling to the image conscious wine drinker

Let’s consider the image seeker next. This buyer wants to impress their friends by being the first to know about a wine trend. They want to take the amazing bottle you sell to them to a party and use it as small talk. This type of buyer is usually less educated, so the research will be easier than for the highly educated enthusiast. 

The key to attracting this buyer is to think in superlatives. In what aspects is this wine the best? Were the best grapes used? Did it win the highest award? Is someone that is involved in making the wine the best at something? Is the wine from a very prestigious location?

Trends also interest this buyer. So, also think about how this wine represents something new or trendy. Give the buyer a story they can tell to show they are on top of trends, and you’ll have sold that bottle.

 

This buyer spends $12 per bottle, on average. But you’re selling them something special. This wine comes with a story. The work and research you do to build that story is the reason they’ll pay a premium for your wine. It’s also the reason they’ll buy from you over and over again.

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Selling to wine newbies

Newly engaged wine drinkers will appreciate your sharing your wine knowledge with them. Just like wine enthusiasts, they are wine explorers. They just don’t have much experience tasting yet.

You may not need to do additional research for this buyer. Your foundational wine knowledge may suffice. But the goal for this drinker is to help them understand how the wine they’re tasting fits into the world of wine. How should they think about it? Why was this style made? What did the grape growing and winemaking process look like? These are all pieces of information you likely have on hand. This will help you build loyalty with this kind of customer.

In terms of getting them to buy, show them how a wine they haven’t tasted represents the next step in their wine journey. Present a wine as a way to broaden their palate and experience to pique their interest. Perhaps it’s a wine that hasn’t been released. Or maybe you can interest them in an aged or reserve wine that will be new for them.

Newcomers also spend about $13 per bottle on average. But this isn’t an average wine you’re selling them. You’re selling them knowledge in a bottle. That will be why they pay the premium.

Selling to overwhelmed wine drinkers

What if you encounter an overwhelmed taster? They may be a hard customer to acquire. But, since wine overwhelm is a real problem for them, you will develop a very loyal customer if you can solve their problem.

Overwhelm is when people feel that something is impossible, or at least too hard. Overwhelmed wine drinkers feel it is too hard to select a wine. Or, perhaps they are afraid of selecting the wrong wine. Be their guide to the right wine.

Keep your explanations and information to a minimum. Since they are already overwhelmed, the last thing they need is a lot information. Instead, after assessing their palate and budget, select the wine you think best. Keep it simple.

These buyers only spend $9 on average per bottle. But because you’re so helpful, they are likely to spend that $9 with you over and over. This may not be the most lucrative group to sell to. But it’s likely that you can expect a premium over their everyday bottle price too. See a sale to a person is this group as a very big feather in your cap.

Discovering a wine drinkers buying style

We won’t cover the last two groups in this article: price-driven and brand loyal. It’s unlikely that folks in these groups are regular wine tasters.

How do you discover a person’s buying style? You simply ask. If the tasting is going well, and they seem amenable to the wine you might ask, “What would you do with this wine?” Then, match their response to one of the buying segments we discussed.

If they are silent, feel free to prompt them. Say something like, “I had a friend that would always buy our trendy wines like this one.” That will at least get a response that you can use to find which segment fits them most closely.

Wine consultants need three kinds of knowledge. First, they need foundational wine knowledge. They need to understand the world of wine. Second, they need to understand what’s in the bottle they’re selling. How was the wine made and what’s special about it? Third, they need to understand the wine drinkers that taste with them.

Understanding the wine drinker is the hard part. They are probably a stranger that you know nothing about. However, there are tools and techniques you can use that will give you enough clues to understand them. At VineTutor, our job is to provide you with these tools and techniques to do just that.

Check out our Buyer Match tool which matches specific bottles to the segments we described above. There are over 4,000 bottles included. One is sure to meet the needs of your tasters. You may not sell these specific bottles we have listed. But you can use this extensive list to help you understand the kinds of bottles that will interest each of these buyer types.

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