I’ve attended, presented and hosted a number of sales seminars and can recommend a roster of superb speakers and coaches in the industry. Take for example, Grant Cardone.
When Tim Jackson, President of the Colorado Automotive Dealers Association, invited me to speak at the Innovative Dealer Summit, I had never heard of Grant Cardone. Once I heard him speak however, I will never forget the Cardone experience. The man is electric! There is no sales objective he cannot overcome.
You don’t believe he’s the best in the industry?
Well let’s see … a while back he was featured on HGTV selling his million dollar home with a million dollar view, he is married to a gorgeous actress, he provides motivation and sales training programs to Fortune 500 companies, he’s a New York Times best selling author and is regularly seen on Fox Business, NBC, MSNBC, and Business Insider.
Yeah … he’s the best.
Hopefully someday you will get a chance to attend one of Grant’s electric events and experience him for yourself. I believe you will be forever changed. And while Grant’s approach and advice may differ from my point of view, I would like to take a moment to suggest another sales seminar, albeit unorthodox.
May I suggest you take a trip toCaliforniawine country?
Admittedly wine country is one of my favorite places but trust me when I say that if you want to improve your sales technique you need to pay a visit to the region. I assure you there is a method to my madness (remember … this is why they refer to my technique as “unique.”)
During my visits, I have enjoyed many great wineries. Most people who visit the region remark on the scenery, the architecture of each tasting room and of course the wine. While all that is incredible, I would like to point out my pick as the “must visit” winery for anybody who works in sales.
Why on earth would I be suggesting sales people visit wineries?
Because a tasting room is a fast paced, incredibly busy and often distracting environment in which you have one chance to sell a client on your product. It’s a make it or break it chance to move some wine out the door and establish a long term relationship.
As I secretly evaluated tasting room staff members this weekend I stopped by, among others, Charles Krug’s tasting room.
Charles Krug Winery is the grandfather ofNapaValleywith an extensive and colorful history of wine making. One would expect the Krug family of wines to be exquisite and you would be correct. When it comes to serving a wine as historic and remarkable as Krug’s, it’s almost imperative that the tasting room staff be some of the best in the business.
Upon entering the tasting room, I was greeted by a lazy cat and an energetic Italian-American staff member. From the moment she engaged me she was on top of her game, beginning with the comment, “Let’s go have some wine.”
Think about that statement for a moment. As a sales person she was prepared with a strong, yet inviting call to action. It wasn’t a question of, “Would you like to sample some wine?” Rather it was a firm statement, “Let’s go have some wine.”
She then proceeded to explain to me the three tasting tiers available. When explaining the first level she commented, “But these you can get in any liquor store.”
Now think about that comment. Why on earth would anybody travel to theNapaValleyonly to try a tasting flight that can be had in any ol’ liquor store? Naturally after hearing a statement like that you would be a fool to try the first tasting tier. She knew this – and it was a very clever method to achieve the first upsell of the tasting experience.
Some of you may recall a cartoon series called School House Rock. I call to mind the “Unpack your adjectives” episode when I think of a good wine seller.
Our tasting guide absolutely unpacked her adjectives. As we made our way through the flight she described the wines using such words as jammy, earthy, inviting, fruity, spicy.
Never underestimate the power of adjectives in any sales position.
If you want somebody to purchase something, whether it’s wine, a car or an advertisement, using adjectives helps seal the deal. Adjectives possess the power to excite, to call to mind a happy memory, to entice, to provide a sense of distinction. A few adjectives added to even the most dull, run of the mill sales pitch can make all the difference between a firm “no” and an enthusiastic “yes.”
Our tasting guide also shared personal experiences and preferences. We learned that she was closely associated with the Mondavi family as one of her relatives was a Godparent to a Mondavi. We discovered that she enjoys cooking and she told us what wines paired best with certain dishes. We also discovered that her birthday was in early May. As we went from wine to wine it started to feel more like we were talking to a friend and less like we were being sold wine.
Whether you are meeting a client for the first time or you’ve known them for a while, I believe it’s important to mix a little bit of yourself and your personal life into your sales relationship. Some consultants may disagree with this theory but if you ask me, I think you need to be seen as more of a friend and less of a sales person.
Let’s be realistic … the average small to medium sized business is approached by probably 40 sales reps each month, each one pitching the next great thing. What sets you apart from the rest? Why will a business owner remember you? Are you “unique?”
Now there’s an adjective to describe our tasting guide … unique. Her method of sales is the precise method I advise businesses to implement. I get paid to “create” sales people like the one I was experiencing.
It goes without saying that upon the conclusion of our tasting, we bought some wine. But wait … there’s more (there’s always more.) Like other wineries, Charles Krug offers a mail order wine club.
When working in sales you always appreciate a one time sale but the sweet spot is the long term contract, the repeat business and the referrals. In this case, the sweet spot is the mail order wine club.
The decision to join the wine club is, in essence a commitment to Krug and is based largely on the tasting experience. Granted if the wine is remarkable, a customer is likely to join the club. However, if the tasting experience and the tasting guide stink on ice it leaves a sour experience and decreases the chances of repeat business.
As I mentioned, most businesses are bombarded with sales people, each with their own personality and their own pitch. A good number of businesses are likely to give something a try once but the sales rep needs to have some sort of lasting impression on a client in order to ensure long term business. The sales rep, the product and the results absolutely must be unique – and that’s hard in an increasingly difficult economic environment.
I joined the wine club. Just like the tasting experience, the club was pitched in a fashion that made me feel as though it would be foolish not to join the club. And besides, I was now a “friend” of the tasting guide – we had a connection.
“You NEED what I’m selling.” That’s the message you want to convey. An account executive needs to fully believe in his or her product and must express that belief by convincing the client that without the product they are missing a chance of a lifetime.
So I concluded my visit to Charles Krug Winery purchasing several bottles, making a long term commitment to the winery and most importantly enjoying a pleasant and memorable experience. Sales reps in any industry should visit Charles Krug to see how it’s done properly.
What about the other wineries who perhaps are reading this dispatch and saying, “How can we compare?” What about those wineries that are offering excuses as to why their tasting room isn’t being mentioned in this message?
Sure. I understand that the valley is swamped with tourists and making a lasting impression isn’t always an option given the volume of traffic that passes through your tasting room on a daily basis – but that’s no excuse. Quit giving excuses as to why your business cannot be the very best. If you offer excuses the simple fact of the matter is that you don’t believe in your product. Why should others?
You CAN be a role model for sales.
How? Well for starters you could stop by Charles Krug. You can hire Grant Cardone to direct a sales seminar or I could stop by and do some consulting (as long as there is some wine trade involved.) Just as you have different tiers for the tastings, there are different tiers of sales training and consultation available.
The moral of today’s lesson: adjectives, upselling, firm belief in your product and personal interjections help to move the sales process in a “yes” direction.
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