Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be many hours for sales reps and retailers standing behind a table pouring wine for consumers. The in-store tasting is a powerful tool if used right, but a waste of time if used wrong. Here are some ideas.
Less is more: keep in mind the paradox of choice. Offer between four and six wines to taste. More is not better, it only encourages confusion and frustration for the consumer (plus over indulgence).
Have the wines within reach. It does no good to have the wines being poured, then having to point to a spot thirty feet away hoping they will find them to buy. Stack them up right next to the tasting table.
Why were these wines selected? Be able to answer that question for the consumer. Have a theme, an idea, a reason behind what is being presented. “Welcome to the tasting! Tonight we are _______.”
One of each variety, not two or three. That way if it’s busy and a consumer says “I’ll try the Pinot Noir” you don’t need to stop and ask “Which one?”
Make sure the tasting is advertised on social media. This is the retailer’s job, but as a sales rep you can ask if it’s being done. Photos of the bottles, announcements all afternoon regarding the tasting, reasons why people should show up, etc.
Know when you’ll call the in store tasting a success. Maybe a goal of number of bottles sold. Maybe a goal of number of customers engaged. Maybe a goal of selling through a particular wine. If there is no goal, but only obligation (“we have in store tastings every Friday from 5-8 and it’s your turn to pour”) then ask yourself if the relationship is worth it. It might very well be, or it may not. But ask the question to yourself.
Strands of little battery operated lights can brighten a table like no tomorrow. Purchase a strand or two and make a festive display amongst your bottles. If it’s Christmas time, bring some ornaments to put on the table. Make it pretty, shiny, and sparkly.
Print a funny wine quote, especially if it’s holiday specific, put it in a little frame, and put it on the table. Nothing improves sales like a little laughter and humor.
And lastly …
Get something out of it. If you’re a sales rep about to give 5-10% of your work week hours away giving free labor to a retailer, be sure to leverage it correctly. Don’t hesitate to ask for a new placement, something in the cold box, a commitment to a quantity, or even a favor. If your retailer partner is not willing to help you out in exchange for your time and free labor, you have to carefully consider that relationship and future commitments you’ll make to helping them out.