There are many things about the winery business that are fantastic. There’s all of the magic and mystery associated with raising a crop. And there’s that air of elegance and refinement that is the product itself , not to mention all of those french words. Plus the power to intoxicate. It’s not likely that a sock manufacturer is going to replicate that magic or mystery.
But there are some basic elements of the way wineries do business that other industries would do well to model:
1. Treat your customers and prospects like family. Make them feel welcome. Offer them food, provide comfortable seating and establish rapport. Design your store/office/facility to embrace visitors, not repel them.
2. Let people sample your wares. Why don’t more stores apply the tasting room concept? Whole Foods has followed this model – you can walk around the store and sample their products. Why can’t we bag up our dirty laundry and run over to Sears to test that Kenmore washing machine before we buy it?
3. Create a story around your product. Tell us the history of the product, the company, the magical processes behind that pair of shoes. Tell us about the people who design, assemble, and deliver each item. Make the product come alive for its future buyers.
4. Stay true to your brand. Wineries are so good at preserving their brand and reflecting it through their labels, their tasting room, the website, and even their language. AT&T spends a fortune on their visual identity, but what makes their cell phone service different from the one offered by Sprint? Other than their ability to work with the Iphone, why I should feel priviledged to be an AT&T customer?
5. There is strength in numbers – form associations that represent your common interests. The cooperation and spirit of comradery that exists in the wine industry is incredible. And the associations that represent both the Vintners and the Wine Growers are some of the most professional, talented and well organized organizations that I have seen. Why don’t other industries band together to accomplish more for the greater good? Sure there are trade associations out there, but I don’t think they are as united. The vintners and growers share a passion for preserving the land, protecting the environment, and leaving a lasting legacy that creates a special kind of power. Others would do well to learn from the wine industries leadership in protecting and preserving resources.