The Grapevine

Wine Shop Management: Listening

March 17th, 2015

It’s not just your spouse who wishes you’d listen more; your bottom line would love it, too. [level-members]

“Listening” isn’t just about spouses (or parents of teenagers) feeling ignored. It’s a popular topic in boardrooms, as well. The proliferation of social media and other “big data” sources has made it easier than ever to listen to your customers, your vendors, and your staff.

Listening to customers has gotten the most attention, which isn’t surprising; it’s the listening that is most closely related to front-line sales. But if you think about how your staff is also directly involved in the sales process, you’ll see that listening to them is easily as important.

Your staff knows better than anyone what your clients are asking about, what is bothering them and what you can do to strengthen your relationship with them. Make it a point to ask them what they’re hearing, who is saying it and what they think it means.

You can also rely on your staff to tell you more about your business. Is the front door sticky in humid weather? Does the flooring look shop-worn? Is there a better way to organize certain kinds of products?

Remember that you may have been staring at your own shop too long to see the flaws or areas that could easily be improved. A fresh set of eyes – particular a set that knows your business well – is too valuable not to take advantage of.