We recently read about a panel discussion on the current state of the wine business in the U.S. and, more specifically, doing business in the U.S. wine market. [level-members]
One recurring theme in remarks by the panelists was the importance of relationships. Whether you’re a winery, a distributor, or a retailer, you have to have strong relationships with your customers in order to succeed. This isn’t just because people buy from people they like or know or trust. It’s because those relationships are what allow you to build your business around the needs of your customers. If you don’t know your customers, you can’t meet their needs.
Another theme was the concept of knowing your business. You’d better be an expert – in large part, that’s what your customers are buying from you. It’s your expertise that’s the true value-add. It’s your expertise that is going to keep your business strong even as online sites become more able to deliver quickly and conveniently.
Educating your customers isn’t a bad idea either. Don’t talk down to them, but don’t assume they know as much as you do, either. Teach them well, and they’ll enjoy wine that much more – making them better customers and more likely to become the kind of raving fans that sing your praises to their friends and family.