The Grapevine

On Reading Your Wine Shop Customers 

February 16th, 2016

There’s a real art to reading the people who walk into your wine shop and making them feel comfortable. Coming on too strong is probably worse than keeping your head buried in your phone, tablet, or computer screen. Some thoughts on getting the balance right. [level-members]

First and foremost, don’t lose site of the fact that you know a lot about wine. (I’m making a huge assumption here, I know, but we don’t see too many mass-market, wine-as-commodity types lurking around GSM.) So while you don’t want to talk down to folks by explaining everything, you don’t want to toss off opinions as fact to folks who may not know what you’re talking about, or may not share your belief. An example might help: explaining why you love varietal X with a particular type of cuisine is fine. Proclaiming, “You simply mustn’t pair varietal X with food like that. It’s dreadful.”

I’ve gone a bit beyond with the dramatic language, to be sure, but that’s exactly how we can sound when talking to clients. So take it easy, and take your lead from the customers themselves. They’ll let you know how strongly they hold their opinions, and whether they’re looking for your guidance.

In other words, shut up and listen. That should be obvious – reading people is like reading a book. There’s not a lot of talking on your part. And with your mouth shut, you’ll learn what you need to know to be able to teach your customers what they want to know. [/level-members]