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Cyrus Azari

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Social Selling = Wine Sales

By Cyrus Azari on   Aug 19, 2019 8:32:01 PM

Social selling can help you get more leads and wine sales. 


What am I talking about? I'm talking about researching, connecting, interacting, liking, sharing, and overall engaging your target buyer persona on social media networks. 


By using digital technology to interact with targeted prospects and customers, you can rapidly build rapport and credibility.


You can't be cheesy with social selling, keep it real and be authentic. 


Social selling isn't a hard close tactic either.


Social Selling By the Numbers


72% of salespeople using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.


There's a direct correlation between closed deals & social selling tactics: 54% of survey respondents have tracked closed deals to engagement on social media.


There is a very compelling point being made that social selling provides very tangible results for your sales team. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to get referrals - and like social selling, referrals can help you increase your closing %. 


Another fantastic perk? It's a free way to advertise! 


The Perfect Profile 


Just posting and sharing content won't be enough. You need to make sure that you and your profiles are all dialed in. Before embarking on social selling, make sure always to have this question in the back of your mind: would my target customer care about this? 


This means:


  1. Post a professional picture.
  2. Write your description of your position.
  3. Link out to other social media. (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln, etc.) 
  4. Offer industry insight in your description. (maybe a link to a useful blog post)
  5. Have your headline answer this question: Who do you help, and how?
  6. Post some infographics or visual pieces of content and useful to your buyer. 
  7. Fish for reviews from happy customers to help increase your social proof. 
  8. If allowed (Linkedln has the room for this, Twitter does not, for example) make sure to write a 3x3 summary of your company. Along the lines of:

    1st paragraph - your value proposition

    2nd paragraph - social proof on how you helped clients out before

    3rd paragraph - a call to action to get in touch with you 


Make your profile consistent across platforms, yet catered to the quirks of the specific platform it is on. 


Getting Started


So we have gone over why social selling is essential (the numbers), setting up a profile, now what?


Its time to socially sell! This can help you hit your wine sales goals! 


This is the most natural part. It's a free pass to go out there and socialize! What does a successful socialization look like?




Sharing Content


One of the lowest hanging fruits is just plain old sharing content. Whatever industry you are in, odds are there are thought leaders and content being created to help solve those industries' pain points. 


If you understand your target customers try to curate content that they would find useful. Maybe you find an eBook that talks directly to a specific problem in your industry! Sharing content is an excellent low-effort high-return-on-investment play!


Liking Stuff 


Another low hanging fruit is the simple "like." A Twitter favorite or Linkedln/Facebook like are great ways to interact without having to type out a comment. They also serve as an unspoken thank you when people share or retweet your comment. Get out there and like stuff! It will help your wine sales! 


The Peanut Gallery


Commenting is a more intimate way to connect with your prospects. It shouldn't be salesy or a pitch or a link to your company's website. You should put on your academic hat and create thoughtful, insightful commentary relevant to the topic your prospect is putting out. 


Connection, Connection, Connection.


Here is some weird piece of etiquette I have learned in surfing social media. On Twitter and Instagram, you want more "followers," then people you are "following." Following a bunch of people isn't as cool as having more followers. 


On Linkedln its bad form to connect with someone that you haven't had a meaningful interaction with. Be it online or in person, make sure there is some established rapport before reaching out for that connection request. 


That doesn't mean you cannot still talk and have a presence in those restaurants social media sphere. Social selling on LinkedIn can be a great way to start conversations with potential restaurants without going straight for the sale. Nurturing a relationship over social media is much less "pushy" than traditional outreach methods. 


Customized messages, be it in social selling, emails, letters, whatever, are always more effective than generic messages. Customization shows you care and took time to do your due diligence on the prospect, regardless of their perspective. 



By and large, social selling will increase your conversions and closes, because at the end of the day you are building rapport with each interaction - and people buy from people they like! So get out there and start social selling! 


The most important part of social selling? No boarders. Thanks to our digital age, you can talk to retailers that you were never able to be connected with. Find them on social media (California wineries maybe go to Wyoming? Or Nevada? There are a lot of underserved areas in the USA) and start talking to them.


Markets are really starting to open up and distributors are becoming more of a compliance and clearing mechanism. Never before has the market been so open. Start using social selling to begin a winery direct program with the untouched wine markets across the U.S.A! We have an eBook that you can download to help make that strategy a reality at your winery. 


Topics: Sales Goals wine sales social selling

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By Cyrus Azari on   Aug 14, 2019 4:35:18 PM


Topics: Winery-Direct wine sales outbound inbound Wine distributors

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A Quick Introduction to Winery Direct and the Death of the Wine Tote

By Cyrus Azari on   Aug 8, 2019 11:55:06 AM

Topics: Winery-Direct wine sales outbound total wine sales strategy inbound

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Maintaining and Growing A Customer Base

By Cyrus Azari on   Aug 5, 2019 6:08:59 PM

Growing and maintaining a brand is a sizable feat. For a brand to grow, you are going to need more customers! Here are the four things you can do to keep developing and maintaining, those customers.

Topics: Winery Sales customer wine sales CRM customer relationship manager

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Increase Winery Sales: 9 Free Ways to Advertise

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 31, 2019 10:47:43 AM

Topics: Branding Winery Sales

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The Fortune is in the Follow Up

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 30, 2019 9:49:35 AM

I'm assuming you have a targeted buyer persona and are following up in the below article You do have a buyer persona, right?  If not, read that article first, then come back here. 

Topics: Winery Sales Goals Follow Up Winery Sales

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A Wineries Guide to Hitting Sales Goals

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 24, 2019 6:03:58 PM

The most important part of making a product is making sure you can sell it! We have created this guide to help you do just that. 

Topics: Winery-Direct Sales Sales Goals

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What Awesome Wine Branding Looks Like

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 22, 2019 5:16:19 PM

Owner Kevin Buckler created a 4 bottle wine package called The Racing Series, and it has been wildly successful. It tells the story of Kevin’s two passions (wine and racing) and how they came together to push the limits of traditional wine marketing. By using rare blends and incredibly sleek packaging, Kevin has created a recipe for success. 

Topics: Branding Wine Branding Design Adobe Road Winery

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How to Properly Brand on Social Media

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 15, 2019 1:14:57 PM

Using social media to promote your brand is a powerful tool, but with that power comes responsibility. Do it poorly, and it will hurt your business.

Topics: Winery Buyer Persona Branding

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A Wineries Going to Market Checklist

By Cyrus Azari on   Jul 10, 2019 3:48:50 PM

Your vintage is ready! All your hard work and dedication has finally put wine in the bottle...but are you prepared to go to market?


Here's an easy 7 point checklist for going to market with your wine.

1) Learn about your customer

Who are you building your product for? Millennials? Baby boomers? On-premise locations? Or name a few. Think about which demographic is best suited to buying your product. Apothic by E.J. Gallo is aimed directly at millennials, for example. Gallo leveraged social media to promote more engagement between the brand and millennials, to lucrative results.

They wanted to target millennials, so they went to where the millennials congregated - social media. Where are your customers digesting their news?

How are you going to appeal towards your customer with your product? How does your product fit into their lives, and how does it emotionally impact them?

The label design, the label name, and the varietal all play into that. Millennials tend to like unique label designs and varietals — baby boomers like reputable estates, brands, and more "traditional" labels.

These are just two examples. Adobe Road Winery has a line up of wines called the Racing Series, which targets the racing enthusiast crowd.

To hone it down, ask yourself:


2) Know your competition, know yourself

Inevitability, there will be other products that want to capture your target customer, especially in an industry as competitive as the wine trade. So what are you going to do about it?

First is to go here and see how you stack up with look-alike products on price point.

Second, how are you different from your competition? What does your label art look like compared to similar brands? Packaging? Cork? And Capsule?

Third, do you have scores or accolades? Those can help with differentiating your product from others. If you're targeting an off-premise account, create shelf talkers to accompany your wine. (SevenFifty has a great write up on this)

The point is that you want to create a distinction with your product in comparison to your competition.

3) Pitch your positioning to stakeholders, and prepare the team.

Owners, you must make sure that everyone involved in selling the wine is in alignment with your points. If you are not the owner but a sales manager, the same principle applies. Think about it, if your team is not on board with your product, that will affect behavior with customers. Total alignment is necessary to make your product successful.

4) Plan your go-to-market strategy.


Now you have to ask yourself, how are you going to get your product to market? Are you going to be doing it through creating distributor relationships? Or, will you adapt a more direct-to-consumer relationships, or winery direct retailer relationships? 


I think the best way to look at it is using the funnel vs flywheel analogies. 


For distributors you would use a funnel strategy. 


Image taken from Raka Creative

Keep in mind, when going with distributors you have no way to monitor the growth or health of the market they are selling into.  Hence why obtaining them as a customer is the final step. There is no more input you can put in to help their success, once they take you on their books its up to them to sell your product. 


Sounds inefficient, doesn't it? Luckily there is another way: the flywheel method. ...Instead of your customers coming out of the funnel never to be seen again, you can use their momentum as promoters to help attract and captivate the next round of customers and so on and so forth. Ideally, it’s a perpetually never-ending cycle of customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth working in your favor to keep that flywheel spinning.


Not very applicable to distributors, but when it comes to winery direct relationships or direct to consumer strategies, this is the best approach. 


Then the question becomes, how do I get my product in-front of retailers or customers? A great way to is through the use of digital marketing. Merchant23 facilities winery direct sales by providing the distributor relationships for you. This means, you can nurture and be in charge of the success of your business, and not rely on others to do it for you. If you would like to find out more, check out our sellers guide here.


One more thing, when you're executing your go-to-market strategy, make sure you have customer relationship manager (CRM) in place to handle all incoming leads. You want to have a "pipeline" of sorts with all your leads that are interested in your product, like below: 



Whether you're managing winery direct sales, working with distributors, or direct to consumer, its important to have a system to keep track of who has been sent samples, how many times you have followed up, and your success to loss ratio. CRMs are great for tracking these metrics!


5) The Marketing Campaign 


Remember point 1, where I talked about how Apothic is geared towards millennials? Their marketing  strategy was to use social media to have millennials interact with the brand. Let's take a look at Dom Pérignon.

Part of their marketing strategy was the creation of this ad. The target? The elite. The appeal? A drink in a class of its own. The approach is to appeal towards the target customer emotionally. That is how they will "win" over their business.

Another brand that had a fantastic marketing strategy is Stella Rosa. "The company has sponsored floats in the Rose Bowl, flown airplanes trailing banners down West Coast beaches, and placed a majority of its 400 billboards around the greater Los Angeles area…"


Big, boisterous and very much a shotgun effect, but it has been effective. They have been enjoying double-digit growth year after year. Essentially the strategy here was to saturate a particular area where their known target buyer persona is known to reside, and given how the brand has been received its working.

Understand how you are going to introduce your product to the market. Not every release needs to be like Stella, but make sure you have a strategy on launching the product when hitting a market!

6) Create promotional content

Take a look at how Bacardi launched a campaign that had substantial social media tie ins. #BacardiHouseParty became a focal point for the brand. They found that they were lagging in the millennial demographic, and to solve the problem they created content that would promote the brand towards millennials. It wasn't just comparisons or showcasing why their product was better; they gave their customers useful things. Right here they give you a playlist for your next house party.

Another example can be seen right here! Why do you think Merchant23 creates posts and content? While education in nature and aimed to be genuinely useful, we still want to build brand equity and trust with our customer base. Promotional material can take on many forms - and usually, the most effective types of it are educational for business to business, and emotional when going direct to consumer.

7) Launch the product

Almost ready. After doing the above steps, make sure you come up with goals. How many people do you want to reach? What kind of changes are you looking to see in your business? Come up with ways and metrics to analyze your strategies, and be ready to change them if you are not reaching your goals!


In other words, how many retailers are you going to need to call before you get a sale? 

Here is an articles to better help you hone in on what that looks like. Often called key performance indicators (KPIs), this is a way to determine what is the most important metric you are going for. Another way to look at it is how you will define success? What does that look like for your product launch? Here is another excellent way to look at it, courtesy of Vital Design.

Topics: Buyer Persona Branding Wine Branding Design

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