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The Merchant23 Blog

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

Aug 8, 2019 11:55:06 AM / by Cyrus Azari

winery direct and wine sales what the future looks like

I'll just come out and say it up front: this is about how to get more wine sales in 2019. Total Wine and more is KILLING IT right now with this strategy. It's really not that hard, and anyone can do it. But where to get started? How do you build relationships with buyers in today's modern age? 


I see a lot of outbound sales in the wine industry. In fact, it's still the preferred method that distributors employ for soliciting new and existing business, according to this release. I also have toted a wine bag around hawking my families wine. It's a thankless job with the scheduled tastings, roll calls, pairings, free wine, driving around, etc, etc. It's a lot of BS, and the return on investment (ROI) isn't that good. For wine sales, it's pretty lousy. 


And, salespeople are considered a nuisance. Some have compared them to Jehovas Witnesses levels of annoying. (I doubt there are any reading this in this industry, right?) I've had owners see me walk through their threshold to say "OH, another one." Just pure disdain from the buyers. 


There are rockstar salespeople in wine sales, but let's be honest, a lot of people aren't cut out for sales. So how can you build a strategy with that in mind? 


I'm not setting you up with a catch-22 here. There is a way. It's called inbound sales. It's a little bit trickier with tied house laws, but still very much possible. And, it can help you cut out the middle man. What does wine selling look like without a distributor looking over your shoulder? 


Drop the wine tote, and let's start using our fingers to do the walking. You can download our Winery Direct ebook now, or keep reading :)



Essentially, instead of you going out to the buyers, the buyers come to you. It's really not hard; all you need is a keyboard, social media, and some emails addresses. Inbound is about attracting the buyer to YOU DIRECTLY. 


This works for both direct to consumer and direct to trade. (DTC and DTT)


Inbound sales are the most modern form of sales right now. Meaning that: "In fact, before a seller even contacts a buyer, he or she is already 57% of the way through the sales process."


Your buyer is already doing research on you before you even try to get in touch with them. In the past, it was up to the sellers to get in touch with the buyers. The buyers didn't have the internet and were at the mercy of the sellers for information on products. 


EVERYTHING is online now. Look at WineSearcher; it lists just about everything! 


So, you have to be modern and adaptive. The current buyer's process for buying wine is very different. It's no longer based on you going out to the buyer, too many people are already doing that and they are stuck in the past. Buyers are buying differently now. Think about how they become aware of a product, consider it, and then make the decision to purchase. 


Not just that, but wineries are also changing it up. The new way buyers are conducting business, as well as the trend of distributors consolidating, is creating a demand for winery direct sales.  Treasury Wine Estate is already positioning their company for this new trend! 


Restaurants, retailers, and anyone with a liquor license are all aware of the threat that Total Wine is. Specs in Texas is having a hell of a time with Total, as are local chains across the nation. 


So, what does this all mean? How does this help you with winery direct sales? 


In the age of outbound wine sales dying, the timing on these trends couldn't be any better for you. Always be closing is dead, it's always be consulting now. But how does one shift from closing to consulting?


To get started, you need to think about where brand in relation to your customers. You cannot appeal to every demographic and every person at once, so really sit down and think, where does your wine belong? Where do you envision it being? What is the ethos of it? What values does it stand for? How does it help the customer? How are you emotionally appealing to them? 


Do they have a business? What is their psychographics, and their buying process? Your wine needs to address the buyers needs (emotional, value, nostalgia, craft, artisan, whatever it may be), and it needs to do it in a way that brings value. Wine sales aren't as easy as they used to be! To sell, you need to have much more rapport than ever before, rapport built through consultation with the target customer. 


Then, once you have an idea of what those answers look like, you can start creating content that appeals towards your customers. Remember, in today's digital age, the customers are already doing their research on you, so make sure you have something they can research! 


What does content look like? Writing articles, creating blog posts, taking videos, pouring at events, posting on social media, podcasts, etc. The trick is to make that content geared towards your target customer. Make it seductive to them! Get them to engage with your brand and learn about it. Teach them about the benefits of your product and company, showcase how you are the best winery to begin a winery direct program with through your digital media and outreach. 


Imagine giving your target customer a digital message that appeals to their emotion and ethos at scale. Imagine showing them the benefits of working direct with you as a winery, and how they could secure an advantage from their competition using your product. All without having to leave your business and lug around a wine tote to get wine sales. 


That's the power of inbound sales, and that's the importance of the winery direct trend. 


Take this article and use it to inspire your own article or research on the topic, and then put it on your website! 


Right now, buyers are actively looking for solutions to their Total Wine and more Problem. Luckily its never been easier to reach them. Compliance has always been one of the biggest hurdles that blocked off sellers directly from buyers, but companies like Merchant23 can help simplify that problem. 


We created an ebook guide on the topic that is much more in-depth than this introduction. We hope you enjoy it! 



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

Written by Cyrus Azari

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