It takes drive and persistence to succeed as an entrepreneur in the direct selling industry, but a little advice goes a long way, too. We asked a few of our Wine Guides to tell us their top tips for rocking their wine business with Traveling Vineyard. Wine Guides Missa Capozzo, Kisha Dlugos and Nikki Nichols generously shared tips and insights on “wine marketing strategy”—what they do and how they do it so well. If you’re considering becoming a Wine Guide (or if you’re interested in any avenue of direct selling), their 10 expert tips may be just what you need to succeed.
1. Be passionate and have fun—and don’t be afraid to show it!
We love what Missa Capozzo says about doing well in this role. “The key to being a successful Wine Guide is letting your passion shine. It doesn’t matter how much wine knowledge you have or how good you might be at sales, it’s all about contagious enthusiasm and a genuine passion for what you do,” says the three-year veteran. When people see your enthusiasm, they can’t help but be interested in what you’re doing. The more fun you have with your “job,” the more people will be drawn to you!
2. Make it personal.
Building personal relationships with your customers is a foolproof wine marketing strategy, according to Kisha Dlugos, Wine Guide since 2015. “People like to feel special, and my role as their Wine Guide is to provide them with the utmost customer service, whether it is booking a tasting or selecting the right wines from my website and everything in between,” says Kisha. “The relationships that you build with your customers will help you keep a thriving business.” Things like sending handwritten thank-you notes to customers and hosts can go a long way in our digital world. Making customers feel special helps guarantee they will be customers for life.
3. Don’t stress if you’re not a salesperson.
Truly, wine marketing and sales isn’t about knowing the right tactics. Wine is fun—it automatically provides an enjoyable experience. As a Wine Guide, you are simply the person who facilitates that experience for others.
“To this day, I don’t consider myself a salesperson, even after ending the last year with the top sales in the company,” Missa says. “I don’t sell wine. Our wine is fantastic and sells itself. I sell a really fun experience. My top priority is to make sure my hosts and guests had a wonderfully fun time. I want them to feel relaxed and truly enjoy themselves. If I can accomplish that, then the rest falls into place.”
Kisha adds, “People buy from those who are believable, likeable, and trustable—and when you genuinely love what you do, that is sure to shine through.”
Another piece of advice: Always remember that a “no” right now is not a permanent “no.” Keep following up with your past, current and potential customers, so you can gauge their interest as time passes and as their needs and wants change.
4. Ask everyone to host.
“Ask everyone you know to host. I mean, everyone,” says Nikki Nichols, who started her Traveling Vineyard business in 2014. “When I joined, I asked everyone I could think of to host for me. Some were only acquaintances, and some were in different circles, but I asked them all. I keep a list of potential hosts and add to it all the time. If they say ‘maybe later,’ they go on a list to ask another time. I try to ask at least one person every day.”
5. Leverage your social media resources.
Right now is an amazing time to be in the direct selling industry, but if no one knows what you do or the product you have to offer, they can’t become hosts, customers or potential team members!
Kisha recommends utilizing social media to your full advantage by doing the following:
- Craft stories about why you love what you do.
- Share product testimonials for all to see.
- Reach a broad range of customers with simple, engaging, and clever posts.
- Don’t overdo it. Posts don’t have to be in your face—in fact, the best posts are those that show off what you do in a fun and subtle way. Examples include having a Traveling Vineyard bottle of wine with dinner or showing a wine bottle craft you have just completed.
Keep in mind that every social media post is like planting a seed. You never know how it will grow—and who you may reach!
6. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.
Newbies should know there is nothing to be nervous about as a fledgling Wine Guide. You are not expected to be an expert by any stretch, and you are certainly not being judged. You are simply there sharing some fun facts and an amazing product in a laid back, enjoyable environment.
“Conducting a wine tasting should be as fun for you as it is for your guests,” Missa says. “You aren’t necessarily in a room full of customers, but instead are in a room full of new friends!”
7. Never stop learning.
“I have become a successful Wine Guide by becoming a student of the business,” Kisha says. “I was not and still am not a wine expert by any means. I’m a wine enthusiast, I simply took the time to learn the basics of the business and utilized the training from World Headquarters.”
8. Customer service still matters.
Good customer service will never go out of style. Nikki suggests the following:
- Get to know your customers and the wines they like. When their favorite is getting low or has just been released again, let them know—they’ll appreciate the heads-up and that you remembered what they like.
- Follow up with customers. “I like to send a message a few months after their purchase to check in to see if they need more wine,” Nikki says. “You’d be amazed at how many bottles and sometimes cases I’ve sold from just sending a message.”
9. Be teachable.
“You’ll never know everything about this business, so keep learning.” Nikki’s advice is echoed by so many entrepreneurs across every industry—soak up all the training you can, and give yourself a little grace about what you don’t know. You don’t need to know everything all at once. Learn as you go and ask for help.
10. Share your passion.
We saved the best for last, a sentiment echoed by each of the Wine Guides we spoke with and simply put by Nikki: Always share the opportunity to be a Wine Guide with other people—even if you think you don’t know what to say or how to train someone else. (After all, there is a whole support system of people who will help you with that part!) When you share, you never know whose life you may change for the better.