Let Your Clients Taste the Wine …
And Other Things the Wine Industry
Can Teach Web Writers
What do those two words conjure up in your mind?
Did you imagine driving through sun-drenched rows of grapevines to arrive at a warm and inviting winery tasting room? Did you envision the sparkling glint of wine glasses, or imagine the soft pop of a cork being released from a bottle?
Maybe you thought of wandering through a cool barrel room or cave tunnels.
Did you think of the actual taste of the wine?
Wineries utilize many channels to distribute and sell their wine, but one of the most effective is the one that starts with the experience of wine tasting. And it is an experience.
The winery’s hospitality staff (the tasting room attendants) are trained to engage the visitor, to tell the winery’s unique story … to create an enjoyable and memorable experience around the wine.
The point is to make an impression and to begin building a relationship with the customer. Once the customer has had that first taste, it’s natural for the hospitality staff to sell him more of what he already knows he likes and even get a commitment for an ongoing relationship — membership in a wine club.
The sales funnel would look something like this:
Tasting Room Experience -> Initial Upsell Wine Purchase -> Wine Club Membership for recurring sales
It’s a highly-effective sales model, and one that web writers can adopt as well. Let me explain …
The First Taste
While some customers will buy a case of wine and a monthly wine club membership for wines they haven’t yet tasted based solely on a winery’s reputation and expert recommendations (testimonials), it is much easier to get them to do this once they’ve actually tasted the wine.
The same applies to your web-writing prospects. So think about what kind of “taste” you can offer …
Perhaps you offer to write some social media posts to promote an upcoming event as a “taste” of your social media management services.
Maybe you write just the “About” page as a “taste” of your website content creation package.
Or an article or two as a “taste” of how you could help with content marketing.
Remember, the point is to make an impression and to begin building a relationship. The “taste” gets your foot in the door with your new client in a way that carries low commitment and low risk.
It gives you a chance to prove yourself.
And this “taste” doesn’t necessarily have to be a freebie. It’s a very common practice for wineries to charge for the tasting experience. Your writing has value, too, and you don’t have to give it away for free.
Once the customer has had that first taste, it’s easier to close the deal on a larger purchase. It’s now easy for the client to justify the expense because she knows exactly what she’s getting.
This is when your prospect turns into your client. She can confidently say, “Yes. I want more of this.”
For a winery, maybe this means selling a few bottles of wine … maybe an entire case.
For a web writer, this upsell could be a complete website update, an autoresponder series, or a sales landing page.
Your client now has concrete knowledge of what to expect from you, and she’s ready for more. It’s during this stage of the relationship that your client starts to enjoy some real benefits of working with you … where she starts seeing results that reassure her that hiring you was a good decision.
Remember, it’s not just the wine that a winery sells, and it’s not just words that a writer sells. It’s the experience. It’s the results.
When a customer loves the wine and knows they’ll want more on a regular basis, they become good candidates for club membership.
With a membership, the customer gets automatic shipments of wine — usually 3-6 bottles at a time — at a discount. Club members don’t have to go out and shop, the wine is selected for them and delivered to their door. With everything done for them, the process is extremely easy for the customer.
Instead of a monthly shipment of wine, your web-writing clients may need monthly retainer work like a newsletter, blog articles, or social media updates.
Now that they’ve enjoyed their first taste of working with you, and have seen some results from their initial project, your relationship can naturally evolve into this next stage … just remember to make it easy for your client to see the benefits.
For example, they won’t have to go out and “shop” for a writer for each new piece of content they need. They’ll know what to expect from you and know they can rely on consistent quality.
As far as the discount, consider offering a package price that’s lower than if every piece was negotiated separately. You win because it’s a higher volume of guaranteed work that you don’t have to spend time attracting and then closing, and your client wins because he’ll see a cost savings with the larger bundle.
Your Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel with this model looks something like this:
Small “Taste-Test” Project -> Bigger Initial Project -> Monthly Retainer for recurring work
The reality is that not everybody who buys wine will become a club member, and not every web-writing client is a good fit for retainer work. But those who are make this model an effective — and profitable — one.
To put this in perspective, I currently have four retainer clients. Combined, they account for about $34,000 a year. Since they require only 25% of my work time, I’ve got plenty of time to go after, land, and work on other one-off projects … projects that might, in turn, lead to additional retainer clients.
Is this a business model that makes sense and fits into the scheme of your business plan? Can you provide an initial experience that primes a new client to put you on retainer for ongoing steady work?
I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what you think in a comment below.
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