One of the biggest ways you kill a sale is by not explaining or articulating the value of what you’re selling. I’ll get to why in a moment, but first let me set the scene.

A while ago Barbara had gone up to the Hunter Valley for a couple of nights.

Now for those of you not familiar with Australian geography, the Hunter Valley is about 1.5 hours (driving) north of Sydney and is one of the largest wine producing regions in Australia.

So an obvious activity while up there is going around some of the 150+ wineries and tasting wine.

Now personally, I’m not a big wine drinker. So when our host at the B&B said a winery tour was included in the stay, I was less than enthusiastic. However, we weren’t going to just go boozing. We’d be visiting other places of interest as well and our host seemed pretty knowledgeable and so we thought – let’s go.

And as always, there were some marketing lessons to be gleaned.

The first port of call was a well known brand.

We walked in and our host took us out the back into the warehouse! He then proceeded to tell us about the different wines and what he thought was good value. Which did strike me as a bit odd. You’d think of the winery staff would have done this instead.

Anyway, we had a selection of about a dozen wines we could try.

The chap behind the counter had a somewhat off hand and disinterested attitude. Barbara and I both felt he knew a lot about the wines but made no attempt to explain what made them special. If you wanted to try one – sure no problem, but that was it.

No sale here!

We then choofed off to a wood working craft shop. They had some nice stuff, but once again, Barbara commented that she didn’t know why she should be paying $360 for a wooden salad bowl. And there was a dining room set for $49,000. Yes, forty nine thousand dollars!

The chap behind the counter stayed right where he was. At no stage did he try and engage us, tell us what went into the production of some of the pieces and why they were priced as they were.

So we couldn’t perceive the value and why we should be paying. Once again, no sale!

And so it went on.

The next three wineries offered their ranges of wines, but once again the staff let them down.

Most of the staff were young – around the 20 – 22 year old mark. While they were all polite and friendly, it was obvious they knew very little about the wines and what made them taste the way they did, what you should drink with what and why you should buy them over the competition.

Until the last winery. That was a completely different experience.

I’ll get to why in a sec, but before we got there we visited The Hunter Olive Centre, where we could taste a range of oils, condiments, dips and of course olives.

An interesting concept – they sell you a bag of bread pieces for 50 cents. You can then go round dipping your bread into a range of stuff they have around the place.

And yes, we did buy some really nice dill mayonnaise (excellent with smoked salmon) and other relishes. But when Barbara came to the range of dukkah she baulked. “This stuff is expensive at $12 a small container – I don’t know why I’d pay so much and I just don’t see the value. So I’m not going to buy any.” “Well, why don’t you ask them?” “No, can’t be bothered.”

They’d already rung up our purchases and Barbara was still humming and hawing about the dukkah. So once again, “Why don’t you ask them?” This time she did.

“Well, the dukkah is full of different nut varieties, all hand crushed and mixed with spices. It takes a lot of nuts to make a small container which makes it expensive.” Not surprisingly, once she heard the explanation she spontaneously said, “I’ll have a container – add it to the order”.

Which makes me wonder how many other sales these people are losing out on because they don’t explain why something is expensive.

It wouldn’t take much. Just some signs with information telling us how the stuff is produced, the quality of the ingredients and where they’re sourced from. Then I can perceive value (or not) and make a decision as to whether I’m willing to spend the money.

Back to the last winery.

A small boutique winery, the lady behind the counter really knew her stuff and was willing to share her knowledge. Not in a superior, condescending way like some wine snobs, but in an easy going manner which didn’t make you feel like an idiot when you asked questions.

She explained each wine, made recommendations depending on our tastes and was fully engaged in the process. These wines weren’t cheap at $25 a bottle but they tasted good and were something I would drink.

In addition to the standard discount for a case of 12, you could “cut the cards” and depending on what card you drew, get an additional discount – I think up to about 34% in total.

A pretty good marketing ploy.

We made it back to the B&B in one piece and I must admit I certainly enjoyed the outing. Just goes to show once again that you need to get out of your comfort zone and try new things and that it really helps to have a good “coach”. The B&B host knew the places, the people and the products and was very generous with his time and knowledge, which made all the difference.

So my question to you is…

Are you actively engaging with your prospects and clients, finding their likes, dislikes and demonstrating the value of whatever it is you sell?

If you do while in front of them, does this also translate to your written material? Many people won’t buy immediately but want to think about it. Having well written material which explains the value gives them something to take away and study at their leisure, and invites them to come back.

As a quick aside, not one of the establishments we visited bothered to get our names and contact details so they could follow us up with news and promotions. If we didn’t buy right then and there, there was no way they could invite us back. Stupid really! Don’t make the same mistake.

So here’s the offer. If you’d like help creating marketing material which articulates your value to your market in ways that gets prospects to respond and buy, give me a call on 0414 913 334 or reply to this email. Don’t leave your sales and marketing to chance. It’s the lifeblood of your business.



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