Four tips for a perfect wine staff training

A staff training, getting in front of the people that will actually enact and conduct the transaction that leads to larger sales of your product, is an incredible opportunity. It’s an opportunity to instill confidence and excitement, and also an opportunity to screw up royally.

Here are four tips for a perfect staff training.

Announce and promote the training
Make posters. List the wines being poured. Emphasize the date, day of the week, and the time. Your goal is to get as many servers and bartenders there as possible. Announcing and promoting the staff training is of course the job of the restaurant management, but make it super easy for them to let the staff know something special is happening.

Start on time, but follow up with those that are late
By starting on time, you are honoring the people that made the effort. If you hold off starting the training until after “it seems like everybody is here” you are quietly reinforcing bad behavior. However, as people arrive late, have the handouts within easy reach for them and say “I’ll pour the wines for you after the training but until then just follow along.”

Two handouts at the most – and only one has anything on it
One handout is a blank page for taking notes. The other sheet could be a map, an article, or a chart of statistics. Nothing deep, nothing complicated. Something instantly digestible. (Another hint: have the wines lined up ahead of the tasting, and make the servers look at the bottle and write down what wines they will be tasting. It’s surprising how few servers have actually looked at the labels of the wines they represent.)

Less is more
The biggest mistake many sales reps make during a staff training is thinking that more information is better. Servers and their customers really don’t care about the types of barrels used, the reverse osmosis machines, the pH level, the type of yeast, or the strange variety that makes 2% of the total blend. Keep it simple. No more than five minutes on a given wine, no more than three bullet points for them to memorize.


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