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Tactics To Get Your Wines into National Restaurant Chains in USA

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05/12/2019 Hard to answer if you’ll ever be able to get your wine into national chains?

These tips are derived from the recently launched podcast show “The Wine Whiskey Weed Show” by Beverage Trade Network between special guest Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, and host Sid Patel, CEO, BTN.

Today, Tim and Sid shed some light on how wine brands can grow their market share and sell into national hotel chains like the Hilton and the Ritz.

Know who you’re selling to

Now “know who you’re selling to” might sound ridiculous only because that’s how granted we take that for. The fact that Tim Hanni, Master of Wine himself shares an instance of him pitching to a first class airline as to how they can add more value and push their wine sales, when they’d simply give such wines away to their frequent fliers says a lot. It was the last mistake that he ever made, and became extremely aware about the importance of knowing who you’re selling to. So to say, just don’t begin going around and selling to everyone, because everyone is different. Know that difference with the relevance of your wines and pitch them or not.

Solving problems to score bigger deals! Don’t know the problems? Why not just ask?

Every gardener maintaining his garden, constantly comes across all kinds of problems. Sometimes its weeds, sometimes it’s the weather that’s not right, sometimes soil needs a push, etc, but the point is, there is always a problem.

As witty Tim Hanni bluntly says the reality, “Here’s what no one will ever hear going into a distributor meeting. Oh! Wow! We don’t have a product like that. We are looking for new products. They aren’t! That wont happen!” what he tries to convey is pretty clear. 

You aren’t going to wow someone since the wine market has saturated. There’s almost nothing that surprises people these days. And even if someone comes up with something like that, the odds of the market giving it a chance and tasting it are slim to nothing considering the competition.

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So here solving problems becomes a key to scoring big deals. Understanding and becoming truly empathetic towards your retailer or restauranteur, and truly setting feet into his/her shoes is what will give you a better chance at scoring that account.

If you don’t know the problem, it’s better to simply ask. You’d suddenly become noteworthy to that person if you solve his in-house problems. And then its simple, you help and wait for the return in gratitude provided he/she actually makes a profit and your wine sells well. 

Access is everything 

Building relationships by any way possible with the buyers, but equally understanding that these are networked people and the only way you might have access will be if you have a stronger bond with them than most. For example, if you drink together, it says a lot. Its understanding these little nuances and putting in the time and effort for building these relationships constantly that will eventually help your “case”, *pun intended*. Because it is the solid truth there are way more quality wines as compared to consumers to consume the same, and hence quality of your wine becomes more like Herzberg’s Motivator theory, wherein, a premium quality is only going to match the strength of your wine with other wines, while a lack of it is going to dethrone you altogether, and hence quality won’t become determining factor in most cases. 

“Reverse engineer the whole process” – Sid Patel, CEO, BTN

It’s important to understand how creative these business tactics are. What Sid means to say is, help retailers by creative press buzz by getting consumers to ask about wine by well-targeted marketing. One of the simplest methods that Sid used was promoting using the phrase “coming to Delaware soon”, “If you want to taste this wine, submit the store name you buy from, and we will request the retailer to contact you. The retailer gets an immediate consumer who is willing to buy wine even before it is shelved on his rack.
After that it all depends on how the packaging and pricing of your wine performs. If it doesn’t work and if your wine goes off shelf after that, you need to make some serious changes then to stand out, since the retailer has done his/her part.

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