nick jones Posted February 27, 2012 Share Posted February 27, 2012 I felt like going on a little rant tonight about how little it helps any of us to belittle each other to customers... We all know those "connoisseur" type customers who are very opinionated about what they like. In their mind, they've tasted all that there is to taste, and they've settled upon exactly what it is that they like. Good for them. After sitting behind a desk all day they've earned the right to be conceited about what they drink. Even better if it happens to be my stuff that they like. But those types of people are a minority. Most customers fall more into the category of "I drink it because I've never tried anything else." If we, as small businesses, are lucky enough to ever have this elusive yet ubiquitous person try our spirits, I think that the worst thing that we can do is to start bashing our competition with the hope of elevating our own products in their eyes, regardless of whether that competition is a macro or a micro brand. In my experience, these customers (who are already putting themselves way out of their comfort zone by trying something new) become even more uncomfortable and start thinking things like, "wow, if all of these other micro brands are so bad, then maybe this one is too" or, "I've tried that macro brand before and I kind of liked it. Maybe I just don't like this micro stuff" etc. The way I look at it, we're all in this together. The more success your business has, and the more of a name you make for the micro-distilling movement, the better it is for my business. The more I make your business look bad, the more I inadvertently make my own look bad. This also goes for the macros. I'd LOVE to see spirits take a huge chunk of market share back from beer and wine, regardless of who is producing the spirits. Sure, there are people out there (both micros and macros) putting filth in a bottle and calling it premium spirit. Do I ever need to say anything more about those products than that they don't suit my own personal taste? Absolutely not. And while I'm at it, I'll be sure to direct the conversation towards a spirit that is similar but that I do honestly enjoy. To me this is just acting professionally. The connoisseur type customers LOVE to try to get me to talk about the various flaws of other brands, but I never oblige. Why break the industry down, when there are so many great products out there that I'd love to build up? Why highlight the blemishes on the industry when I can put a spotlight on the beauty of it? So if you're one of those who on occasion talks to customers about how poor another distiller's product, process, or philosophy is, just think about how you could put that same energy toward talking up your own products, processes, and philosophies. If you talk up other products that you like as well, I'm sure that you'll find yourself connecting even more deeply with your customers. In the end, I'm sure that you'll see how much it benefits your business to keep it positive. And if you, like me, are the sort of distiller who puts in the effort (and it does take quite a bit of effort) to put an overall positive spin on the industry and never bash other distillers' products, just know that you've got one more ally out there! Nick Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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