If you've ever played a game of poker, you know that an "ante" is a bet each player must make at the very beginning, before cards are dealt, to ensure that everyone has skin in the game and to promise some level of value at the end of the experience.
Your ante as a business is your reputation for delivering on your brand promise. It's your products. It's your people and the service they provide. It’s word-of-mouth referrals, online peer-to-peer reviews, and engagement on social media. You are anteing up all day every day, and the value of your ante is relative to the consumers interested in playing a hand with you.
Now, whose turn is it to ante up? Consumers’ – and you have to ask them to! It can be tricky and feel uncomfortable at first, but it's important to do so if you want to drive quality customers to your business.
Asking consumers to put skin in the game can take many forms; here are just a few:
- Pricing your wines and your winery experiences at an above-average level;
- Requiring a credit card to hold a guest’s reservation (and take it a step further by charging in full at the time of booking);
- Only pouring special wines once a consumer has joined your mailing list in the tasting room or at a public pouring;
- Asking a new wine club member to take their first “shipment” upon sign-up;
- Avoiding discounts, collecting tasting fees and charging for shipping, despite the giveaways your neighbor down the road is throwing at its visitors.
In effect, you are asking consumers to qualify themselves… and if they are serious about your brand, an ante won't put them off. They’ll be ready to demonstrate their commitment, and will have greater respect for your business as a result. They will trust you to deliver on your brand promise and create value for them now and in the future.
Antes increase your odds that there is quality behind the quantity of people coming your way, and thus increases your potential to sell more wine and sign these fans up to your wine club or allocation list. So go ahead, ask them to ante up!
#TakeAction – Engage your front-line DTC team and come up with a few ways to politely ask your customers to put some skin in the game (and don’t forget to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives).
$$ Double or nothing $$ Post in the Comments section of this blog post and let other readers know what you chose to do!