Education, education, education. You'll see it in nearly every two leaves and a bud wholesaler advice column. Why? Because education is the key to building relationships with customers and selling more tea. Tea can be daunting to many; making it accessible through education is the gateway to bigger business.
But how do you do it? With limited time and resources, it can be difficult to educate staff and customers. With that in mind, here's a quick guide.
Step 1: Understand your options
Find out how you can teach yourself and staff about the world of tea. Here are several ways we can help:
- Download our tea education booklet: Two leaves and a bud has developed a comprehensive booklet to help you learn more about the world of tea. It's simple — you don't need to get your staff together in a room and you don't need to speak eloquently about the world of tea. Just print out the booklet or sent it to your staff via e-mail, and voila! Instant, easy education.
- Request a virtual tea tasting: Two leaves and a bud offers free virtual tea tastings for you and your staff. These sessions are held over the phone, run through an online educational presentation about tea, and conclude with a quick tea tasting of the teas you're currently carrying.
- Facebook and Twitter: A much more passive way to glean some ongoing education for yourself and your staff: sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Through each of these channels, we're providing ongoing tea education, preparation tips and interesting facts that you can offer to your customers.
Step 2: Plan your education program
So much tea knowledge to impart, so little time! If you're not using two leaves and a bud to educate staff members, then what are the key, critical things you want to teach to your team?
- Above all else: Taste the tea! Make sure your staff takes the time to taste each of the teas you'll carry. Tasting great tea will make for a passionate staff who is excited to make recommendations and who will actively want to learn more about their favorites Remember: nothing speaks better than enthusiasm.
- Preparation tips: Your next most important priority is providing a better tasting cuppa' tea to your customers. Whole leaf tea requires longer steep times to fully infuse your customers' cups with flavors. Green and white teas require lower water temperatures than black, herbal and red teas. Be sure to teach your staff about the importance of proper tea prep, so your customers can enjoy a better cuppa' and come back for more.
- Variances in caffeine: It's essential your staff know the caffeine differences between black, green, white, herbal and red teas. Many customers buy tea because of caffeine content — be sure your staff knows the difference and can offer recommendations to customers based on their needs.
- Have a little extra time? Focus on health! Mention tea's healthy qualities and your staff members have basically made a tea sale. People love the convenience of tea — it tastes great and has many health benefits. Make sure your staff knows all about it, and you'll see more sales.
Step 3: Take it to the customers
Now that you have an educated staff, you can provide lasting value to your customers.
- First, prep your staff: Give them talking points, and train them to provide one interesting fact for each new customers. When dne correctly, each of your customers can learn something when they walk through your doors.
- Sample! Tea is fun to discover. When you walk the floor of your store daily with a different tea and an interesting fact about it, you will see your customers enjoying themselves more, learning more, and discovering a new tea they never tried before. (Don't hesitate to ask us for some free sample cups!)
- Stage a tea tasting: An obvious one, but the best thing you can do . Just like a wine shop has wine tastings, hold a monthly tea tasting in the evening. Having a number of teas availalbe for sampling makes this a fun social event. You'll see instant buzz for your store and build lasting relationships with customers.
What have you done to educate your customer about tea, and are there any challenges you've run into along the way?