Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

June 10, 2024

Sip & Sell: Winning Deals with Virtual Bourbon Tastings

By Patrick "POPS" Garrett, Founder and Chief Drinking Officer (CDO), DrinkCurious and Bourbon & Banter
A man stands behind a bar and talks to someone off camera.

Today, virtual meetings are a part of our business life. During the pandemic, there was a large rise in the number of virtual meetings. In fact, the average number of virtual meetings rose from ~10 million annually to more than ~300 million during the pandemic and that number has not seen a marked decrease over the past 3 years. However, according to a survey by Showpad which analyzed sellers from U.S. organizations, 80% of salespeople believe virtual meetings make it harder to engage with prospects and 40% believe virtual meetings are costing them sales.

Since I started my business four years ago, I have seen the exact opposite. We all know COVID forced us into virtual meetings, but why have we continued using them for sales if they aren’t working? That’s the secret: virtual sales meetings, when used strategically, are a hugely important tactic that can demonstrably improve conversion because it turns out, prospects really like them. So how do you successfully use virtual events to build sales?

Back in the olden days of the twenty teens, meetings a prospect in-person was one of the most important parts of the sales process. “Let’s grab a drink and talk,” was a common phrase uttered by the best of the best salespeople because they knew that creating a relationship with the prospect was paramount. 

Then came COVID. All of sudden people were trapped behind their computers and virtual meetings became a way of life. Good salespeople realized that Zoom is impersonal and looked for ways to create bonds with prospects over video. Now “Let’s grab a drink,” has become “Join me for a virtual spirits tasting,” and the results are even better. Clients see marked increases in attendance AND engagement when they add a virtual tasting to a sales presentation. In addition, it turns out that, if a prospect RSVPs to a virtual tasting but can’t make it, the salesperson has still built a tremendous amount of goodwill with that prospect and that’s the name of the game. 

Scott Garrison, of USI Insurance Service, sums it up well: “As a broker, I like to promote what I do. I am tasked by my company to hold two to three events a year and it is always hard to get people to attend,” said “Virtual bourbon tastings with DrinkCurious solve that problem. I build goodwill with the prospect while allowing them to enjoy a great experience in the comfort of their own home.”

Another thing that makes virtual tasting successful is the drive people have for more stories. COVID was boring and people didn’t have a lot to talk about. Virtual and in-person tastings lead to GREAT stories and feed people’s thirst for experiences that are worth mentioning, again building comradery and goodwill with prospects.

Long story short, one of the best ways to improve your virtual sales meetings is to add an engaging experience, like a virtual tasting, to the agenda. Cheers.

Headshot of Patrick Garrett

Patrick "POPS" Garrett is the Founder and Chief Drinking Officer (CDO) of DrinkCurious and Bourbon & Banter – a global top ten whiskey website.