Monthly Archives: November 2012

Batteries not included

adding valueHow to get your customers spending more and thanking you for it

One of the ways to grow your sales is to increase the spend of each of your customers each time they visit or buy from you. They’ve already bought from you so they now know you, hopefully like what you have offered them, and by now they’ll be able to trust you. So you already have a relationship.

The challenge is we (and our team) often feel reluctant to “upsell”. We don’t want to be pushy or be seen to be manipulating customers into buying something they don’t want.

But just think about it for a moment….

How would you feel on Christmas morning when your child (or grandchild) excitedly opens their new toy and wants to play with it right now. They turn to you and say “But Daddy, it’s not working”. You then see those words “Batteries not included”?

Imagine the disappointment.

Or you buy them that electric guitar they’ve craved for so long, and all they want to do all through the holidays is practise on it…….. And at the point you are about to pull the plug on it (quite literally) a friends says “But didn’t you get them a set of headphones too?”

If only someone had suggested this sooner!

Rather than feeling uncomfortable about someone trying to sell you something you didn’t want or need you’d probably be frustrated or even annoyed if they hadn’t suggested the additional items such as the batteries or the headphones.

Equally when somebody is coming to us to have a good time, by letting them know about other products or services that might complement what they’re already having or doing, you can really help to enhance the whole experience. (As well as helping your bottom line!)

Wikipedia describes upselling as ‘a sales technique whereby a salesperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale’. I’m not sure I like this description as it implies it’s very one sided in favour of the business, with little benefit to the customer at all.

Although upselling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products, it can also be simply exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously. Upselling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of the original sale’.

But is it just about increasing the customer spend, or is it also about giving the customer a better all round experience, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of?

So instead thinking “upsell” think in terms of “adding value”.


What to promote

So in order to do this effectively the first thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote.  It obviously makes sense to be promoting high profit items, but there can be a danger in using this as the only criteria.

Unless what you are promoting is perceived as value to the customer, it’s unlikely the sale will be achieved, and does little to build your customer’s loyalty or trust.  It’s also important to distinguish between high selling price and profitability and appropriateness to meet the customers’ needs.  For example upselling to a more expensive bottle of wine when it does not appeal to the customers tastes, or upselling an annual admission ticket to someone who doesn’t live locally and is unlikely to make use of it.  You end up with an unhappy and disgruntled customer. So a very short term gain on your part, and hardly likely to lead to a naturally loyal customer.


Spot the opportunities

Look at all the situations that lend themselves as an opportunity to add value – not just in everyone’s own department – but across all areas.

Know your audience and review the buying patterns of your most profitable customers; what types of things do they frequently buy together?

Put yourself in their shoes; what might be a logical accompaniment for the main thing they are buying (in the same way that batteries are a logical purchase if you’re buying a toy that runs on batteries).

  • At salons – If clients are looking to get glam for a special occasion, would they like to get their nails done whilst having their hair done, or take home a special lotion to complete their beauty regime
  • For hotels – options on accommodation – room upgrades, special packages, champagne in rooms, recommending quiet times for spa or fitness centre
  • In the restaurant – bottled water, suggestions for starters, accompaniments, side orders, deserts, desert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks
  • Attractions and museums – upgrading to annual tickets, access to exclusive areas, invitations to special events, cross promoting concessions’ facilities such as the café.
  • At the bar or cafe – branded beers, snack items, pastries with their coffee
  • Follow ups – Does your service warrant an ongoing programme of sessions for best results, e.g. therapies, sports lessons, beauty treatments

I’m sure you’ll have many more specifics for your own operation.

Think ahead and try to anticipate things your customers might appreciate.

For example if someone is coming to you to buy a gift or to treat someone for a special occasion think ahead to what else they might be looking for such as gift wrapping, or card, champagne, flowers, celebration cake, etc

If what you provide involves the great outdoors and braving the elements what else might your customers need or want so that their experiences aren’t marred by bad weather? Having appropriate wet weather gear, hip flasks, and umbrellas are just a couple of things you might think of making available.

(There may be plenty of additional opportunities to team up with other businesses who share your customers, but let’s save that for another day…)


Tell your customers

Don’t rely on telepathy for your customers to know what’s on offer! Have other products on show and give plenty of information on other services. And let customers know the benefits.

Ensure you and your team are able to talk confidently about each of the products and services available. You can’t sell something you don’t understand (think Curry’s on a Saturday afternoon, when you ask a newbie 16 year old sales assistant about the features of the TV you’re looking to buy……)

Allow your team to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of feel, taste, smell, if they’ve experienced them themselves.

It’s also about timing.  If you’re offering something that needs time to enjoy or savour, there’s no point telling them about it just as they are about to leave.

However, it’s always going to be easier to sell something of lower value at the end of the ‘sale’. Take for example when you buy a new suit, and you then get offered a shirt to go with it. The price of the shirt by comparison is small, so it’s an easy sale. Done the other way round has a very different result.

Judge your customers and when is the ‘right time’. For example in a restaurant selling desserts – ask too soon and people say they are still too full, and go straight on to coffee, ask too late and they have gone off the idea, and want to head off home. So it’s sometimes a fine line.


Train your team

Demonstrate to your team the importance of offering additional items to add value for your customers. Allow them to practise:  for example how to ask open questions to identify customers’ needs and how to respond and make suggestions.

It’s all very well knowing what to say, but you know how sometimes when you come to say something the words just don’t trip off the tongue as you might hope!  Let your team practise in a safe environment, based on different scenarios. And most importantly give them authority to look for opportunities and make suggestions and personal recommendations.

It all adds up to giving value, and making sure your customers don’t leave without their batteries….


Join me on my free webinar on Monday 3rd December “7 keys to staying on your customers’ radar to get the easy business that’s right under your nose”     Click here to register


Staying on your customers’ radar

If you know you’re expecting new customers over the Christmas period you want to be sure you have some way of capitalising on this new audience.

Now’s the perfect time to get on the radar of someone new.

But unless you get something in place now you’ll miss out on this golden opportunity.

We know that it’s a lot easier to get repeat business from someone who’s already had a chance to sample what you do, who knows they like what you offer and they’ve had a good time, so they trust you can deliver.

So I’m going to help get you started….

On Monday 26th I’m doing a rerun of my recent webinar on

“7 keys to staying on your customers’ radar to tap into the EASY business that’s right under your nose”

Please register here

Nearly every business I speak to wants to get more business, and I’m sure you do too…..

And you’ve probably invested time, energy and cash into marketing your Christmas offers. So do you really want all those people to walk out after their Christmas party or break never to be seen again? Wouldn’t it make next year so much easier if you knew you could get at least a percentage of these people back again?

Here’s what I’m going to be covering on this webinar:

  • The one thing that you absolutely must get right before you’ll ever get your customers to take you seriously let alone consider coming back
  • The subtle extras that can convert a luke-warm buyer or one time visitor into a raving fan
  • The quickest, simplest and most effective way to make a connection after they’ve bought or you’ve concluded your business
  • 10 simple ways to stay engaged with your customers to keep their attention way after the festive season
  • How to sustain and remain on their radar and win more sales next year

I hope you can make it.

Here’s the link again to register

Are your team ruining all your marketing efforts?

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your marketing strategy, how great your SEO, how complimentary your online reviews or how many thousands of pounds you spend on your refurbishment. At the end of the day if your customers get anything less than great service you won’t retain them and you’re back to square one.

The customer experience that you create is your single most valuable competitive advantage.

So who is responsible for ensuring your customers get a fantastic experience? We all know it’s everyone, not just front of house, but does every position get the same focus when it comes to the impact they have on customer care.

Here’s my 10 point plan to get your team fully contributing to your marketing efforts

1. Values

Define your values. What is important to you and what is important to your ideal customers (and ensure these two are in alignment or you’ll have a tough time being authentic). Then put systems and resources in place to enable everyone to live by these values.

2. Recruit

I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say recruit on attitude, but I do believe it’s key. Only recruit people who can live by your values; if what’s important to you isn’t important to your team members you will be fighting a losing battle to get them to live up to them.

3. Share

Your team need to understand your values and what these mean in practical terms – not just a list of words. Discuss your expectations; what will your team be doing as a matter of course to achieve these; what are your non-negotiables. And then ensure there are no mixed messages; you set the example.

4. Train

Train your team in the systems and framework, but leave them the freedom to work within this to show their own personality. This will not only mean they will appear more natural with your customers (we can all spot the scripted lines a mile off), but helps to build their confidence and encourages them to make decisions. If they know the result you are aiming for it allows scope for creativity too.

5. Feedback

Give regular feedback and recognition when someone has shown excellent or even good examples customer service, to encourage more of the same. Encourage your team to evaluate their own performance too, so they get into the habit of learning from their experiences – successes and mistakes – and ensure your management team give the appropriate support when needed.

6. Involve

Involve all your team in all stages of the customer journey and to look for areas to improve. It will be easier for people from a different department to look at things from a customers’ perspective, so for example if you are a hotel,  enable the kitchen team to see bedrooms and for reception to experience the restaurant (at breakfast as well as lunch and dinner) for the conferencing team the spa, housekeeping to review the website or test how easy it is to make a booking – either on or offline.

7. Strengths

Identify and capitalise on your teams’ strengths. Look for talent or skills in particular activities where individuals might have an opportunity to really shine. This builds pride in the job and a sense of responsibility. This might be something you don’t do already but that offers an opportunity to do something different or special for your customers, giving you a USP, and the team member something that helps keep them motivated.

8. Authority

Give your team the authority they need to make decisions based on their role and individual strengths. Nothing frustrates a customer more than being told by a member of staff that they don’t have the authority to make a decision or approve a simple request. Even more so when the only person who can make the decision is nowhere to be found.

9. Reward

Give your team incentives to go the extra mile with your customers and build loyalty. I’m not talk there about monetary rewards that are forgotten five minutes after they’ve been given, but things that show you really appreciate the efforts people have gone to. Sometimes a simple handwritten note from the manager or owner can make someone feel valued. Time off might be the most valuable reward you can give someone as a thank you. Or do something that’s a win win such as a visit to a sister (or competitor) site and share their observations with the rest of their team when they return. Find out what’s of value to them; not everyone will be motivated by the same incentives.

10. Inform

Keep your team informed of anything that might impact your customers in any way. What’s happening where – both within the business and locally. Knowing what’s on in your town, or traffic conditions that might affect your customer’s onward journey can make all the difference to an OK experience, and one that becomes memorable. Ask your team for their feedback too – capture customers’ feedback, any customers’ preferences to keep for future visits, suggestions on how service can be improved. Your team are much closer to your customers than you are and will see opportunities to enhance the customer experience so ask for their ideas and be prepared to act on the.


All these activities will certainly have a knock on effect on your customers’ experience, and greatly contribute to your marketing efforts.