One way to grow your sales is to increase the spend of each of your customers, be that on each occasion they visit or buy from you, or through repeat business. 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 drum kit 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.
So instead of thinking “upsell” think in terms of “adding value”.
Sometimes this will lead to an extra sale, but as long as it as it adds value for the customer they are unlikely to mind you making a suggestion.
Three easy ways we can add value:
- Pre-empt typical questions or problems our customers need solving. Think about what they might want or need, offer alternatives and suggestions for offers and deals that might complement what they’ve ordered
- Make personal recommendations: customers love getting the insider or local knowledge based on your experience and what fits their situation or tastes
- Remember them and their preferences
Adding value is not just about the potential sale today; it’s about giving the customer a better all round experience. It might simply be exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of.
It’s a longer term strategy which could lead to additional business at a later date.
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 those batteries are a logical purchase if you’re buying a toy that runs on batteries).
- At theatres – a programme for tonight’s performance, an interval drink, limited edition souvenirs
- For salons – when being pampered 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
- Gift items or jewellery – optional gift wrapping, gift cards
- Visitor 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 – premium beers, tapas, home-made cakes 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 a customer is buying 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.
Even if you can’t offer all these yourself can you team up with other local businesses to make everything nice and easy for your customers?
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 why this might be a good idea for them.
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.
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….