January has been a busy month of sales seminars, sales training and motivational speeches so I hadn't had any time to think what I was going to write about this week until about half an hour ago...
I was sat at my PC in my home office, tidying up some emails when one of my good friends called. It's been a while since I have spoken to him so I was delighted to hear from him. After a quick catch up we quickly focused our attentions onto setting the world to rights! He said that he has something he thought I would be interested in hearing...
This story starts with my friend's 18 year old son who is currently enjoying a gap year, getting his head down and working. He has a job in major UK supermarket and he is really enjoying it.
Based in South West London the store he is working in is busy, affluent and diverse. It's not huge but it's a decent size. They have around about 150 staff and shifts would mean that at any one time there might be 40 or more people working in the store.
Like most retailers the store chain in question are keen on their customers owning and using store cards. This creates loyalty, allows the store to compile details on personal shopping habits and group trends and, perhaps most importantly, allows them to extend credit to their customers.
And as any business who has cards like these knows, customers on credit are worth far more than those paying cash!
So back to our little store...
Like most stores they have targets and goals and their most recent "push" is on encouraging customers to sign up for more store cards. Each member of staff, whether individually or as a group, is trained to "up-sell" these cards and are then let loose on the customers. Not particularly ambitious, their target number of take ups is 4 cards per week... for the whole store.
So for the next week our young hero, despite not being on the till much of the time, asked every customer he could if they would sign up. Despite his lack of experience or formal sales training and techniques our hero signed up... 18, in one week. Now I have to admit that I have no idea how this rates or how many you or I would have signed up but it is obviously well over the target of 4 that was set for the whole store.
At the end of the week our young salesperson goes on his holidays, returning two weeks later to find out that in his absence the whole store, 150 people remember, have up-sold exactly ... zero. Zero in 2 weeks. So what do we learn from this?
- Up-selling and cross-selling to existing clients is critical if you want to sell more and make more money.
Clients who have already bought off you, who are in a buying mood and who believe in and see value in what you do are great prospects for up-selling and cross-selling. There is every possibility that they will buy something else if you make it known to them.
I remember as a young salesman one of my best clients buying something off someone else. I rang him to ask why he had not bought from me and he told me that he would have but that he was unaware that I could help in this area! Ouch! I never made that mistake again!
- Know what you can up-sell and cross-sell.
Up to date knowledge of what you can up-sell is critical. Up-selling the wrong or irrelevant products or services will just alienate your clients. Up-selling and cross-selling the right stuff at the right time is your duty. How many times have you bought something only to get it home and realize that you wish you had bought the more expensive option because it has features or benefits that you would have preferred. If only the salesperson had told you about it!
A reader rang me yesterday to tell me that he was running a short training session on up-selling. The first thing that he had done was outline for his team all of the options they had for up-selling and how these would benefit the client. This knowledge is critical if you want to maximize your sales.
- Make sure that you ask.
Perhaps the biggest block to up-selling is that salespeople do not ask. Maybe they feel scared. Perhaps they feel cheeky. Maybe they think that they don't have the right. Perhaps they "already know" that the client will say, "No".
Whatever! The biggest problem with up-selling, as with asking for referrals, is that most salespeople quite simply just do not ask.
Call it the McDonalds affect if you like... you have to ask! They up-sell on everything and they get a lot of "Nos" but they also get a lot of "Yeses"! You need to make just asking part of your sales process too. You could significantly increase your sales results over night.
Yesterday morning I met my sister and her kids in the afternoon. I only wanted a cup of tea. As I ordered the woman said, "I've just baked some home-made scones. They're still warm. Can you smell them? Would you like one whilst they're still warm?"
"Yes please". An easy sale!
- Learn how to "ask" properly.
Once you know the benefits of up-selling and cross-selling, know what to up-sell and commit to asking you need to improve your up-selling techniques. McDonalds ask if you want a bigger drink or fries but they have no idea whether you are thirsty or hungry or neither. That's fine in Mcdonalds, they don't have the time but you do. And you have the relationships to do this too.
As you are selling ask questions that uncover the need for an up-sale. They needn't be complex but they do make a huge difference to the relevancy of your up-sell and the final result.
When booking keynotes I don't just suggest that people buy the books or audios as well, I ask a few questions first to identify what exactly is needed and how it would add benefit for my client.
- Keep it simple.
I've said it before and I will say it again but 80% of selling is about turning up, maintaining the right attitude and playing the game.
Many salespeople walk in to my seminars and demand the advanced stuff because they are so experienced yet, when you follow them around, they have forgotten or are not doing many sales basics.Without the basics you are screwed!
My friend's son may not know the intricacies of selling yet. He may not have the skills or the experience. He may not be as subtle, as sophisticated nor as cunning as his more experienced friends yet. But subtlety, experience and cunning are no substitute for action and if he keeps on taking action he will outsell his more established but less proactive peers.