Want some more All you have to do is up sell

October 4, 2010
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Walking through Seattle’s Pike Place Market (where the inspiration for the book “FISH!” came from and the location of the original Starbucks), I couldn’t resist the Queen Anne cherries — huge and just picked.

“Give me a half a pound,” I said with positive anticipation of eating them as I walked around. The young woman running the fruit stand obliged and weighed them. Then she showed me the inside of the paper sack, 25 percent full of cherries.

“Are you sure that’s enough?”

Startled at her question, I smiled and said, “Make it a pound!”

She smiled, complied and showed me the now half-full bag. Her eyes were locked between my eyes and the bag. She kept jiggling the bag, looking at it, showing it to me and looking right at me.

I knew what was coming and was thinking about my answer when she asked again, “Are you sure that’s enough?”

“Make it a pound and a half,” I said as I smiled.

“How about an even two pounds and a few extra on the house?” she shot back without taking a breath between my answer and her offer.

“Deal!” I said.

She put the two pounds in one bag and my lagniappe in a separate bag so I could see (and eat) my “extra.”

I loved the exchange. I love being sold. And I loved the way she up-sold me. “Are you sure that’s enough?” Simple, yet powerful. I walked away smiling and eating.

After about 10 minutes, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I HAD to go back to the cherry stand and find out more. I waited for one customer to pay, and then I anxiously said, “I couldn’t help but ask about your line, ‘Are you sure that’s enough?’ It’s a very powerful up-line. How often do you ask it?”

“I ask every customer, every time.” Wow!

It was a great line delivered by a shrewd saleswoman at a hole-in-the-wall fruit cart: low overhead, high profit, fueled by up-sell. Great product. Simple to sell. Followed by a second sales process to sell more.

The up-sell — or should I say the science of the up-sell — is all-important as it relates to volume and profit — especially in these times. Business is down, but not the cherry business. No one told her the economy is in the crapper, or she just ignored it.

Think about the emotional appeal that this woman gave me to entice me to take more money out of my pocket. Brilliant.

Nice story, huh? Now it gets ugly.

Your sales are down. You still have customers buying from you, but not as many and not as much. In these times especially, after you have completed a sale, you have to ask yourself these two words: “What else?” And after you discover what else, you have to figure out the emotional appeal that will add on to your sale.

Here are the hard questions:

What percentage of customers buy 100 percent of your existing product line?

What are you asking of your customers after you have completed the sale?

What are your strategies to maximize the size (dollar amount) of your sales?

What is your emotional appeal for more or greater sales?

How consistent are you in asking for more business?

What are your opportunities? Or should I say lost or missed opportunities?

What could you change about your presentation that will begin to show what other great items your customer might consider?

Answer those, and you’re on your way to creating up-sell opportunities!

I’m lucky. In 1974, my dad — the late, great Max Gitomer — taught me the secret of up-selling. He said, “Son, when their wallet’s open — empty it.”

Simple wisdom is often the most powerful.

“Are you sure that’s enough?” has created a whole new thought process for me, and I hope it spurs a few ideas for you.

Free Git-Bit: There are a hundred small businesses at Pike Place Market. One peach seller was attracting customers with unusual signs. If you want to see my photographs of the signs, go to www.gitomer.com and enter the word PEACHES in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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