Increase your profits while increasing your customer satisfaction

When I was 19, I got a job at a department store in the shopping mall near campus.  I worked in what they called “men’s furnishings.”  This is shirts, ties, belts, socks, etc.  I was paid hourly, but the guys who worked in the suit department next door had been there forever and worked on commission.  Whenever they sold a suit, they regularly came over to outfit their customer with all the furnishings they’d need for their new suit.  This is what we all know and love as “upselling.”

Upselling can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase your sales, and profits.  But it also accomplishes something even more important than making more money today – it increases customer satisfaction.  This may seem counterintuitive.  Many business owners are leery to upsell because they don’t want to feel pushy or “salesy.” 

Think of it this way.  Your customers come to you because they want to pay you to solve a problem for them, or make their life better in some way.  Some will just want the basics, but many will gladly trade more money for more value.  It’s important that you allow your customers to “buy up” to the level of value that they want.  When a customer chooses to buy up to the next level of value, you instantly make more profit without having to find a new customer.  If you don’t provide this chance, you could be leaving your customers with a lower level of service than they actually want, and leave them less satisfied in the process.

When I was the VP of Marketing at Quiznos, we found that customers were more satisfied when we asked them if they would like to add a chip and drink to their order even if they didn’t want the chip and drink!  Customers didn’t perceive it as upselling, they saw it as better, more engaged service.

The other day, I got my haircut.  I’ve been going to the same stylist for years.  A few months ago, I bought a bottle of expensive shampoo during my visit.  After my haircut, I realized that this bottle of shampoo was almost empty.  I was actually bummed that she hadn’t asked me if it was time for a new bottle.  She could have doubled my sale that day, and prevented me from having to run somewhere to get shampoo.  Better service, more profit, and everyone is happy.

As a professional marketing speaker, many of my clients want me to offer my Business Blueprint package after my presentation.  While they’re paying me to speak, they gladly give me the opportunity to make a special offer to their audience because they want the participants to take action on what they learned.  Rather than seeming salesy, it is an opportunity for the audience to use a step-by-step process rather than trying to do it on their own.  The client looks good because they’re able to offer my package at a discounted rate, I like it because it increases my revenue, and the audience likes it because they get additional guidance that helps them grow their business.

What can you add on the next time you make a sale?

Gerry O'Brion - Keynote Marketing & Branding Speaker


Gerry spent his career growing big brands such as Procter & Gamble, Coors Light, Quiznos, and Red Robin. Now, he translates strategies from billion dollar brands into techniques that any company can use, regardless of their budget.

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