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Up Selling - Suggestive Selling - How Effective are Your Sales People?
By Dr. Rick Johnson, CEO Strategist, LLC
Monday, 16th June 2008
Up Selling and Suggestive Selling is not only a best practice but it is essential to growth and improved profitability. More importantly, customers expect it. Let’s face it; if you let a customer order product from you that requires some other accessory and you don’t suggest it, you are doing them a disservice.

By the same token, every customer doesn’t want to buy the cheapest product on the shelf. It is your job to offer them choices. That is what up selling is all about. Offering choices and letting the customer decide after you have educated them on the value propositions.

Existing clients that you have already established relationship equity with believe in you. They already understand your personal value propositions. That means they are customers ready to buy; ready and willing to listen to you.

That means suggestive selling and up selling should be automatic. There is every possibility that they will buy more or upgraded products if you offer it to them.

Know Your Value Propositions

Being knowledgeable about all your products and each product value proposition as well as your personal and company value propositions are critical to being a total solution provider. Make no mistake, that is what customers are looking for today…. Solutions to their problems.

 Up selling and suggestive-selling the right stuff at the right time is your duty. Customers expect it. Have you ever bought something only to get it home and realize that the product with the more expensive option would have suited you better because it has features or benefits that you would have preferred? If you have, you may blame the sales person or at the very least wish he had offered you more options.

Some companies have computer systems that actually create pop-ups based on the SKU entered showing accessories that are often purchased with that particular product. Regardless, the key is having the knowledge of what options are available for each product. This knowledge is critical if you want to maximize sales and profitability.

Just Ask

One of the biggest mistakes rookie sales people make is that they forget to ask for the order. Veteran sales people rarely forget to ask for the order but some often forget to exercise suggestive selling or up selling.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to up selling or suggestive selling is that salespeople fail to ask. Maybe they lack confidence. Perhaps they aren’t trained well.  Maybe they think that they don't have the right. Perhaps they "are convinced" that the client will say, "No". Maybe they feel they would be trying to make the customer buy something they don’t need. For the most part, these are all false assumptions. The simple fact is that most salespeople quite simply just do not ask.

Yes – You will get No’s

Think about some of your retail experiences. What about the waitress that always asks if you want to order dessert? Think about the fast food people who always ask if you want to super size your order. They get a lot of "No’s" but they also get a lot of "Yeses"! Asking should become a habitual part of your sales process to. You could significantly increase your sales results and profits...

Educate Yourself on Up-Selling and Suggestive-Selling

Once you understand the benefits of up-selling and suggestive-selling,
you must educate yourself to understand when, how and why you should up-sell or suggestive-sell. These are selling strategies and techniques you must learn and practice. Make sure you fully understand your customer’s needs. Knowing the customer’s needs and how they are going to use your product will allow you to make intelligent decisions regarding up-selling and suggestive selling.  You become very intelligent about your customers needs by asking questions and learning how to listen to them.

Stick to the Basics

Everything starts with building your relationship equity. Remember, your relationship is part of your personal value proposition. Once you have established your relationship you have earned the right to ask questions and make suggestions. Your mindset and attitude are key factors. Make sure you follow best practice principles and success at up-selling and suggestive selling will be imminent.

Take the time to really understand up-selling and suggestive-selling. Recognize its power in generating much more volume and profit. These two basic selling strategies focus on helping customers solve their problems. It’s much easier to help a customer buy something than it is to sell him something.  I can almost read your thoughts, “What exactly does that mean?”  Well, it means helping a customer buy is all about helping him figure out what he really needs and what will give him the best value.  You gain his trust by offering him choices and letting him decide. – Sign up to receive “The Howl” a free monthly newsletter that addresses real world industry issues. – Straight talk about today’s issues. Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail  Don’t forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.
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