How to Give Yourself a Quick and Easy Raise

“There are two reasons why customers don’t buy more product from you:


sales skills: make more money byn upselling

Photo by thinglass/dpc

A few days ago I got an email from Terry Douglas, who reads my “Sales Doctor” column in Paint Dealer/Paint Contractor Magazine. Terry sells a product called Envirobrush — a paint brush with replaceable bristles.

He lamented the lack of upselling at the dealer level:

Many dealers are missing out on profitable sales because they do not try to sell sundry items. Many years ago I had a paint store with a talented lady who paid her wages on the extra profit earned by her sales of paint sundries.

It reminded me of a story from my distant past — a sales lesson I never forgot:

My First Upsell: A Sales Skills Acquisition Story

Long ago and far away, I worked for a record store — Everybody’s Records, Tapes, and Video, to be exact. My long-haired, bearded colleagues and I stood behind the counter and rang up sales on the cash register when people approached. Occasionally, we directed customers to the Grateful Dead section.

It didn’t pay well, but we didn’t work all that hard, either.

One day our manager told us that Corporate wanted us to sell more accessories — in particular, record cleaners. A record cleaner, for you youngsters, was a brush that would clean the dirt off a record before we played it.

record brush for upselling

Photo from Stocksnapper /dpc

Corporate wanted us to offer a record cleaner to each customer as they made their purchase.

Our initial reaction was negative — we weren’t going to let THE MAN tell us how to act behind the counter. But I got curious, and wondered what would happen if I tried it.

One day a woman walked up and laid an Al Jarreau album on the counter. I steeled myself, and spoke.

Me: Do you need a record cleaner to go with that?

Her: What’s a record cleaner?

I took one out of the box and showed her how it worked. She bought it, more than doubling the $7.99 transaction.

She bought it! 

I was so excited I asked the next patron. He declined. The one after that told me to shut up and bag his album. But the next one bought one.

Over time, I learned that one out of every four or five customers would buy a record cleaner — but only if I asked.

Terry Douglas of EnviroBrush concurs. People buy his product when someone shows it to them… sometimes even if they don’t have an immediate need.

Dealers report that when a customer replies that they do not require a paint brush with their paint purchase about 50% buy when shown the Envirobrush.  We even have consumers buying even when they are not painting yet.

If you sell on commission, the fastest way to give yourself a raise is by selling more to the folks who are already buying from you. You’ve already sold them on you, and on your station — all you have to do is convince them to buy one more thing.

When I sold radio, I  found that many customers — not all, but many — would consider an additional purchase priced at around 10% of what they’d just agreed to buy.

How can this work for you? A $5,000 per month radio or television schedule could easily be supplemented by an additional $500 per month digital plan.

If the relationship  is  already “tradigital” — your client is already using your traditional and online tools — you might enhance the plan by adding one more show to the mix.

“After all the toil and trouble to get to the target market, we do nothing more to leverage it. Here you are, finally, one-to-one with your target market and you do nothing more with it. In that call you have any number of opportunities to maximize the relationship.” Jim Domanski, Add-On Selling: How to Squeeze Every Last Ounce of Sales Potential From Your Calls

There’s money to  be made in add-on selling, but only if you ask.

Can you ask?

Will you?

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