Business Tip of the Day: Suggestive Selling - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Go Back   Homesteading Today > Country Living Forums > Work-at-Home Business

Work-at-Home Business Home-based business forum


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 10/12/08, 12:51 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,193
Business Tip of the Day: Suggestive Selling

Suggestive selling, huh?

"Isn't that the annoying stuff that you hear everytime you stop in a fast food place?"

"Want fries with that?"

"Would you like to try our Dupple-stupple grilled big beef chipolte chili buritos today?"

"Would you like to add our new coffee flavored milkshake to your order?"

We have all been annoyed and pestered at one time by these suggestive selling techniques, and why does corporate America keep forcing their employees to ask us such questions?

The answer is that suggestive selling works, and adds huge profits to the bottom line.

While corporations often get the forced delivery of suggestive selling wrong by mandating its use by every cashier, every time, suggestive selling in its best form can create a better customer experience.

Let me give you some examples of suggestive selling:

Years ago, I was employed by Foot Locker, the nationwide retailer of athletic shoes. We were paid a meager base salary plus commissions on what we sold. At the time, shoe commissions were 2%, jackets were 5% but accessory sales were 10%, if I remember correctly. These accessories included socks, and I quickly learned that socks were GREAT sellers, and could boost my income.

It has been years ago, but I think that selling the bag of socks paid about $1.10 for each bag I sold. I am still surprised how many people that said "Yes" or "Give me 2 bags" when I suggested "We sell socks in ankle, crew, and tube. I learned quickly to suggest socks to every customer that tried on a pair of shoes, and effectively added another $25 a week, or $1300 a year, on average, to my income.

A friend of mine owns an auto parts store, and is a pro at suggestive selling. He says that suggesting adds at least 10% to 15%, to his bottom line. His secret is to suggest items that customers actually need, like gasket sealant when gaskets are purchased, gaskets when certain parts are ordered, spark plugs when plug wires are bought, and replacement belts when an engine accessory is bought. It is amazing to stand at the counter, and hear "Yeah, that is a good idea, add it to the bill" again and again, sale after sale.

The great thing about how he suggests additional parts actually enhances the customer's buying experience because it is percieved as being helpful.

I always tried to suggestive sell in the printing business because it was advantageous to my customers, while securing new orders for my business. "Since we will have your ink color on the press, can I go ahead and run your #9 envelopes at the same time?" or "I can give you a better price if you up the order by 13 more t-shirts." When showing the customer how to save money by increasing the order, I would say that over 80% of the time, the answer was "Yes".

I think it is important to suggestive sell any time you have the opportunity. It often helps the customer find new products that you have. It helps teach the customer about what you sell, and how you can be a resource for them. Suggestive selling also aids the customer in finding bargains and reduced prices on your merchandise. Suggestive selling will often create customer loyalty, especially when they learn that you carry a certain product, or have specific knowledge that can help them.

When delivered poorly, suggestive selling can be a major turn off to buyers.

Knowing that each customer has different wants and needs is a key to suggestive selling. Some people are looking for bargains, some are looking for needs, some are buying for the experience, some are looking for convenience, and so on. Learning how to suggestive sell to each individual, on an individual basis, will equal success at the cash register.

Don't forget the positive impact this can have on your sales, stock on hand, cash flow, and ultimately your earnings as take home pay.

Who wouldn't want an immediate wage increase of 10% or more?

In simple terms, if you could create an additional 10%, and often more, in sales, how much more would you earn each week? Month? Year?

And just think...suggestive selling is basically free, and takes just a few seconds to offer. It is probably the cheapest advertising you will ever use.

Are you serving your customer by opening a dialogue and suggestive selling, each and every time they contact you for business?

Clove

__________________

Last edited by clovis; 10/12/08 at 12:55 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10/12/08, 02:01 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,193

Please leave comments, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, etc.

My business tip is not supposed to be percieved as a one sided business lecture, but as a way to encourage a thoughtful exchange of ideas that will help sustain the businesses we own and the incomes we draw.

Clove

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10/12/08, 02:17 AM
MawKettle's Avatar
What can I screw up 2day?
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Green Acres
Posts: 288

Clovis - excellent essay, and very appropriate.....

Regardless of whatever business we might all be in, suggestive selling is (IMHO) appropriate - just don't be obnoxious about it.....(I HATE obnoxious sales people.........my little pet peeve).

I liked your example about the envelopes....I do the same thing with my products, if someone calls and orders a nameplate...I make sure to ask if they need a holder for it...9 times out of 10, they do. If they're ordering name badges, I inquire about whether or not they need nameplates as well....I always phrase it as a "well...as long as were doing this for you, do you use, or have you thought about using [blah blah blah] as well?"

It sometimes takes a bit of creativity to find an opening for that type of inquiry...but I like to think that being creative is what being in business for yourself is all about.....

__________________

Jill
---
"Farming asks everything of you eventually. But first it gives you time to fall in love." Arlo Crawford

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10/12/08, 02:15 PM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
More dharma, less drama.
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
Posts: 30,222

As a rental property owner who is trying to do as much repair as possible, I *really* appreciate when a retailer talks me through the process and brainstorms what else I'm going to need to do a project.

Saves me round trips to get things that I needed in the first place but didn't know about.

__________________

Alice
* * *
"No great thing is created suddenly." ~Epictitus

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10/12/08, 04:49 PM
katlupe's Avatar
Off-The-Grid Homesteader
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 2,216

clovis, the post office always does that. After you get your transaction almost done, they always ask if you need stamps or anything else with that before they ring it up. Works too! Many websites have at the bottom a little banner that other customers who purchased what you just purchased, also bought these items.

Sometimes people meant to buy something and forgot and maybe what you have at the bottom will remind them to buy it right now.

katlupe

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10/12/08, 05:03 PM
Beaners's Avatar
Incubator Addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Greensburg, PA
Posts: 3,111

There is also the "Sullivan Nod" that goes hand in hand with suggestive selling. As you are suggesting something, slowly nod your head up and down. Don't look like a bobblehead or anything, just raise and lower your head slightly while you're talking.

(The things you learn while bartending.)

Kayleigh

__________________
http://kayleighjeanne.blogspot.com
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10/12/08, 05:12 PM
sisterpine's Avatar
Goshen Farm- Cochise, AZ.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Cochise, AZ
Posts: 5,621

I always practiced the policy of "yes" If I can say to a customer something that they agree with ie; lovely fall weather "yes it is", then are you and the gang out doing fall cleanup? "yes we are", then you know this necklace would go great with the color of your eyes...do you wear green tops? "why yes is do, and yes that necklace is beautiful" then I can offer you a great price on both the necklace and matching earrings would you be interested....yada yada yada.

I am as far from being a salesperson as it is humanly possible to be but I learned this during detective training when i was on the force...it works really well when you want someone to confess too! sis

__________________
www.MontanaSticksAndStones.com at Goshen Farm
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10/14/08, 05:39 AM
gunsmithgirl's Avatar
Missin Sweet Home Alabama
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 877

I will admit that I am just a horrible sales person. On days that DH is in the shop he can always add to a customers order using suggestive selling methods. For example, we had a customer bring in a shotgun to get new sights installed. Well he had cut about 2" off his barrel and shortened it at one time. DH sees it and says would you like us to clean this up and crown it for you while we have the gun? And turns a $25 job in to a $65 job.
I think I am just afraid of annoying people, I know it annoys me when I go somewhere and someone is always trying to get you to buy more.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10/14/08, 07:15 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,017

I am a terrible sales person as well and probably worse at selling my own work than anything else.

My friend ... and for years, business partner ... has been in retail sales one way or another all of her adult life and is a wonderful sales person. It worked really well that way at the booth when we were doing that. I sat on a stool in the corner and drew pictures ... she talked to the customers and told them how difficult it was and how careful I had to be and how detailed and accurate I insisted my work be ...

And oddly enough, it was very rare that the piece I was working on at that show didn't sell ... there were always people coming back for a "quick look" at how it was progressing and almost always someone just had to have that particular piece that they'd seen me working on.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10/14/08, 09:39 AM
Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: VT
Posts: 3,736

"Sales" has a negative connotation to it for many of the people who are actually paid to do it. If you've got this issue with "sales," which has come to mean "extract as much cash as possible from the customer" you're not thinking long term, you're thinking short term, and the issue isn't with the customer, it is with you.

People LIKE being helped by experts. People LIKE having things they're not familiar with explained to them. People DO NOT LIKE getting home and discovering that a feature was available they didn't get because the sales person didn't tell them about it (in our case the winter package for a vehicle for example). Or that they have to go back to the store because something that should have been obvious to the person working in the store wasn't so obvious to the layman.

I used to work in sporting goods, and if I was selling you a new jacket I was also talking to you about layering systems. I was asking you about your goggles. I wanted to hear all about your cold feet, because what's the point of having your chest nice and toasty if your feet are freezing off and you have to go inside anyway? I want to hear about your woes with your daughter and how her little hands get cold. Because I've got an entire battle array of products to deal with these issues... from the wildly expensive to the really cheap.

Yes, at the register your bill may come to rather more than expected, but when you walk out the door you should be thinking "cool... I got what I needed."

Anything less and you haven't done your job as a salesman.

__________________

Icelandic Sheep and German Angora Rabbits

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10/14/08, 11:56 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by gunsmithgirl View Post
I will admit that I am just a horrible sales person. On days that DH is in the shop he can always add to a customers order using suggestive selling methods. For example, we had a customer bring in a shotgun to get new sights installed. Well he had cut about 2" off his barrel and shortened it at one time. DH sees it and says would you like us to clean this up and crown it for you while we have the gun? And turns a $25 job in to a $65 job.
I think I am just afraid of annoying people, I know it annoys me when I go somewhere and someone is always trying to get you to buy more.
Don't ever be afraid of helping people!!!! Now if you are trying to pressure me into buying a double flavored Slurpee in your gun shop, I am probably going to be annoyed.

On the other hand, if you just teach me about all the different sights that you can put on a deer rifle, and show me how it could benefit me if I have poor eyesight, or have trouble seeing in the pre-dawn minutes, I am going to think pretty hard about upgrading to the next sight.

Remember that the customer usually likes to be educated. Even if they come in for a box of shells, I would encourage you to say something like "We are now offering _______, just in case you ever need them."

Often, suggestive selling is simply opening a dialogue with the customer, to learn how you can help and serve them better. Just ask a few questions, and keep their interests as first priority.

Clove
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10/14/08, 12:01 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorrisonCorner View Post
"Sales" has a negative connotation to it for many of the people who are actually paid to do it. If you've got this issue with "sales," which has come to mean "extract as much cash as possible from the customer" you're not thinking long term, you're thinking short term, and the issue isn't with the customer, it is with you.

People LIKE being helped by experts. People LIKE having things they're not familiar with explained to them. People DO NOT LIKE getting home and discovering that a feature was available they didn't get because the sales person didn't tell them about it (in our case the winter package for a vehicle for example). Or that they have to go back to the store because something that should have been obvious to the person working in the store wasn't so obvious to the layman.

I used to work in sporting goods, and if I was selling you a new jacket I was also talking to you about layering systems. I was asking you about your goggles. I wanted to hear all about your cold feet, because what's the point of having your chest nice and toasty if your feet are freezing off and you have to go inside anyway? I want to hear about your woes with your daughter and how her little hands get cold. Because I've got an entire battle array of products to deal with these issues... from the wildly expensive to the really cheap.

Yes, at the register your bill may come to rather more than expected, but when you walk out the door you should be thinking "cool... I got what I needed."

Anything less and you haven't done your job as a salesman.
Excellent post MC!!!!!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10/15/08, 02:17 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,832

This even works for regular old groceries. When someone asks me where to find a given item, I make sure and talk with them while I walk them over. If they're talking breakfast, I'm pointing them to the eggs they asked for, and pointing out that they'll find bacon in the next cooler, bread up closer to the door, and coffee on the shelf over there.

I've also found that a simple "did you find everything you needed?" works extremely well. About half the time, the answer is "actually, I was looking for x." That gives me the chance to point them to the item, or sell them the map with the place they're looking for. If we don't have the item, I'll let them know who does and thank them for coming in.

Think repeat sales. If you make one sale, but the customer walks out feeling like they were pushed or ignored, you've lost them. If they walk out happy, with the info they needed (even if they didn't buy anything), you're the first place they'll think of when they do need something you sell. And they'll tell other people about the "nice store you really need to stop into."

Know what else works? (at least in the grocery business) Giving away recipes. After seeing several people over the year puzzle over what to do with winter squash or kale, I started plopping a little pile of recipes featuring those veggies in the produce section. Not only do people buy the squash, they buy the other ingredients, plus other stuff to go with the meal. We do this in the bulk foods as well - give people an idea of what to do with quinoa, and they're more than happy to get some, plus the other ingredients. The customers are happy, and you sell more - it's a true win / win.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10/15/08, 07:17 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 72

What a great bunch of posts! I'm an awful salesperson, at least when it comes to my artwork. I always feel guilty charging for it (I guess it comes from my hippie upbringing). I am a pretty good salesperson at my "day job", but then, if someone has a problem selling chocolate, they shouldn't be selling anything, lol. I've decided that at the next show I go to I'm going to let people know that if they buy more than one item, they get a discount, and more than 5 items gets an even better discount, etc. Has anyone else done this with success?

Marcy

__________________
www.followtheredbrickrd.etsy.com
Handmade Artisan Jewelry
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10/15/08, 07:32 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 4,275

And I thought this was going to be about slipping my shirt off one shoulder, winking provocatively and closing the deal - you know, suggestive selling.

Kinda disappointing to find out is was just add on sales.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10/15/08, 08:05 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laci View Post
What a great bunch of posts! I'm an awful salesperson, at least when it comes to my artwork. I always feel guilty charging for it (I guess it comes from my hippie upbringing). I am a pretty good salesperson at my "day job", but then, if someone has a problem selling chocolate, they shouldn't be selling anything, lol. I've decided that at the next show I go to I'm going to let people know that if they buy more than one item, they get a discount, and more than 5 items gets an even better discount, etc. Has anyone else done this with success?

Marcy
The only "discount" thing that I've ever tried ... and I couldn't do it effectively but my professional salesperson friend did it very well ... was to sell a "grouping".

In fact she insisted I do several loosely related pieces, in different sizes, but with the same framing and mats. We then arranged these in different ways ... big picture in center with two smaller ones on each side ... big center painting with three smaller ones below ... and had photos of those groupings.

Several times we ended up selling a "wall treatment" ... not just "artwork" ... a couple of times a bigger painting of a particular breed of dog, doing what it was bred to do, with several "cute puppy" images to go with it. Another grouping that seemed to work well was unicorns or carousel horses.

I didn't do florals ... or landscapes ... but I suspect they would work just as well with the same kind of thing. If you had a partner that did other types of work ... crafts of some kind, maybe ... I would think you might be able to incorporate not only your artwork ... painting of a "country stilllife" with old pottery and a basket of apples ... with two smaller paintings of old crocks ... and if your partner did pottery or baskets ... a shelf with one or two pots or baskets.

With groupings like this, I would think a discount would help sell ... and around the holidays, I would think that you could try a discount for several "gift items" ...

Chuckled at the mention of hippie upbringing making you feel guilty for charging for your artwork ... I don't necessarily feel guilty for charging but I never am comfortable charging what I should for my art. What I can't help feeling guilty about is that I ENJOY doing it so much ... and it seems so easy to me ... I feel like I shouldn't get paid that much for doing it.

My professional salesperson friend (and business partner) used to grab me between customers, after I'd made an inadvisable comment about how easy it was for me, sit me on my stool in the corner and tell me to DRAW and NOT OPEN MY MOUTH!
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10/16/08, 06:44 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: WV
Posts: 426

Great tip! I use suggestive selling all the time.

When I sell a piece of china or glass at a flea market, I often point out matching or complementary items that often times the customer overlooked. If I sell a movie or CD, I point out other titles by the same artist/actor. With the surplus, I keep a clear organizer box full of extra buckles, snaps, buttons, etc and often sell a few for spares.

Maggie

__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:36 AM.