At the end of every sale, the fast-food worker behind the counter is trained to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” Sales and marketing experts will tell you that the client who just agreed to buy something from you is the one most likely to make additional purchases. Studies show our odds of closing a sale with an existing client are greater than if you were pitching to a new prospect. Add-on sales are the simplest and least costly sales to generate.
Some sales just naturally generate others in a domino effect. One need met makes other need apparent. New furniture can make an old window treatment seem dated and unattractive. A recently purchased sofa looks bare without toss pillows. The new window shades need valances to complete the look. Whatever you sold initially, there is always room for add-ons.
THE ODDS ARE WITH YOU
Some salespeople are reluctant to suggest additional purchases for fear of seeming pushy or going for the hard sell. But because most of today’s clients don’t even have enough discretionary time to get a good night’s sleep, they are hungry for whatever saves them time and energy. The ability to get a number of things taken care of at one location is very attractive to customers.
That fast-food restaurant may not succeed in selling fries to everyone who places an order, but the percentage willing to buy is certainly increased by asking the question and making the suggestion. Furthermore, no additional overhead is incurred to make these sales. If your add-on suggestions are accepted only part of the time, your revenue will go up.
Clients don’t know what you can do for them unless you tell then. If you hear, “Gee, I didn’t know you did that,” you are missing many add-on opportunities. If the client came in for window treatments and you also make custom bedding and accessories, make sure to mention that. Even if you sell only one item, such as wallpaper, you can always suggest doing additional rooms.
One of the best ways to form a long-lasting relationship with your
clients is to anticipate their future needs. All home furnishings
have a lifespan and eventually will need to be replaced. Create
a timeline for your clients and anticipate their future needs. Keep
a follow-up file and call your clients when they should be ready
Sometimes we ignore obvious cues provided by the customer regarding
special occasions coming up such as showers, weddings and birthdays.
Why not suggest a gift certificate for design help or for specific
items you can provide? These services may have nothing to do with
what initially brought the customer to you in the first place.
Perhaps a buyer has indicated she will be doing other work later. This is an opportunity to suggest that all the fabrics be coordinated and purchased now to avoid possible future drops, discontinued lines or price increases. The labor can be contracted when she is ready to move forward. Offer to store the fabrics for her until she is ready to proceed.
You can increase add on sales by setting up a referral system with other businesses. If you do window coverings and don’t do custom bedding, find someone who does and set up a reciprocal service. Some companies pay finder’s fees to referral sources without increasing the cost to the prospective buyer. They can do this because there are no advertising or other costs associated with these leads.
ANTICIPATE CLIENT NEEDS
You will gain more than added revenue with an add-on sales program. By providing your clients with additional information and interior solutions, you improve your customer relations. Increasing volume while maintaining the same client base gives you more time to pursue new leads or just do a better job of quality control on existing orders.
People who spend more often are proud of their acquisitions and are likely to tell friends and relatives, generating further interest from new people. Buyers of limited means are more price-sensitive and less likely to talk to other people about what they purchased.
We are moving from an industrial mass production economy to one
based on specialized knowledge and services. The future belongs
to companies that can solve consumer needs with information and
wise solutions. Anticipate your clients’ needs and desires
and, of course, don’t forget the fries!
Ellen Milner is the showroom manager for Valley Interiors & Design Center, Phoenix, AZ.