Food for Thought: Secrets of Up$elling, Part One

dollarI teach caterers how to upsell. I am now going to let you know what I teach them so you will know when you are being upsold. And, hopefully, you will be able to adapt the principles to your own business.

There are just 4 ways to grow your business:

  1. Increase the number of clients
  2. Increase the frequency with which they deal with you.
  3. Increase the average value of the sales transaction.
  4. Improve the effectiveness of the processes in your meeting, hotel, etc.

Upselling is addressing the third way, increasing the value of the sales transaction. Fast food is an example when they ask, “Do you want fries with that?”

If you and your staff aren’t trained on effective ways to upsell, chances are you either offend potential clients by being too pushy or leave money on the table that clients would have willingly spent with you. Either option is costly.

Upselling is when you help a client decide to buy a little extra or “up-grade” the final purchase slightly. The bonus is that upselling can be extremely profitable for you as the sales person and for your facility.

Upselling usually takes place after the initial sale has been made. At this point, upselling should be easy:

  • The major purchase has been made
  • Rapport has already been established
  • You have identified their needs
  • You have presented benefits
  • You have handled objections
  • Upselling, then, is just “by the way”

The 3 biggest mistakes in upselling:

  • No attempt is made to upsell.
  • The salesperson comes across as being pushy
  • The upselling pitch is made in an unconvincing manner so the client generally refuses

The wrong way to upsell:

  • You are at a restaurant and just finished a big meal
  • The server asks, “Would you care for dessert?”
  •  If you say “Yes,” you might give the impression of overindulging, so many customers refuse out of habit. Result - no sale

The right way to upsell:

  • The savvy server doesn’t ask if the member wants dessert
  • The professional assumes that when people go out for a meal they are treating themselves (of course they’ll want to treat themselves to dessert)
  • In this case, the server pulls up the dessert tray and says: “To finish off your meal with a little something sweet (that’s the benefit) I brought the dessert tray over for you. Would you like to hear about the most popular ones?” (asks permission to proceed)
  • When the client agrees to hear about the desserts the server doesn’t just list them by name; he describes their benefits. Instead of saying, “This is chocolate mousse,” he’d say something like, “If you like chocolate you’ll love this. We’ve got a chocolate mousse that melts in your mouth.”

Profits come when you get the client to purchase:

  • Additional items
  • Bigger items
  • Better items
  • More expensive items
  • Additional services

Don’t get greedy:

  • Upgrade slightly
  • Do not be pushy
  • Know the value of your products.
  • Develop new options

Catering is more than just selling food! It is about creating a special experience by coordinating food and beverage with decor, ambiance, presentation, service style and entertainment.  Each area is an upsell opportunity.

How can these lessons be applied to YOUR business?

Photo: Timo Heuer via Flickr

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