If there were $1, $10, $100, $1,000, even $10,000 sitting on the counter of your business, would you leave it there and walk away?
Of course not!
But that’s exactly what you’re doing if you don’t say these six simple words:
They’re the same six words McDonald’s uses to scale its business and sell 9 million pounds of fries every day. But McDonald’s just doesn’t stop at asking their customers if they want fries; they continually take it one step further by asking if they want a drink or make it a larger size. These incremental sales do wonders in helping them boost their bottom line and contributed to the more than $6 billion in revenue the company made last year.
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What if you were to ask this question to your customers, clients and patients – changing fries for whatever products or services you sell? Would it add immediate dollars to your bottom line? Absolutely.
Then why are so many small business owners leaving money on the table?
I was speaking at an event in Indianapolis and had to check out the small-business scene. After all, I am the Small Biz Marketing Specialist. Walking around the city, I came across a women’s clothing boutique.
The window display had an eclectic mix of fun/casual clothing, footwear and several collectibles. It caught my attention and made the grade enough for me to want to see more. I entered the store.
I was greeted by a woman who was wearing a brightly embroidered jacket with jeans similar to the ones I had noticed in the window. She said, “Welcome. Is this your first time visiting Marigold?” I told her it was.
“I noticed you were looking at the jeans. They’re all handmade. Would you like me to show you the collection?” She proceeded to walk over to the are as she told me a few facts about the designer. She asked if I was from Indianapolis, and I told her I was in town from Washington, DC for business. She mentioned she and her husband had lived there for a brief time but ended up in Indianapolis for her husband’s career.
“These jeans are our most popular item in the store,” she said. I replied, “Cool buttons” as I casually noticed the price and then exclaimed, “but I’m never going to pay that much for jeans.”
“Try them on,” she said. I countered. “I don’t care if they feel great. I am not going to buy them. That’s an outrageous price, they’re just cotton.”
She persisted with a bit of a laugh. “Try them on. I have clients who have many pairs; they live in these jeans. They’re for when you want to dress up a bit with a nice jacket and don’t want to wear loose-fitting granny jeans.”
I then told her I did want something I could wear for both business and pleasure. But again, I stated firmly, “I didn’t come here to buy a pair of jeans.”
“Try them on. The fit is everything. What size do you take? They run a bit snug.” As she finished, she picked out a dark stone color in my size. “This color will go with more,” she said as she handed them to me to feel. She brought me to the fitting room and said, “I’ll be back.”
Before I even looked in the mirror, I liked the fit. As I came out, she said, “Don’t they fit well?” I had to agree.
“Would you like to see how it looks with this white button-down blouse?”
I put it on. Wow, I’m starting to look good.
“You wear it well,” se said. “Would you like to try this embroidered jacket with it?”
“I love all of it,” she said, then added, “How long are you in town?” I replied, “Just until tomorrow. I wish I had more time to meet small business owners here.”
Cathy introduced herself by name at that point, only to find out I a the Small Biz Marketing Specialist. We chatted some more as she told me of great small/local businesses in the area to check out before I left. Two minutes later we were exchanging business cards.
“You pay at the front. How about I give you a brief tour of the Main Street area here?” I replied, “Absolutely.”
A few hours later, I received a personal email thanking me for my purchase along with Cathy’s picture and the ability to contact her below. A few days later, I received a handwritten card with an Indianapolis magnet and coupon code to order online. Very impressive followup that made me feel a very strong connection to this small business.
Now I know many people could read this as, Well, what do you expect at a women’s boutique? I can tell you, I expect a lot and most fail miserably . . . miserably just like the legendary department store.
But here’s my point of sharing this with you today . . .
Any small business owner could do the same as Cathy . . . if they wanted to.
The problem is, most don’t. If they did, they would look at their sales scripting and make sure they’re asking figuratively of course, “Would you like fries with that?” I walked into a business I had never heard of before, wasn’t interested in buying anything, yet spent more than I ever would have – and a totally thrilled with my purchase – because the salesperson, in essence, asked me those six simple words.
As a small business owner, you too can take advantage of this very easy way to increase your profits, all without raising your prices or going out and finding a new customer, client or patient. The bump, upsell or cross-sell are ways of expanding the existing purchase of someone who is already in a buying mentality.
If the idea of upselling makes you uncomfortable, remember that your goal is never to pressure your customer, client or patient into unwanted services, or to make them spend money irresponsibly. At the same time, be mindful of this: It’s not their job to know everything you do or offer. It’s your job to advise them on what additional steps they can take to enhance their purchase/experience, and the bump is a great way to offer them added results.
This is how you can put a process in place to ask those six simple words:
Be curious about strangers. Starting from the moment Cathy saw me, she wanted to make a connection. Why it works: By seeking connection with a stranger, she built rapport long before trying to present the merchandise. This provided her the ability to later insist on my trying on the clothes.
Find a connection. Her simple sharing that she lived in Washington, D.C., too, made her feel familiar to me. Why it works: We trust people when we discover things in common.
Use analogies. Her image of loose fitting jeans worn by grandma versus the fit in these made it easy to understand what a fashionable woman’s wardrobe shouldn’t look like. Why it works: Painting word pictures with familiar items helps the customer see the benefits, not just hear them.
Don’t take no for an answer – in a good way. As much as I said I’d never buy them, she persisted in getting me to the dressing room. Why it works: Seventy percent of buying decisions are made in the fitting room. It’s a fine line between pushy and determined. I’ll go for determined any day or your shoppers never give your merchandise the chance to change their lives. Find a way to get them to engage with your product or service. Think how a car dealership gets you to take a test drive.
Go for the add-on. After I had agreed on the jeans, she suggested a blouse, then a jacket. Why it works: Once a customer says yes to the main purchase, it is much easier to get them to consider a second.
Also notice . . .
Too many salespeople work their sales scripting too hard and strive to get someone’s name as soon as they can so they can own the shopper.
Cathy didn’t get my name until after I had tried on the jeans. She offered hers after she built trust, and building trust is really important to not come off as a pushy used-car salesperson.
As we finished our time together, I remarked how customer service at her level was so rare. Cathy interjected, “It all comes down to training. If you don’t constantly train your crew how to engage people, it doesn’t work.”
When I got back to my hotel, I did a Google Trends search and found something surprising regarding sales training. In this age of store closures and brick and mortar bankruptcies, the Google searches for the one thing that could save them, sales training, had trended down since 2004.
In the end, asking “Would you like fries with that,” benefits everyone. Customers get a more satisfying experience, salespeople close larger sales, and companies get more loyal customers and revenue. Something worth thinking about.
And I’ll take that to go.
Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small business and rebuilding Main Street. She helps small and local business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE money. Stacey is the founder of Small Biz Marketing Specialist, THE go-to place for marketing tips, techniques and strategies that get results. She's also the author of "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" where she shares the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of the Daily Deals for Massive Profits, an online video training program that teaches small and local business owners how to use daily deal sites like Groupon to skyrocket their business growth and get massive profits. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.
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