A lesson in selling from the USA

I’ve just returned from a fabulous week in New York and one thing I really noticed was how good Americans are at parting us from our money. I say this in admiration, not to moan. the upsell is a really natural behaviour to any American in the service industry and is something we Brits could do well to copy.

Looking for additional sales

The assistant gave powerful reasons why buying a pallet four eye shadows made more sense than buying two individual shadows.

The assistant gave powerful reasons why buying a pallet four eye shadows made more sense than buying two individual shadows.

I’m not talking about the McDonald’s ‘You want fries with that?’ automatic response to any order but an approach which feels more personalised. for example, I went to buy a couple of eye shadows and was immediately offered a pallet of four which reduced the price per shadow by $5 but meant I spent $10 more than I had originally intended. When the assistant had closed me on that sale she offered me a set of brushes which would have cost me an additional $49, if she’d had a set of just eye shadow brushes she might have made that sale too.

In bars and restaurants servers were quick to notice our empty glasses and to offer a refill. When we booked tickets for the theatre and the ice hockey the sale was followed up with, ‘is there anything else I can help you with?’

It wasn’t just at the point of sale where we were offered the upsell. On a couple of visits to tourist attractions further opportunities to spend money were offered at key points of the trip. The Empire State offered us the chance to purchase a photo and then a location guide; at the NBC studios our photos were taken and a video of a news bulletin and weather forecast made by our group was offered sale. Then of course the exit is through the shop just as it is at home.

The best time for an additional sale is when a customer has just made a purchase

At no time did I feel under pressure to buy more and a refusal was always treated courteously but I’m sure this approach makes a considerable difference to the bottom line. Americans understand that the customer is at their most receptive when they have just made a purchase and they build this into their follow up. I think we Brits could be rather less reticent about asking people if they would like to make an additional purchase. We could all think about natural follow ons.

The brushes were an obvious follow on to the eye shadows and a refill is an obvious response to an empty glass but what would be good add ons for your business? A manicurist might offer a bottle of the polish they have just applied. A restaurant or hairdresser might offer to take a further booking. A training course might be followed up with the offer of one to one coaching or a video recording of the course.

How can you make your customer’s experience even better?

What we need to think is how can we be even more helpful to our customers. What would make their purchase even more effective or more enjoyable? What would give them an even better experience or memory? I think we Brits tend to feel that selling up or selling on is not a nice thing to do, it’s a bit too ‘in your face’ or aggressive for us. Where the Americans differ is that they see the additional sale as helping the customer and that is what it is.

So what will you do to help your customer have an even better experience from their purchase with you? What additional offer will you make? How will you encourage them to spend more or visit again?

If you would like some help to work out how you can increase your customers’ average spend why not book a free, no obligation, 30 minute consultation with me? I’ll help you find the things that would make your customer’s experience even better whilst improving your bottom line. Book your slot here.


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