678% sales increase in only three weeks.

April 20, 2011

Do you remember when you first became aware of the McDonald’s question “do you want fries with that?” McDonalds must have been using this technique for twenty five years and possibly longer. The reason McDonalds asks this question is because it results in the sale of millions of dollars of extra products.

  • Do you want fries with that?
  • Would you like to upsize for an extra dollar?
  • Would you like a drink with your meal?
  • Would you like your burger in a meal deal?

 

This type of question has various names including:

  • Cross selling
  • Add on selling
  • Up selling

Don’t be concerned with the name. However, what you do need to focus on is to remember to ask a similar question in your business most of the time.

Let me show you how I learned to use this technique.

At the time, I was a junior store manager for a national clothing chain. Sales across most stores were tracking below budget for the period and at the monthly managers’ meeting the senior management “let us have it”. Because they didn’t offer any concrete suggestions on how to improve our sales, most store managers left the meeting feeling disheartened.

Coincidentally, at around that time I was reading a book by Brian Tracy on selling techniques where the concept of add on selling was introduced so I decided to give the idea a go in my store.

At the time, my store that traded seven days per week on average consistently sold:

 Men’s trousers                                               40 per day

Average sale                                                    $79.00

Total weekly trouser sales                           280

Total weekly trouser sales revenue         $22,120

Men’s Belts                                                       2 per day

Average sale                                                    $25.00

Total weekly belt sales                                  14

Total weekly belt sales revenue                $350

Ratio of belt to trouser sales                       1:20

At my next store meeting I set my staff a challenge. I asked every one to ask customers the following question – without variation– every time they sold a pair of trousers:

“Would you like a brand new belt to go with your new trousers?”

As an incentive the person selling the most belts each week for the first month would receive a twenty five dollar gift voucher.

Here’s what happened just by asking this one simple question:

Week One:

 Men’s trousers                                                40 per day

Average sale                                                     $79.00

Total weekly trouser sales                           280

Total weekly trouser sales revenue         $22,120

Men’s Belts                                                        5.7 per day

Average sale                                                     $25.00

Total weekly belt sales                                  40

Total weekly belt sales revenue                $1000

Ratio of belt to trouser sales                       1:7

 

Week Two:

Belt sales                                                            56

Belt revenue                                                     $1400

Ratio of belt to trouser sales                        1:5

 

Week Three:

Belt sales                                                            95

Belts revenue                                                   $2375

Ratio of belt to trouser sales                        1:3

That’s a 678% increase in only three weeks!

 

What would you have done in the same situation?

Apply the same fundamental principle across other product lines of course!

Next came:

  • “Would you like a new tie to go with your new shirt?”
  • “Would you like a new pair of trousers to go with your new jacket?” Weren’t we cocky?
  • “Would you like a new shirt and tie to go with your new suit?”

 

Asking these types of questions became second nature and the worst thing that ever happened was that some people said “no thanks”.

By now I hope you have grasped this fundamental principle and are prepared to practise and make it a habit in your business.

To guarantee that all of your retail fundamentals are in place go to:

www.retailfundamentals.com.au

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