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Retail Sales Training Tip: How To Add-On To Any Sale

Before you begin training your retail sales staff how to add-on, you first need to show them how a sale could play out. Once the customer has selected the main product, you have three options to get additional product out the door:

  1. Make them see something else that makes the first purchase better.
  2. Scare them they may need something else.
  3. Fold your tent.

Obviously, your retail sales training will focus on the first but you need to show your employees what all three options look like on your sales floor…

The first is a great one if you sell flooring, apparel, window fashions or anything where there are substantial ways you can make it perfect. Use the cake analogy.

“Have you ever seen someone make a chocolate cake?” (wait for answer.) “Its pretty good all on its own. What I’m going to show you is the frosting on the cake.”

Simple, sets the expectation, feels easy.

The second is great if you sell hardware or project-based items.

“Have you ever gotten home, ready to do a project and found you didn’t have everything you needed so you had to go back to the store?” (wait for answer.) “We’ve got everything you need right over here to save you a trip.”

The third is what you hear in stores, restaurants and service providers day-in and day-out. Its what I call folding your tent. While it isn’t part of anyone’s retail sales training program it is the most heard response from a clerk…

Anything else?

What did you see in that interaction?


Know what you’ll get in additional sales with that line?


You have not created a picture either good or bad.

After all the work it took to get the customer in and for them to buy, you buckled when you needed to stand tall.

Think about being in a restaurant…

You’ve just finished a great meal. The server comes over and says, “Anything else?”

Quick, what did you see?


What if the server said, “Do you want some pie or cookies or ice cream with that?” What did you see?


But what if the server said, “We have a fresh-made apple pie just out of the oven. I could drizzle a little warm caramel on it and top it off with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.”

What did you see? I bet you saw the pie. Don’t care if you opted to order it. You saw it. That takes careful planning.

Carefully designing your retail sales training to paint pictures raises average check.

You want to improve your retail sales training and make sure your crew knows how to add-on to any sale? Make customers see it – good or bad but don’t fold your tent.

Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor®, helping businesses of all sizes grow and deliver an exceptional experience for their customers since 1994.

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Posted by Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor on February 21, 2011.

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5 Responses to “Retail Sales Training Tip: How To Add-On To Any Sale”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BobPhibbs,RetailDoc, JobShoots, JobShoots, JobShoots, Tim Enright and others. Tim Enright said: RT @TheRetailDoctor: New blog post: #Retail Sales Tip: How To Add-On To #Sale http://t.co/x2dnBex [...]

  2. Bob,

    Absolutely love this point.
    And this is something we can all use at any time. Painting the picture does sooooooo much more than a vague, open-ended question. Plant the seed. Just had this experience yesterday in retail. The salesperson painted the picture. My guy said “no” – we walked out, drove around the parking lot and came back. We couldn’t get the picture out of our heads. Genius!

    Hope to see you stop by the Diva sometime soon and share your thoughts.


  3. [...] this great post from Bob Phipps.  I am very fond of vivid examples and how they get into your head.  I guarantee [...]

  4. Ariel I. says:


    Your information is really good. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  5. Bob – The funniest part about this is that it is SO much easier to get an upsell than to get the interest of someone in the first place (I have heard up to 13% easier to sell a current customer than to get a new one). The “anything else” line does not take into account that most customers have zero imagination. Thanks for the real world examples!