4 Tips To Train How To Use Suggestive Selling For Add-Ons

By Bob Phibbs

suggestively sell add-on in retailThe final stage of a sale is used to suggestively sell an add-on to the main purchase of a customer.

After the customer has made the big decision to buy the solution to their need that you found for them, it is the time you paint a picture of how another product or upgrade would extend their pleasure.

That’s because once you get a yes, it is much easier for the customer to say yes again.  

The customer has shown you that you have gained their trust.

But you must get that first yes before trying to upsell or you could overwhelm the customer with options.

So don’t rush it.

If you were selling window treatments, once you had received a yes from the customer to the product for her bathroom, you’d start to consider what your options might be for the add-on.

Would it be motorization for the blinds? Some fabric treatments around the window?

The important thing is to not prejudge whether the the customer can afford it.

Remember: you are selling wants, not needs.

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The add-ons are the biggest wants, as the customer has already said yes to spend the money – now they can treat themselves to something that makes the choice more personal, more convenient, or more attractive.

Staying with the window treatment example... let’s say you chose the motorized blind option to suggest as the add-on.  You know it is expensive and can even double the price tag.  

You might begin, “Have you ever gotten out of the bath and wanted to open the blinds, but you realized you’d have to step back into the tub and get your feet wet, so you left them closed?" When they answered in the affirmative you would continue.  

"We can motorize the blinds, so you can just point a remote, click, see the view and keep your feet dry.”  If you wanted to put a finer point on it you might add, “Wouldn’t that start your day better?"

Whether the customer said yes or no, at least she had a picture of what you were offering.  And at least you tried to suggestively sell something.

That's all you are aiming for when training how to suggestively sell - not pulling out some crappy closing techniques.

What This Accomplishes

The correct use of an add-on builds from what the customer told you was important during your conversation.  If it was style, if it was convenience, if it were security, if it was color – whatever – pick just one to add-on after you’ve gotten the yes on that main product.

Now I say just one, and here’s why.

When I was buying a Nikon camera some years ago, the salesperson, once he knew I was there to get a D70, quickly presented a list of add-ons from filters to memory cards, from camera bags to tripods, from batteries to flare lenses, from remote shutter releases to lens cleaners. I was overwhelmed and almost left.

Suddenly he had made my fun purchase into work.

Through his lengthy, seemingly random list of needed items - a laundry list - I was aware that I had only purchased the camera and a lens…the bare bones... and it was going to cost me a lot more to get what I really wanted. I shutdown, and only got the camera with a lens kit that had a free camera bag. If the employee had continued to treat me as a trusted advisor and I’d felt like one, rather than feeling like someone he could load a bunch of products on, he could have gotten a larger sale, and I would have come back again.

But he didn’t... and I haven’t.

When your retail staff presents a laundry list of options after the customer has given you the big yes, you are likely to overwhelm the customer and throw the whole sale back into uncertainty - so don’t do it. 

Likewise, if you try to sell all the options as add-ons throughout a sale, you’ll overwhelm the customer with too many choices, and put the whole sale in jeopardy.

But you can plant seeds for those additional items...

Let's say you own a running store...

As you are fitting someone for running shoes and building rapport, you want to be asking them about their plan for nutrition and hydration.  Based on what they share with you, you might ask, “Do you recover as well as you used to from your runs?”

If they say no, and you see how something you sell might help, you simply ask, “When we get the perfect shoes for your run, can I show you something I think will really help you?” When they give you their yes, you’ve presold the idea of an additional item or two without making a laundry list of them.

You’ve shown you have their interests in mind, not just yours because you asked for their permission.

The Four Tips To Train How To Suggestive Sell:

  • Sow seeds for add-ons during the sale.

  • Get the first yes before you try to suggestively sell an additional item.

  • Consider your options and choose the one additional item you can best paint a picture of.

  • Present it in a way that the customer can say to themselves, Yes, I want that too.

In order for you to compete profitably, remember you must get the yes first on the main item.

And remember when dealing with add-ons, the great sales equation SW SW SW  = N. We don't always know why customers don't buy so take solice: Some will, some won’t, so what, NEXT. 

See also, How Retailers Can Sell On Value Over Price 

In Sum

A retail salesperson who wants to be a trusted advisor needs to have a point of view; just because there are a wealth of options for a premium product, doesn’t mean they all have equal weight or need to be presented like a forty-page menu at a cheap diner.

Oftentimes this is why inexperienced salespeople miss the big sales, because they are trying to cover all the options.  The overwhelmed customer goes somewhere else where no one presents myriad options or makes them feel stupid or overworked.

And that’s a shame because those customers really could have used the add-ons. And you really could have used that sale...

To really master the retail sales process, Bob has an entire course of over 70 lessons to take your most advanced salesperson to your newbie to the top of your sales chart. Click below to check it out. 

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