Columnists Bill Warren Mastering the Art of Upsell for added profits

Mastering the Art of Upsell for added profits


Here is a simple principle which, when put to use in your store, will add massive profits and value to your bottom line. Some call it the Upsell while some refer to it as the Add-on, but who cares as long as it works?

Recently, I called Staples to order some office supplies for my store. While giving them my order, they walked me thru a series of upsell questions to finalize my order. Those questions went something like this:

  • “Mr. Warren, do you have enough copy paper for your office?” I never do... “Since you’ve placed this order today, you qualify for an extra percentage off our Staples brand paper.” I took it.
  • “By the way Mr. Warren, we noticed you’ve ordered Epson printer cartridges for your laser printer in the past and was wondering if you needed any at the moment?” I did... I also thought it was particularly brilliant that they kept up with my purchase history and knew what I liked.
  • “One other thing Mr. Warren, if you purchase just $50 today, you’ll also receive a free travel case including a bag for your laptop and a beautiful travel calendar and calculator. What else can we add to your order?” So... I bought more printer ink cartridges.

Do you see what happened? Just because they had scripts ready (notice the word scripts), and were prepared, they added three other complementary items to my original order, thus increasing their unit of sale. I have to admit, I was quite pleased they asked me for the additional Upsell items. And then I asked them a few questions.

My first question was, “Do you always ask for Upsells or Add-on items with each customer?” Their reply was “Yes.” Second question, “Do your customers ever get annoyed at being asked for the Upsell?” Their reply, “Mr. Warren, sometimes they do, but we’ve found that in most cases they appreciate us taking the few extra minutes to ask.”

Here we have a national company asking for the Upsell and using scripts to do so. They’re not afraid of offending a few because they know that in the scheme of things, at least 30 maybe 40 percent of their clients will take them up on their offers. This is a company which tracks it’s sales, closing ratios by the numbers, so if they do it and find it extremely profitable, shouldn’t you?

Here is a statement you may find shocking, but nevertheless, it’s true! You may be doing your customers a disservice by not asking them for the upsell! Why, you might ask? Let me give you another example to answer this.

A friend purchased a set of power tools at a local Big Box store. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, the drill broke down just a few days after the factory warranty expired. He took the drill back to see what the company might do. They asked if he had purchased their extended warranty at the time of the sale so that the drill would be covered after the factory warranty went out. He said, “No, your sales clerk didn’t offer it to me at the time. However, I would like to purchase it now!” Naturally, they declined and he left as a very disgruntled customer, probably never to return. Had they been originally prepared, they would have kept my friend as a happy client and customer over the long haul.

My point in all this is simple - What Upsells do you have to offer the customers in your jewelry store? Here are a few things that I use in my store that may help get you get started:

  • We offer an extended warranty/service plan on the jewelry they purchase for a small additional fee.
  • Our staff is trained to offer companion jewelry products to match or go along with the original item purchased - matching bracelet to go with necklace, etc.
  • We always have counter specials located directly beside our cash register. Ever notice how the big box stores have candy, drinks, magazines at their cash register? You should be doing the same thing! Think about it, you may have great fashion jewelry line you can put there or the latest cleaning products. Use your brain!
  • We regularly feature “At Large Offers” which include items that may not be related to their purchase but are on special for a week or so in our store.
  • My favorite thing to do is: “Mr. Customer, because you made this purchase today, you now qualify for an extra 20% off our selection of ___” (fill in the blank).

Perhaps you and your staff are leaving money on the table that could instantly go to your store’s bottom line. All you have to do is devise a few scripts for your sales staff, come up with some special add-on/upsell offers and most importantly, start using them right away! Will everyone take you up on these offers? No, but I’m willing to gamble that 20-30% of them will, and look what that does for your store at the end of the year!

When I got serious about “Mastering the Art of the Upsell” and put it into regular use... well, lets just say the results were spectacular. Because I test and track everything my store does, I found that in the first month we implemented a regular upsell strategy, our sales increased by almost 50%! The key to all of this was “Putting It To Regular Use” and not letting it happen by accident or just once in a while. You’ll discover and be amazed what you and your sales team are capable of when you put this principle into Regular Use. You can thank me later.

Bill Warren is president of The Gold Mine Fine Jewelry & Gifts, Inc., a successful jewelry store in the Hudson, NC. He recently formed Warren Marketing Systems, a company dedicated to helping small to medium size jewelers achieve success through innovative marketing. He regularly speaks at jewelry shows and conventions and also is a member of the Marketing Wizards Alliance. If you would like to receive more money making ideas like those in this article, consider subscribing to the Marketing Wizards Alliance Newsletter. To do so or to contact Bill, call 828-729-1020 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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