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More of the Low Hanging Fruit – Adding-On

The past couple of months we have been discussing the process of selling additional items. As we approach the all important holiday season the importance of learning to suggest, show and sell additional items is paramount to your individual success and the overall success of your company. Again, selling additional items are one of the keys to maximizing both sales and profits in a retail jewelry store.

The Assumptive Add-on

One of the most effective add-on strategies is the Assumptive Add-On Close. The assumptive add-on close is designed to be effective yet subtle in the way it is delivered. The technique is used under the total assumption that the sale of a primary item has been made. This close should be delivered to your customer immediately after they answer your final agreement question in the FBA (features, benefits and agreement questions) demonstration technique.

Keep in mind that this technique could be perceived as being very pushy and aggressive if you haven't laid the groundwork in advance of presenting the assumptive add-on close. In other words, if during the needs assessment process you asked some good, quality add-on questions (refer to the past article on the needs assessment) and found out that the customer has a need for additional merchandise, then you introduce the additional merchandise through using the assumptive add-on close, the technique will be extremely effective. If you haven't ask any questions to find out the appropriate add-on item and then you present an add-on using the assumptive add-on close, you run a tremendous risk of being viewed as pushy and aggressive.

For example: you have a customer who is looking for an engagement ring and you curiously ask early in the sales presentation, "What did you have in mind as a wedding day gift for your bride?" The customer responds, "I hadn't even thought about a wedding day gift yet." Then the salesperson mentions, "later don't let me forget to show you some terrific pearls that we have that would make a fabulous wedding day gift." At this point we have laid the groundwork to introduce the additional item of pearls using the assumptive add-on close. After previously laying the groundwork for the add-on the customer's perception of the assumptive add-on close is that of a customer service rather than the sales person being pushy and/or aggressive.

Again, the Assumptive Add-on Close is delivered immediately after you have given the customer your last FBA or Feature, Benefit, Agreement Question.
There are five parts to the Assumptive Add-on Close they are:

  1. How about - The "how about" is a non-threatening opening to your assumptive add-on close that sounds much like a discovery on your behalf. It isn't as pushy as saying, for instance, "You'll need" or "Let me show you" or "Will that be all?"
  2. The Enhancer - The enhancer allows you to give value to the add-on item without having to do a complete feature, benefit, agreement (FBA).
  3. The Add-On - The Add-on is simply the Add-on itself.
  4. The Advantage - The advantage lets the prospect know why they should have the add-on item versus not having the add-on item.
  5. Possession - The possession step gives possession of the primary or main item to the customer.

A complete Assumptive Add-on Close would sound something like the following:

  • "How about a perfectly matched necklace to compliment your new earrings?"
  • "To celebrate your promotion, how about a matching watch for your wife to let her know how much you appreciate her support?"
  • "How about a specially designed case to protect your new jewelry?"
  • "How about we look at those gorgeous pearls I told you about. They would make a great wedding day gift for your wife?"
  • "You said you have several relatives graduating in a couple of weeks. How about we look at some fabulous gift items we just got in to complete your shopping needs?"
  • "In addition to the gift for your wife, how about we take a look at some terrific gift items that we have for the others on your Mother's Day gift list?"
  • "Now that you have chosen the special holiday gift, how about we look at the beautiful earrings you mentioned she would love to have next as a Valentines Day gift?"
  • "While we are changing your watch battery, how about we look at some terrific gift items that we just got in for the holidays that we think are going to be very popular this year? It might give you a chance to complete your shopping early this year."

You will notice, in each of the examples above, that all five components of the Assumptive Add-on Close are included clearly and concisely. Again, I would suggest that you take a few minutes to develop your own Assumptive Add-on Closes and the add-on questions for every selling scenario that you can think of. Look at every scenario that takes place in your store and determine what questions you could ask the customer to find what the appropriate add-on might be. Then ask yourself, "How can I introduce the add-on using the assumptive add-on close?"

Again, after you have had success adding-on to the primary sale, keep going. I know your initial reaction might be to take the money and run. However, you can't maximize your potential if you stop now. Keep adding-on until your customer either says "no" or has bought your entire package.

We have all made purchases where the salesperson loaded us up. They set us up with everything we could possibly need. Isn't it OK, for you to do the same? Through using the assumptive add-on closing technique you will see a substantial increase in the quantity of your sales, and your customers will appreciate you for it.

As a result of the assumptive add-on close there are three possible responses that the prospect could give you. They are:

  1. They could decide to purchase only the primary item.
  2. They could decide to purchase the primary item and the Add-on.
  3. They could give you an objection.

You win in two of the three possible scenarios. Actually you win in all three scenarios, because even if they were to give you an objection, you are still in control of the presentation. You know when you may get an objection, thus you are prepared at that point to handle the objection. In an "out of control presentation" you could very easily be caught off guard with an objection. You could become confused yourself, lose where you were in the presentation, and thus lose the potential sale.

In addition, in an earlier article I mentioned that the three responsibilities of a salesperson are to:

  1. Attempt to close every customer
  2. Attempt to Add-on to every customer
  3. Sell with Integrity

Of the three responsibilities the first two are things that you can proactively do as a salesperson. Selling with integrity isn't something that can be taught, you are either a person of high integrity and ethics or you are not. No selling technique will display integrity. Through using the assumptive add-on close you have fulfilled your responsibility to yourself and to your company. You have attempted to close the sale and you have attempted to sell additional items. Just as in closing the sale, if you don't ask the question to buy additional items, they probably won't. If you do ask the customer to buy additional items in many cases he or she will buy more than you ever expected them to buy.

Remember the professional salesperson doesn't think to themselves; "I wonder if this customer is going to buy," the professional asks themselves; "I wonder how much this customer is going to buy." Next month I will detail a few more techniques to help you maximize your sales through selling add-on items.



Author, trainer, consultant and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the book "I'm a salesman! Not a PhD." and developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, The Weekly Jewelry Sales Training Meeting Series (exclusively for jewelry) along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers and his new Train The Sales Trainer Course. In addition he publishes a free weekly newsletter called "Sales Insight" For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their website at www.iastraining.com.

Adding-On = Profits

In previous articles we have discussed how Add-ons = Profits. In order to maximize the selling opportunity and the sales and profits of a jewelry store, the salespeople have to be experts in the process of selling add-ons.

Last month we discussed how adding on is a function of closing the sale and how the customer's mind is most open to buying additional goods prior to making the decision on the main item. We also discussed how adding-on is a customer service and that the add-on item(s) don't necessarily have to cost less than the main item. People have different budgets for different things.

The add-on doesn’t have to cost less

People have different budgets for different items. Should a customer indicate that they have a specific budget to spend on one item, doesn't mean that they don't have plenty of money to spend on additional items.

Several years ago, I arrived back from a long road trip in the early afternoon of my son's birthday. He wanted a CD player and I had assured my wife that I would have time to stop at the electronics store to pick out just the right one for him. My son's birthday is in late January, and naturally the plane was late due to snow. I was then in a big hurry to purchase a CD player, stop by the office, and head for home.

Well, at the electronics store I ran into a typical poor salesperson. I walked over to the CD players and asked what the difference was between the model that cost $199 and the model that cost $299. He informed that the difference between the two was about $100. No kidding! After the look on my face, courtesy laugh, and maybe a sarcastic retort, I'm sure he realized that I didn't have the time, and wasn't in the mood for, his jokes. Being as he then didn't like me and I didn't like him, he went to get a salesperson (turn-over) that was "the expert on CD players".

This is where I ran into a real professional. He settled me down, asked me some great questions about my needs and wants, and actually got into a conversation with me about what we were doing for the Super Bowl. We talked about my family, established that I had teenagers, and some other personal information. He found out what was important to my son in a CD player, found out what kind of television I owned, and found out that we were having a Super Bowl party with some old friends that weekend. He sold me a CD player, and proceeded to tell me how impressed my old friends would be watching the Super Bowl on a wide-screen television. Then he told me how my teenage children would tend to stay home more, have their friends over to the house, and watch my new toy. They would play their movies, play their video games, watch sporting events, and enjoy their MTV even more on a wide-screen TV. This television would actually cause them to stay out of any possible "trouble" out there in the real world. Amazing isn't it, that a wide-screen television can actually produce all these miracles! Even more amazing is that I actually bought the story!

The end result of this superb sales presentation was that not only did I purchase the $299 CD player for my son, but I also purchased a new $2900 wide-screen television. The add-on item was ten times as expensive as the main item. This was an outstanding sales presentation that I felt good about and I'm sure he felt good about. I even think that the kids did stay home, and out of trouble, because of this wonder machine. The store also had a special promotion going on; they promised delivery within a few hours. I happened to pull up in the driveway, after stopping by the office, just as the delivery people were unloading the CD player and the wide screen television. You should have seen the look on my wife's face as I got out of the car.

WHAT TO ADD-ON?
We now need to spend some time on the question; how do you determine what the most appropriate add-on item(s) will be for your customer? The answer lies in the needs assessment step. Based on the conversation that you have during the needs assessment, you should be able to determine what the most appropriate items are, and the additional needs and wants of each and every customer.

They may have told you that they are looking for an anniversary gift only to find out the spouse's birthday is two weeks after the anniversary. It may be the customer is looking for a gift for the wife on Mothers Day, only through asking a few questions you find out that the customer has a mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, daughter-in-law, daughter, two sisters and a step-mother that they need to buy for as well. The door can be opened to numerous opportunities to increase the quantity of the sale through an outstanding job in the needs assessment step.

The real expert sales professional will go for add-on items with every customer. I have seen jewelry stores that average about three to five percent of the total sales in add-on dollars jump that number to twenty to twenty-three percent in add-on dollars. Resulting in huge sales and profit increases for both the store and the individual salespeople.

In many instances the only limit to the sale is set by the salesperson themselves. The professional salesperson doesn't limit the amount of the purchase based on what he or she thinks. As long as you have a willing, able, and active customer, you might just as well go for it all. A customer that comes in to have a watch battery changed is a potential customer to buy additional products! The customer that is making a lay-away payment is a terrific prospect for an additional sale. In other words every person that walks into the store is a perfect prospect to buy additional products.

You will find that the amount of preparation time you've taken, and the quality of your needs assessment holds the key to the entire balance of the presentation. Everything from what to demonstrate to what to add-on is discovered during the needs assessment. People will tell you everything that they need and want, both now and for the future. If you have a goal of finding the appropriate add-ons during the needs assessment, you will find that your additional item sales will increase and your customers will be served.

As with closing the sale, one of the reasons that it has been difficult in the past to add-on is simply because you haven't earned the right to add-on. Only after the most appropriate add-on items have been discovered during the needs assessment can you maximize your add-on potential.

DON'T STOP NOW
The question then becomes; When do you stop adding on and complete the transaction? The answer is: Don't stop until the customer tells you to stop. If you are a veteran of the sales game I'm sure you have heard some sort of horror story about what a terrible job most salespeople do.

A story I heard recently was of a university that sent ten people out shopping in a mall with American Express Gold cards that have no spending limit. Each of the ten people was sent to a different type of store. One went to a shoe store, one to an apparel store, one to a gift store, another to a jewelry store, and so on. They were told to make their initial selection and to not stop buying until the salesperson stopped selling. Of the ten, only one came back with three or more items. Three came back with two items, and the other six people all came back with only one item. In six out of the ten sales presentations there was absolutely no effort made to sell any additional items. This story sure tells me a lot about the professionalism, or lack of professionalism, that is out there.

Quite frankly, the end result of all of these stories is the same. The salesperson almost always stops selling after one or maybe two items have been sold, or there is no attempt made to add-on. Can you imagine the amount of lost sales that occur as a result of salespeople not even asking? Do you keep selling until the customer quits buying or are you just average?

Adding on is the only way to maximize every sales opportunity.

Keep showing (selling) until the customer says stop.
Next month we will address specific techniques on how to sell additional items. However, remember the old saying that if you don't ask you won't get. A professional salesperson doesn't ask themselves, "I wonder if the customer is going to buy?" they ask themselves "I wonder how much the customer is going to buy?"

 


Author, trainer, consultant and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the book "I'm a salesman! Not a PhD." and developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, The Weekly Jewelry Sales Training Meeting Series (exclusively for jewelry) along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers and his new Train The Sales Trainer Course. In addition he publishes a free weekly newsletter called "Sales Insight" For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax 303-936-9581. You can also visit their website at www.iastraining.com.

The Low Hanging Fruit – ADDING-ON

This month we are starting a series of articles on the art of adding-on. Adding on, as a sales technique, is without question the most profitable technique of them all. Adding on is the low hanging fruit for most jewelry stores. As previously stated a professional jewelry salesperson must attempt to sell additional items to each and every customer that he/she serves. Too often a salesperson is so happy to simply make a sale, that they run to the register and finish the transaction without ever attempting to sell the customer more. In turn, making the decision for the customer that they are done. There are very few industries where adding on isn't a major consideration. In most industries, adding on is the single most important technique to increase both sales and profits. This is true of the jewelry industry as well.

Closing Techniques

In my last column we reviewed the process of the "Circle of The Sale": selling jewelry based on the reason the customer wants to buy and focusing the presentation on specifically what is important to the customer. If the customer is buying to satisfy an emotional need, then focus on the emotional reason during your sales presentation. If the customer is buying due to the technical aspects of the jewelry, give them a technically based demonstration. When the customer is uncertain or doesn't know what is important in selecting jewelry, then is the time to give the customer help and your expertise.
Remember, don't confuse the customer, but give him/her enough information to complete the sale.

I cannot stress enough how important the NA=A/DA theory is to your success as a salesperson. Needs assessment gets you answers, so demonstrate the answers. Then throughout the demonstration phase describe and show the merchandise to the customer using Features, Benefits and Agreement Questions (FBA's). Again, the agreement question works as a completion of the communication cycle and as a mini-close. The success you will have in customizing your presentation to the specific wants and needs of the customer will greatly enhance the success that is achieved when it comes time to close the sale.

If your customer hasn't yet said those magic words, "I'll take it," it is now time to take drastic measures and Close the Sale. My definition of "Closing" is different than the conventional one. In my opinion, closing the sale is simply asking for the order. Closing can and should be a natural progression of the selling process. A professional salesperson doesn't need to be pushy and aggressive, but highly effective through structuring a presentation tailored to the individual customer. It seems that the conventional definition of Closing is to do anything possible to get the order, no matter what effect it has on the customer. Again, asking for the sale is, or should be, the natural progression of a successful sales presentation.

Developing a tailor-made sales presentation through a great job of preparedness, initial contact, needs assessment, and the demonstration geared specifically to the customer will increase your closing ratio substantially and you will have more customers saying, "I'll take it" than you ever dreamed possible. However, if they haven't said, "I'll take it" by the time you have gotten to this point of your presentation, then you should just need to nudge the customer by asking for the sale. The goal of closing the sale, then, is to make the sale, and (if appropriate) to add-on through the way you ask for the sale.

Asking for the Sale
We have all heard the saying a thousand times, "Ask and you shall receive." A sales professional's job and responsibility is to ask for the sale no matter what type of sales presentation you have given, or how great or terrible a job you think you have done in the selling process. In far too many sales situations the following holds true:
  • 20% - The salesperson attempts to close the sale
  • 20% - Client says, "I'll take it"
  • 60% - No attempt is made to close the sale
I believe that the reason that many salespeople don't ask for the sale comes from a fear of rejection or that they don't feel that they have earned the right to ask the customer to purchase the jewelry. Let me assure you that if you have followed the sales process as described, you have earned the right to ask the customer to buy. As far as fear of rejection, that is unfortunately the nature of the beast in sales, you will face rejection. I have never seen a salesperson that can close one hundred percent of the customers one hundred percent of the time. Get over the fear of rejection; turn the customer over (a topic for a future article) and move on. Yes, you should analyze your sales presentation in order to improve your skills. Look at every customer that doesn't buy from you as a learning opportunity for the next customer. Remember, you have worked hard. Go for the close! You have earned the right to ask for the sale.

More Closing Techniques
All closing techniques have a specific goal in mind; that is to have the customer say "yes." At this point you are asking for the sale or the order. There is no underhanded deception involved - closing techniques are simply different methods of asking questions in order to complete the sale. Whether it is straightforward and direct, or subtle and reserved, the point is you have to ask for the order.

The absolute right time to close is immediately after both trust and value have been established. The magic moment that trust and value have been established can come at any time during the selling process. Review again my last article on "buying signs". Immediately after you have delivered several Features, Benefits and Agreement Questions (based on the needs assessment) or the instant that you hear a buying sign you should ask a closing question. The following seven are examples of closing questions.

The Reflexive Close
The Reflexive Close, simply stated, is a reflex response givenby the salesperson to a question asked by the prospect. This is also one of the most frequently missed closes in all of selling. The customer is asking for an answer to a question. You should respond with an answer that may close the sale. Keep in mind; this technique will sound very pushy and aggressive if both trust and value haven't been established. In addition make sure that you answer the customer's question first, and then reflect it back as a close. It works like a charm after you have established trust and value. A key here again is listening to your prospect.

For example: A customer says, "Can we get this ring sized by Friday?" This is a buying sign! The salesperson should answer the question and then reflect the question back as a close. For example: "I am sure we can have it sized for you by Friday. What time on Friday would you like to pick it up?" Without the closing question you haven't asked for the sale, you have simply answered the customer's question. Don't leave the customer hanging, close the deal.

The Win/Win Close
The Win/Win Close is a technique that has also been named the Alternate Choice Close or the Either or Close. The technique is that you give your customer two choices, both of which result in a completed sale. If you ask a question with only one choice, it is much easier for your prospect to give you a yes or no answer. We already know that if "no" is an option, then it probably isn't the best type of question to ask.

A couple examples of the Win/Win Close are: "Would you like me to gift wrap this for you or would you like to wrap it yourself?" "Would you like to pay for this with cash, check or credit card?"

The Ask-For-It Close
The Ask-For-It Close is relatively self-explanatory. It is a technique where you simply ask for the order. It can be worded in a variety of ways, but the method is very straightforward. For example: "What do you think?" "Let's write it up?" "I know this will be perfect. Let's do it?"

The Order-Form Close
The Order-Form Close is a close that will take a high degree of confidence on your behalf. Be careful, this close can be perceived as very pushy and aggressive if you use it at the wrong time and with the wrong type of customer. The technique is to simply pull out an order form or a financing contract and start writing up the order. They may stop you and ask, "What are you doing?" Your reply "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm writing up your order." The key to this technique is to involve them in the process of writing up the order. The method you use is up to you, but the easiest way is to start with the first line of the order form or contract and ask them a question that will help you start filling in the form.

Most forms start with your prospect's name and address. You can say, "OK, well give me the exact spelling of your name including your middle initial." Their reaction may just be to help you fill out the order. But you will never know if you don't try. In using the order-form close, once they start giving you simple information like their name, address, phone, etc. the sale is done. Again, it is now a matter of working out the minor details.

The Benefit-Review Close
The Benefit-Review Close is one where you summarize the information you learned and used in the NA=A/DA strategy. Reviewing the information already given, followed by a closing question. This is a great close for many selling situations. It may even be the appropriate close for a prospect from whom you haven't been getting very good indicators in the demonstration process. We all know the type of people to which I am referring. You give an enthusiastic, no-holds-barred demo, and all you get back is, "Eh!" There is no excitement or enthusiasm. One of the only things you can then do is to review what they told you in the needs assessment and what you gave them in the demonstration, reworded as a closing question.

For example: "Based on everything that we have discussed, I know that she will love the versatility of the two-tone band, and the durability of the sapphire crystal, not to mention the beauty of the watch itself. She is going to absolutely love this watch. Let's write it up for her?"

The Reduce-to-the-Ridiculous Close
The Reduce-to-the-Ridiculous Close is an old close that has been used forever, and talked about by everyone. The reason that it has lasted so long is that it works extremely well when selling high-priced products and services. While the cost of your products or services may be very high as a total amount, dividing this total over any number of factors, i.e. months, years, units, or locations, makes the expense more affordable. While the customer certainly must find value in the jewelry, it also has to be at a price and/or payment schedule that is reasonable and affordable based on the customer's perception of value. The reduce-to-the-ridiculous close will accomplish that goal.

For example; "I realize that the ring is $___. However when you think about the number of compliments that she will receive, the years of enjoyment that she will have and that this ring will be passed down to generations to come, it is really a small price to pay. Let's treat her to the kind of fine jewelry that she won't want to ever take off?" Another example would be, "I realize the price of the piece is $___ however with our interest free financing you can tailor make a payment plan that is comfortable for you and gives her the piece of jewelry of her dreams. Let's write it up?"

The Penalty Close
The Penalty Close is one that has been used by almost every experienced salesperson at one time or the other. The penalty close is a means of letting your prospect know that if they don't buy now there will be some type of penalty to making the purchase at a later date or that the product or service may not be available to them again. Let me caution you, only use the penalty close when the penalty is absolutely true. No lying or being deceptive. Should the penalty be true then this close can and will be very effective. Should the penalty not be true, then eventually it will come back to haunt you.

For example: "This is a specially made, customized piece of jewelry. There is not another like it anywhere. As a matter of fact, our in-house jeweler won an award for this particular piece. Let me write it up for you?" "Unfortunately, we can only honor the sale price during this special promotion. You really should take advantage of the tremendous savings. Let me write it up for you?"

Close and Wait
A strategy that has been talked about forever is the philosophy of "he who speaks first loses." While I don't believe that anyone loses from a completed sales presentation, I do believe in the concept and in the strategy. Once you deliver the closing question, be quiet! Let the customer have a moment or two to think about their decision. Granted the moment or two may seem like an eternity, but in reality it is usually only a minute or two. However, the minute that you start to talk again, without letting the customer have the time that they need, is when you will be rejected. Again, deliver your closing questions and then wait for the customer's answer. Don't assume anything, you never know what the customer is going to say or what question the customer may ask. You can deal with the issue when you know what the issue is and what was said. If you panic, jump to conclusions and don't wait for the answer you may talk the customer out of the purchase. Further, you never know, the customer might just say "OK." As a matter of fact, more often than you dreamed possible using the strategies and techniques we have discussed over this series of articles, you will be successful in closing sales and being a professional, productive salesperson.

There are many other closes, far too many techniques to mention. Go to the business section of your local bookstore. There you will see row after row and title after title detailing hundreds if not thousands of closing techniques. I can't remember what I did yesterday much less a thousand closing techniques. Further, many of the other techniques are simply various degrees of the preceding closing techniques I have detailed. Then there are other closing techniques I perceive as being extremely pushy and aggressive and I don't recommend their use. I have reduced those thousands of techniques down to seven simple techniques that should serve you very well in a retail environment.

Next month we will discuss adding on additional merchandise as a function of closing the sale. Remember add-ons are profit. It is a salesperson's responsibility to sell additional goods and adding-on is a means of providing your customer with the extraordinary customer service that they deserve.



Author, trainer, consultant and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the books "I'M a salesman! Not a PhD." and "Munchies For Salespeople, Selling Tips That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into," he developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, The Employee Handbook and Policy & Procedures Manual, The Weekly Sales Training Meeting series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers, along with the new Weekly Jewelry Sales Training Series. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called "Sales Insight." For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.iastraining.com or fax 303-936-9581.
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