This is part 3 of a 7 part series by Terry Denton.
Part 2: Ask for referrals on every sale
Master the art of upselling
One theme that runs through several of these steps to super sales, including last week’s, is that there is usually more than one opportunity to apply them in the sales process. As you will see, that is true here.
With the advent of the Internet, the customer is very likely to have done some research and have a broad idea of what they are looking for. They may even seemingly have more knowledge than you. Upselling is simply the process of suggesting compelling reasons why the customer might want to expand their horizons a bit. And that is where your expertise comes into play.
The key is to ask the sort of questions that help you discover what is important to them and to listen carefully to their responses. Ask questions along the lines of: What was the best vacation you ever had? What made it so special? Why are you going at this particular time (special occasion, stressed out)? Why does this type of vacation (cruise, beach resort, European coach tour) sound appealing to you?
To borrow a term that most women will understand; now that you understand their taste, you are ready to accessorize.
- “Sounds like you love the beach, Ms. Jones. Did you know that for only $125 a night, you could have a beach front room where you can literally listen to the surf as you drop off to sleep each night.”
- “I can certainly tell from your previous vacations that you folks like adventure. Did you realize that I can book the zipline tour and the Rio Secreto cave experience in advance and guarantee the days and times you want?”
- “Here is something you might want to consider. When I went on my Mediterranean cruise I would have given anything if I had planned to stay a couple of nights in Barcelona before sailing. It is just too fascinating a city not to explore.”
All of these are suggestions would typically play out early in the sales process. But there is still another golden opportunity to upsell. If you call people after they have made their final payment, say three or four weeks out, and tell them that you just found out that for only “X”: dollars, you can move them into a balcony cabin, for example, a significant percentage will opt in. Once the original full amount has been paid, a few hundred dollars more doesn’t seem so daunting.
Here are a few closing points. You’ve heard it before, but is still laced with a lot of truth. Don’t sell out of your own pocketbook. Just remind yourself when the thought flashes across your mind, “I would never spend that much on a vacation” that the “I” in that sentence stands for irrelevant. All pocketbooks are not created equal.
Secondly, it never hurts to reaffirm their decision. “I know you are going to be so glad you added that jungle canopy tour. I can’t wait to hear how you liked it.”
And finally, upselling is not just about the extra money. It is certainly part of it; but it is also about enriching the vacation experience which, by the way, is the surest way to turn a one time customer into a devoted fan, which in turn leads to repeat sales and more money. And who doesn’t want that?
Terry Denton is co-owner of Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel of Fort Worth, Rowlett and Tyler, Texas. He is an inveterate traveler, proficient writer, avid golfer and, by his own reckoning, a fairly unremarkable person. Terry claims to have more degrees than a thermometer and less native talent than a first round American Idol reject. He and his business partner, Vince Ashwill, have managed over the past twenty-seven years to build a reasonably successful chain of Travel Leaders agencies spread across North Texas. As you can probably tell, he doesn’t take himself too seriously but he takes the challenge of building a team of successful travel agents very seriously. And last but not least, he writes an entertaining travel blog calledTravelByTerry.com.