Upgrade is in quotes because I don’t necessarily endorse the concept of “up-selling.” I do, however, endorse the practice of “selling right.” And if “right” happens to be “up,” I say go for it. I also am quick to suggest the practice of “selling down”, if it is the right thing to do.
Let me try to drive this point home with a simple example that I am quite sure you are about to agree with.
Example: I enter the Macy’s Department Store in search for a patio set. I see one that satisfies all of my requirements. I ask the salesperson the price and it sounds fair enough. I am preparing to pay for my purchase when the sales pro asks, “When do you need the tables and chairs?” I say, “A week from Saturday for an upcoming graduation. Why do you ask?” “This set goes on sale this Saturday and if you can wait a few days you can save yourself in excess of $200.”
What just happened? The salesperson just sold me “down.” But it was the absolute best thing to do in everybody’s interest. Sure, Macy’s took a hit. But they cemented a customer for years to come. If I had purchased the set and found out about the sale days later I would have been one unhappy camper with who knows what future plans.
Bottom line: Sell right. And “right” does not mean “what is right for you.” It means “what is right for the customer” given the current set of circumstances. This does not always translate to instant profitability, but it always results in more meaningful relationships.
Important Caveat: Over the course of the year, if the account remains profitable, maintain the relationship at all costs. If the account is not profitable or appears to be a drain both emotionally and financially, it may be time to raise your fees or sever relationships with this particular customer.
Mike Marchev freely shares his experiences, strategies and observations with travel professionals in an effort to keep them on top of their game. For a complimentary copy of his 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.