Upselling and add-ons – a challenging subject to talk about even in the best of times. But here we are in the middle of an economic crisis, so you must be asking yourself how we could possibly consider this a reasonable topic when you are just happy you are able to sustain your clientele. Many of you are probably thinking there is no way you would jeopardize that relationship by asking the client to spend more money. All of which are perfectly reasonable thoughts and questions. However, I will ask you to put them in a box briefly, clear your mind, and be open to consideration for just a moment.
Let me give you an example of an effective suggestion that happens millions of times, everyday, all around the world. You go to your favorite restaurant; you sit down, and look over the menu. Your server comes to the table and takes your order, you tell him what you would like and he confirms your order then says, “Would you like a salad with that tonight, or can I interest you in a glass of wine?” A perfectly harmless question, that was neither painful nor offensive. At worst you say “No, thank you.” At best, he just enhanced your dining experience, increased your bill, and ultimately his tip. Job well done!
Here is what he did not do in that scenario. He did not assume that you would not have the money to spend, that you would run from the restaurant in horror (yes, of course, I am being a bit dramatic here), or that you would never return. In fact, the best servers do more than suggest a salad or a glass of wine. They tell you about the menu and if you order something they do not think you will be happy with they offer a similar but better choice. In fact, this happened to me recently. My husband and I went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. You know the kind where you are a creature of habit and order the same thing every time you go. However, this time we decided we were both going to try something new. I picked out a couple of dishes that sounded good and then when our server came over I asked her which she would recommend. She gave me her suggestion of those two and told me about her favorite dish, which was similar to the two that I had asked about. I ended up going with her favorite and honestly, it was the best thing I have ever eaten there. It was a slightly more expensive dish, but not only did I not mind paying the extra cost I was happy to do so because I appreciated her time and thoughtfulness. Even if she was just trying to increase the check, which she might have been, she made me feel like she was sharing an amazing secret with me. I have since made the same recommendation to many friends and family – Word of Mouth!
It is really the words we are uncomfortable with – upselling and add-ons. It sounds like we are just trying to get into the client’s pocketbook and take all their money. Nobody wants to be a slimy, salesman. That is certainly not what you got into this industry to do. However, your success and that of your company’s depends on service and retail sales, which makes selling a vital component. My suggestion is to change the words and it will change the way you approach the activity.
You are a trained professional. Your clients have identified you as such, and they come to you for your expert skin care advice and they want you to offer them a solution to their problem. Therefore, advising them and making treatment suggestions should be the most natural thing you do in the course of your time with any given client.
In the pages that follow, four highly respected individuals: Annette Hanson, Christine Heathman, Ameann DeJohn, and Jamie Scalise have contributed information and personal experiences that have made them and/or their peers successful at effectively incorporating the activity of upselling and suggesting add-on treatments from the front desk, to the treatment room, and finally the home care retail department. It is my hope that you will enjoy this article and begin approaching your clients with a new mindset, despite the economy – your job is not to make assumptions but to be a fact finder and once you have the facts you piece them together and use them to advise your clients on the best treatments and retail products to resolve the challenges and problems they came to you for in the first place.