Wait! There's More! The Up-Selling Conflict

cartoon by @gapingvoid

cartoon by @gapingvoid

So one of the family vehicles needed an oil change and a new break light. This resulted in a quick trip to Jiffy Lube. Now, I don’t mind admitting that I don’t know squat about vehicles.

And as you would expect, as I am sitting in the waiting room, the gentleman working on my vehicle comes in every few minutes saying I need a wee bit of this, and a wee bit of that.

Sadly, carspeak is so foreign to me that he could be talking about my lawn mower. So, what does this make me? A perfect candidate to be up-sold a lot of stuff. Stuff maybe I don’t need.

It’s a great strategy, actually. If you don’t mind screwing over your customer. But there is this thing called integrity.

Now please note: I am NOT suggesting that Jiffy Lube did anything malicious to me. In fact, I have been going to this joint for years. And will continue to do so.

But I am just saying… There are plenty of folks out there that look for suckers. In fact, when I jokingly tweeted that I was the perfect Jiffy Lube phony up-sell target, I got a bunch of messages back indicating others had been victims of similar experiences.

Point is, we all worry about that.

And as a business person, you should worry about that. And be sure you aren’t doing that to your customers. Because that’s a one way ticket to being called out very publicly on the internet in front of the entire planet. And getting out of business fast.

But up-selling is a critical strategy to growing your business. If you do it right – and with sincere intentions of helping your customer better solve their problems or fulfill their needs.

What is up-selling? Wikipedia says up-selling is a sales technique whereby a salesperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.

As I was contemplating this post earlier today, I was watching a little TV. I heard the “nails on a chalkboard” line that drives me nuts: “Wait! There’s More!”

Do you know how many millions and millions of dollars have been spent AFTER hearing this line? There are suckers out there who buy the extra stuff those TV ads are selling. But sometimes, just sometimes, there is real value there.

You really do need to think long and hard about what products or services you can up-sell your customers. Adding this strategy to your marketing effort is a proven way to GROW your business. I think sadly that a lot of serious business people don’t try to up-sell because they are afraid of being lumped into the “Wait! There’s More” category of salesmen.

And if you really are doing it in the spirit of trying to steal a dollar from your customer, you deserve a hard and painful death. But if you sincerely offer additional products or services to further advance the easing of your customer’s pain, it is a great service to them…

…And a way to GROW your business.

Be Intrepid.

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  • http://stephaniefrost.net Stephanie Frost

    I know nothing about cars either. They could tell me I needed a new transmission and I’d probably buy it. LOL.

    But, great point about up-selling. If done right, it’s a good thing.

  • Todd Schnick

    Stephanie, aren’t you supposed to get a new transmission every 3,000 miles?

  • http://www.integritysolutions.com J. Mark Walker

    Good post, Todd. “Up-selling” is really a poor descriptive term for the process of identifying and filling a customer’s needs. To go with your Jiffy Lube example: I recently needed an oil change in another city. While waiting, the guy brought me my air filter and showed me that it was dirty and due to be replaced. Now I know a little about cars, and knew that I could buy an air filter at a parts store and install it myself and save about $10. However, I decided to pay the extra $10 and save myself the aggravation. Had I been at home, I might have done it myself.

    Like your Jiffy Lube guy did you a favor, the service provider did me a favor. He checked simple things I might have needed and showed me what was best for me. He met a need that I had, and that I was willing to pay for under the circumstances.

    Our definition of selling is “an exchange of value.” The quick lube attendant provided me a product and installed it, which I valued more than the $15.95 he charged. The key is to be aware of possible needs your customer may have and ask the questions or do the inspection to tell you if that need is there. It then becomes the customer’s decision to act, and you have fulfilled your responsibility to share your expertise honestly.

  • Todd Schnick

    Mark, I love your term “exchange of value” so much that I plan to steal it and use it. ;-)

    If you are sincere about offering something your customer needs, they will appreciate it, even if they don’t buy. That sets you up favorably down the road…