Getting your staff to do add-on sales

Getting your staff to do add-on sales

In 10 seconds:  

Use repetition and reward to create habits.  Only through constant reminders and praise will it become second nature.
 

In 2 mins:

I hear it all the time, if only my staff would do what I do and encourage customers to try and buy other things, we would be doing so much better?
 
So why don't they?  
Changing people's behaviour is very challenging.  I spend my days trying to change retailers for better results on a daily basis, and even with the incentive of greater turnover, potential holidays and early retirement – its still a struggle.  So why should a member of staff on minimum wage suddenly become a sales machine on your behalf?
 
Well they should because you want them to.  But it is likely to require a little more effort on your part before they will do it habitually.
 
Stop fighting with their rational brain, start building habits.  It can feel a little uncomfortable for someone to proactively sell.  They feel pushy, they feel out of their comfort zone – they feel as awkward as we when we sat in a car to drive it for the first time.  After a while, we stop 'thinking' about how to drive, what all these pedals and levers are for and start to drive with our subconscious – our habitual brain.  The same applies in sales.  We want to get the questions "Would you like some pastries with your coffee sir" or "shall we make sure you have everything you need before you go Madam?" into your staff's subconscious, so they don't even think about it – its second nature.
 
How do we build habits?  Habits are built through "repetition" & "reward".  We'll come on to those in a moment.  First there needs to be a bit of education, some hand holding.  Think about teaching a child to swim or ride a bike.  First you will hold them and get them to do a tiny part of the process.  
 

Step 1:

Maybe you ask the question of a customer, but you get the member of staff to show them the pastries you have on offer.  Perhaps you ask the customer if they need batteries with the model car, and get your staff member to check which ones it requires and talk about the different brands you stock.  
 

Step 2:

This is gently teaching somebody what is required.  Now we need to get them thinking, as you see a customer coming up to the counter get the staff member to suggest to you what they may want with the product – then demonstrate asking the customer and rewarding the staff member for such a "brilliant suggestion!"  We're now squeezing in some 'reward'.  praise is one of the best forms of reward.  We yearn recognition above most other forms of reward, (yes above financial rewards in most cases).
 

Step 3:

Its now time to get the staff member to have a go.  Get them to ask the question and regardless of how well or not they perform, you make a real fuss of them "That was brilliant, you really got the customer thinking before they said – no thank you, well done!"  
 

Step 4:

We are at the stage where most business owners fail.  We have trained, we have introduced some reward, in the form of praise and recognition, by we don't keep it up.  Repetition separates success from failure.  If you were teaching a child to ride a bike, you keep going and going and going until they can do it themselves.  If they are learning to swim, you build up their confidence a little at a time week after week.  Staff training is the same.  
 
Keep pushing and reminding every day for a week, if they forgot don't chastise them, ask if they overlooked anything.  Ask what they might do next time to help remember to ask.  Follow-up on the next customer.  Being patient and repeating the exercise for two or even three weeks will result in a member of staff trained, skilled and motivated to drive up your average transaction value.  Now that is going to have an impact on your bottom line! 
 
 

Written by

Corin Birchall is a Retail Sales & Marketing Consultant and founder of “Kerching Retail - helping to make your till ring”. His consultancy works throughout the UK and Europe. Corin is an active writer, coach and public speaker, helping to develop and grow a wide range of businesses & business leaders from Leisure and Retail sectors

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