How to Sell More Online and Offline

How to Sell More Online and Offline

Between lunch meetings with clients and dinner with the family, I eat out at least three or four times a week. On most occasions though, it’s with clients and we tend to go to the same restaurants all the time. It’s come to the point where I hardly need to look at the menu—probably a good thing since everything always sounds so delicious. In spite of this, I rarely, if ever, have dessert.

I’m going to start by making the assumption that most restaurants have a low conversion rate when it comes to selling dessert. This I don’t get. It’s not that I don’t have a sweet tooth. I do. It’s not that I’m in a rush. I’m not. It’s not that I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t mind. I just don’t order dessert because they never ask.

Customer Experience

Restaurant managers will be quick to disagree, but it’s true. Sure, waitresses do the obligatory “would you like to see a dessert menu?” But who wants to see a dessert menu? Nobody. I don’t want to see your cleaning supply catalog, your oil change flyer, or a picture of your super-sized fries either. Restaurants, like pretty much every other business are all about selling and chocolate cake is a great upsale.

Restaurants sell more than food—they sell an experience. Which is why a bottle of wine costs four times as much at a restaurant as it does at the liquor store next door. Customers want more than just a meal and I would argue that dessert is one way to provide that.

Business meetings for example, are an opportunity to build a personal relationship with clients. People tend to relax after they finish a meal and this makes dessert the perfect time to build rapport. You’ve gone to the trouble of getting your client out for lunch, why rush them back to the office so fast.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why someone would turn down dessert. Some might say no because they’re embarrassed to order or if they’re concerned it will take too long. Some may wait for their host to order first, if there’s an assumption in place about who’s to pay for the meal. But there are still a lot of customers that do want a new experience or an option they cannot refuse.

Selling More Online and Offline

If you want to sell more, it’s time to do a better job of asking. Forget the menu and think about the sort of question the customer really wants to hear. A server could, for example, politely suggest that you save room for dessert (after you order your meal, of course). If you wait until the end to ask, the answer will almost always be no. If you’ve set the stage properly, the right question will get a better result.

Listen, we’re featuring the most amazing chocolate cake this week. Would you like me to bring you a slice? It’ll only take a minute and I promise you’ll love it…

Ok, it’s not the silver bullet you were looking for, but it’s a better call to action. It’s an enticing selling proposition with a clear benefit. Rethinking the way you sell can have a profound effect on your results. Ask yourself if your current process is working and how it can be done better. What objections can you overcome and how can you do that sooner in the sales process. Try different approaches as split testing is fantastic online and offline.

Imagine you sell clothing online. Are your products made in sets or collections? Have you tracked what customers buy in a way that can reveal patterns and interests. Can your website adapt to show the right customer, the right product?

Try configure a new Mac on Apple’s website and you’ll see how they masterful they are at walking you through the various options and upgrades. You’ll find it very hard not to end up with a significantly more expensive computer, and you’ll be proud of the powerful machine you’ve designed.

Upselling is a part of every business and if you’re doing it right it can make a meaningful impact on the bottom line. I’m not advising that we start hawking junk on customers (and there are plenty of companies that do this), but take a value added approach to the customer experience. Ask passionately and choose products that improve the customer experience. Choose products that you really believe in and never pressure your customer. Review your upselling opportunities and sell more chocolate cake.

Originally posted on Twirling Umbrellas.