5 Easy Ways To Up-Sell At Your Retail Job Without Being Pushy

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You’ve probably dealt with pushy retail salespeople before.

The ones who make you feel uncomfortable because they keep asking you to buy stuff even though you’ve said you’re not interested more than once.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Perfect, you know how it feels and you know that it usually sends people searching for the nearest exit.

So, if you work in retail, don’t be anything like that.

The challenge is that store management expects you to sell more products, maintain certain performance metrics and put more cash into the store’s till. You can do this without begging customers to buy and spend more by offering them related products or services.

The guy taking your order at the drive-thru does this all the time by asking you if you’d like fries with your hamburger. Most of the time you say no. But sometimes, you say yes. That’s how you get people to buy and spend more. It’s called up-selling.

Effective up-selling requires patience, detailed observation, resilience and some skill.

Get a few more dollars out of your customers by following these five up-selling tips:

1. Get them talking

People love talking about themselves. In my experience, the better the conversation, the longer a customer stays in the store, the more they tend to spend and the greater the chance they’ll become a repeat customer.

Conversation helps build a relationship, showcases your product knowledge and makes the customer feel like you’re their friend instead of a salesperson. How, though?

2. Ask open-ended questions

Get your customers talking by asking them open-ended questions. You don’t want their response to be “yes” or “no” because you can’t learn anything about them, how they plan to use the product or how much they’re able to spend.

This process will reveal products or services that the customers didn’t intend to buy.

If you’re selling athletic footwear, for example, try asking questions like:

  • What are you planning to use your shoes for?
  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Tell me about your current pair of running shoes.
  • Do you have any health conditions? If so, which ones?
  • How do you normally clean your shoes?

3. Suggest products your customers need

The answers to your open-ended questions will help you suggest products the customer might need to solve a problem they expressed during your conversation. If you’re suggesting a more expensive product than the one they came to the store to purchase, always explain its features, benefits and why this product is better suited to fulfill their needs.

Not every up-selling story has a happy ending. How you handle rejection can send a message to the customer about how genuine your recommendations really were.

4. Walk customers to the checkout counter

The pathway you take to the checkout counter can present up-selling opportunities too. If you’re helping a guy with men’s footwear, walk him through the men’s clothing department before going to the counter.

The opposite goes for a female shopper. Offer a shopper who is purchasing footwear some athletic socks and cleaning products too. See how up-selling works? If you don’t ask, you don’t know.

5. Close the sale the same way you started it

Remember how bubbly and friendly you were when the customer walked into the store? Act the same way throughout the entire transaction, tell them your name and don’t forget to thank them for shopping at your store before they leave.

Which up-selling techniques have worked best for you at your retail job?

Retail Week featuring jobs from Loblaws, Reitmans, Target, Starbucks, Rexall and TJX Canada / Winners Merchants International

Photo credit: sea turtle

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