Tips for Training your Staff to Upsell to Customers

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

Part 2 of my three-column series on upselling provided strategies to increase your transaction size. The final instalment delves into training your sales team to effectively execute these strategies. Your retail associates are trusted advisors that customers rely on to guide them through the purchasing process, so a well-trained team is critical to your upselling success and overall revenue growth.

Product Knowledge
Equip your team with comprehensive knowledge about all products and services offered. They should understand the features, benefits and potential upselling opportunities for each item. Confidence in their understanding of your offerings enhances their ability to upsell.

The Job of a Trusted Advisor
Convey to your team that upselling is a valuable service, not a mere sales pitch. When customers recognize your team’s recommendations are in their best interest, they’ll be more likely to purchase these add-ons.

Conduct regular role-playing sessions where your team practices upselling scenarios. One member plays the customer, the other the salesperson. This helps them refine their communication skills, anticipate and overcome objections, and learn how to customize upselling suggestions to individual customers.

Effective Communication Techniques
Train your team to ask open-ended questions to reveal customer needs. Taking it a step further, encourage them to sit down with customers and walk through a questionnaire, asking questions and writing down answers. This demonstrates care and concern for the customer, creates differentiation and positions your team as trusted advisors.

Success Stories
Share examples of successful upselling experiences that your team has had with previous customers. These are great training aids and they demonstrate how upselling benefits the customer, creates loyalty and increases revenue.

Overcoming Objections
Create a list of every possible objection to an upsell and exactly what to say in reply. Responses should focus on value, quality and the long-term benefits of the various upsell options. As you and your team encounter new objections and work out how to overcome them, add them to the list.

Customized Recommendations
Your team shouldn’t simply offer the same upsell options to every customer. Teach them to customize their recommendations based on each client’s unique situation. A one-size-fits-all approach may come across as insincere, whereas tailoring suggestions builds trust and increases the likelihood the customer will agree to purchase the additional products or services.

Upselling as a Solution
Shift your team’s perspective to see upselling as a way to solve customer problems. When customers feel upselling suggestions genuinely address their concerns, your sales associates will get fewer objections.

Trust Builders
Coach your team to use ‘trust builders’ throughout the sales process. ‘Trust builders’ include things like using a written questionnaire, wearing shoe covers in the home, inspecting the customer’s vacuum and cleaning products, explaining guarantees and warranties, and using client testimonials in the sales process. These will make the customer more receptive to upsell options.

Handling Rejection
Teach your team that if someone declines an upsell, to accept their decision graciously.

Ongoing Training
All floor dealers should hold weekly sales team training. These meetings offer the perfect opportunity to tailor your upsell offerings, role play and help your team perfect their presentation.

Incentivize Success
Implement a reward system of commissions, bonuses or other incentives to motivate your team to continuously look for upselling opportunities.

Upselling Confidence Boosters
Provide your team with written upselling scripts, visual aids and resources. These tools will build their confidence and improve their success.

Jim Augustus Armstrong is founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. To obtain a free copy of Jim’s groundbreaking flooring industry report, Stop Leaving Millions on the Table, visit Jim can be reached at 530-790-6720 or [email protected].

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