By Frank Sciarrino
As someone often traveling from job site to job site, you’re in the market for a new pickup truck that doubles as your office. The 2022 Ford F-150 has what you need: a console that folds flat as a table for your laptop and a tailgate that turns into a workbench. That tailgate even includes a place to put your mug of coffee and your phone. Nice!
You roll out of the dealer’s lot happy with your new ride and the additional features you discovered during the buying process. That discovery didn’t happen by accident; the salesperson used suggestive selling to sweeten your perspective and get you closer to signing.
Suggestive selling isn’t a new sales technique. Our grandfathers were upsold almost every time they were at the barbershop:
“How about a clean shave with your haircut?”
Even these classic fast-food queries:
“Would you like fries with that?”
“Care to supersize for just a dollar more?”
Other examples of suggestive selling are in the consumer appliance and consumer electronics industries. Both business segments do a tremendous job of emphasizing the value of extended warranties or protection plans, demonstrating the potential what-ifs that could happen due to wear and tear or system failure. Warranty plans help customers protect their investments from these pitfalls. Waiters at your favorite restaurant are typically quite good with this sales technique, particularly when they’re telling you about the specials, pushing appetizers and desserts, or suggesting a wine that’ll pair perfectly with the ribeye you ordered.
The purpose of suggestive selling — or upselling — is to increase the customer’s final purchase package and bring more revenue to the business. By offering additional products or services to increase the value of the overall sale, you can increase your scope, increase your revenue and strengthen the relationship with your customers by being a sort of one-stop shop. The add-ons or features are usually of lesser value than the initial purchase; however, they aim to increase the “register ring” and elevate customer retention.
Looking to jump into suggestive selling with your countertop sales? Here are a few high-margin, low-overhead add-ons or features you can include with each job:
Most countertop customers are likely to replace sinks and faucets, so why not solve for your customer’s needs and increase your average ticket by offering these items plus installation?
Demolition of the existing countertop, and if done at the time of installation, can reduce overhead.
Offer to handle some of the plumbing: Reconnecting plumbing at the time of installation can save your customer from sourcing another provider for this part of the renovation process.
Offer and upcharge for expedited delivery and installation if possible (barring supply chain issues, of course): Incentivize your customer to be at the front of the line and get their countertop installed in days, not weeks.
Add and include steel supports, brackets and other hardware, which emphasizes to your customer the need for durability against extra and sudden weight.
And, like the appliance and electronics industries, help your customer understand the common accidental damages that can occur to surfaces and offer coverage that gives them peace of mind. For stone and quartz counters, for example, the Granite Gold Protection Plan covers accidental damage such as household stains, chipping, pitting, scratches, etches, hard-water marks and deposits, cracks, and caulking, grout and joint expansion. Plan providers also typically handle all customer service needs, alleviating fabricators’ workflow if or when a customer needs repair work.
How do you fold these additional products and services into your workflow? There are several solutions out there that can help you elevate your sales process. A couple of examples include Quote Countertops and the Hot Sauce selling software. These solutions can house all the additional add-ons or features you can offer your customers with each sale, and they easily integrate with your existing order processing system.
Next, arm your templators and installers with tablets and software. Everyone should be able to add to the job. For example, the templator can offer upgrades while measuring the surface area on site, and the installer can do the same at the time of installation. If you don’t have software that streamlines add-ons, at the very least, you can create flyers or brochures that your staff can leverage with customers to highlight any additional products and services. The more your customers see that your team is trying to help them — go the extra mile — the more likely you’ll improve your suggestive selling.
Lastly, motivate your employees to take the lead on these opportunities with commissions on upgrades. Sales contests, competitions, incentives — these are all great ways to engage your team and set goals for success.
In the end, you’ll increase your revenue and your scope of offerings, and you’ll create a more valuable customer relationship by helping them navigate the buying process more easily. By showing your customer you’re considering all their needs, you’ll strengthen your brand and impart a good amount of trust.
And we all know, a positive experience — the above and beyond — has the potential to travel past this customer and on to the next. When friends ask them, “Who did your kitchen?” they’ll be delighted to share their experience and recommend your business.
Frank is a third-generation stone fabricator with more than 20 years’ experience in the stone industry. Currently, Frank is a managing partner of Quote Countertops & president of Granite Gold Services, Inc. He regularly advises fabricators and marketing companies across the nation to help drive more sales through digital marketing strategy and technology.