Why you need add-on sales

I have been reading this book called 'High Performance Habits'. The book is long and sometimes boring but I get the main point. The book says that if you want to be successful you must create a life of good habits.

It is not about how smart you are or how bad a situation your industry is in. It is not about what your competitor is doing―success is about knowing what you need to do in order to succeed, and, making a habit of doing it until you get good at it. Professional sports people do this naturally.

There are many habits that can make us better in our business, but today we will talk about one that will have an immediate impact on your bottom line.

Our add-on products would account for approximately 10 per cent of our sales. The best thing about this 10 per cent is that the sales come so easily, if only we remember to do it. Don't worry. We also forget which is why I am writing this to remind myself as well.

But one thing I know for sure is that my sales manager never forgets to ask someone if they would like a candle with their candle holder. Who cares if they come with one? She has better ones on offer.

Some customers worry about the fact that some of our candle holders don't come with candles. Why not use this as an opportunity to up-sell to improve your bottom line? It is no different to the yogurt shop selling the plain yogurt and you pay for all the toppings. That is where they make the money, it is not in the yogurt. I don't think I have ever bought a candle holder that comes with a candle. If it does, then that is a bonus.

When I was a teenager I worked at McDonalds for one year. I remember all they cared about was the up-sell. Smart businesses know that this is easy profit. All it requires is a couple of simple questions that they make sure their employees make a habit of asking:

1. Would you like to get a tealight with that candle holder? Eight out of 10 people say yes in our shop.

2. Would you like an iron stand to keep your mantelpiece safe? Six out of 10 people say yes.

The problem with add-on sales is that we often forget them. The other issue is that a lot of sales assistants are too shy to ask―they see it as 'selling' as opposed to 'helping' or 'adding value' (they probably should not be in your store if this is the case).

This is why it is great to have add-on products on your counter and in relevant spots in your shop, and ensure you price them. Our retail partners often forget to add them to their orders, which is why eight out of 10 times, when we remind them, they add them. It is no different with your customers. This is not a hard sell. This is you helping your customers out and adding value.

In tough times, increasing your average sales is key so why not make a habit of asking two questions every day of each customer? If you sell 10 battery tealights at $6 each, that is $60. Add five packs of tealights and one iron stand and you have paid for one person´s wage that day. If your staff are not up-selling, then they are not doing their job and they are not paying their way. You want people in your store who are constantly finding ways to add value to the customer as that is the only way forward in retail today. 

Don't forget to have a regular check-list to remind yourself about the add-on products when you are ordering. We will try to remember too as we know it will greatly impact your bottom line. But like with every success we must make a habit of doing things that we know will lead to success.

By Tui Cordemans, founder of Koh Living

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