How to Increase Average Sale and Items per Customer – It’s Actually In your Hands

Photo By: Finance Blue

Photo By: Finance Blue

We all know that it is much less expensive to sell more to your existing customers, than get new customers through the door. Existing customers are already in your store, you are paying the staff a wage so their time is already covered and apart from the cost of carrying a bit more stock there is no additional costs.

However selling more to existing customers or as it’s best known as  “upselling” or “add on selling”, whatever you want to call it, needs to be done carefully, otherwise you run the risk of losing customers and staff getting bored or hating the process. So how do you do it, so everyone wins? – Customer’s, staff and the business.

One of my passions is prompting customers for other items. I love this process but unfortunately in my experience I usually see it being done poorly or not at all. In today’s very competitive retail environment, customers have so much choice and for some stores this means flat or declining customer numbers. You have two choices to maintain or hopefully grow your sales. Option 1 is to get more customers through the door which can be an expensive marketing process or option 2 is sell more to your existing customers – therefore increasing the average sale and how many items they buy.

Selling more to your existing customers is directly influenced by you and your staff – signs will help but relying on these will only produce small increases. To obtain sizeable increases in sales, you and your staff just need to inform customers of various offers in a non-pushy way. It sounds pretty simple and it is and I’ve seen increases on sales of focus products of over 400%, when staff prompt customers for other items and do it well, and it’s not that hard.

Here are my recommendations and suggestions on how to do this – if you follow these steps, as I said before, your staff will actually enjoy doing this and your customers will as well – a real win-win, plus your average sales and items per customer will grow – this is great for the business.

  • First off all please make sure you and your staff are following your customer service steps. Customers are highly unlikely to buy more if your service is poor.
  • Please get rid of this opening line “Would you like a …… (Cake to go with the coffee)?” Customers are so tuned into being asked to buy they will invariably say no before you even finish.
  • Instead make suggestions to your customers using these techniques:
    • Have you tried our beautiful date scones?
    • Did you notice our special of the week?
    • Has anyone told you about our awesome special?

You’ll notice these techniques don’t ask the customer to buy a product, instead they are just finding out if they have tried, noticed, or been told about something.

  • If your business offers tastings or samples off the counter, please make sure you and your staff take advantage of this by suggesting the customer tries one – “Feel free to try our ….., while I get your order ready.” Then you should always follow up by asking “What did you think of it?” The trick is not to ask them to buy it, if they want it they’ll ask you for it – otherwise you can sound pushy.

The follow up question is key, and you’ll get more sales than leaving the customer to decide to try it if they want.

In summary I’d suggest the following 4 steps to improve your service and increase your sales:

Step 1) Take your staff through the customer service steps and ask them why these are important from the customer point of view and discuss how to prompt customers with other items.

Step 2) as an owner or manager you must lead by example

Step 3) Follow up to see if your staff are putting in place the steps

Step 4) Provide them with feedback

All the best with your great customer service endeavors.

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.