Posts Tagged ‘product knowledge’

How to get your staff Upselling ~ Part 2

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Product knowledge

Here’s part 2 of what to consider in getting your team to upsell effectively, and to include in your hotel or restaurant staff training.

In order to talk about, recommend or upsell staff need to fully understand each of the products and services available. Do they know:
  • What are the high profit items
  • What are the component parts of any packages
  • What’s not included, but may be relevant to offer to the customer
  • What are the ingredients in a dish
  • What does it taste like
  • What are the best accompaniments to a dish
Allow staff to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of taste, smell, feel, if they’ve experienced them themselves.
Tomorrow we’ll look at the second of the three key things your staff need to upsell effectively.

How to get your staff upselling

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Wikipedia describes upselling as ‘a sales technique whereby a saleperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Upselling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products, but upselling can also be simply exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously. Upselling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of the original sale’.  But is it just about increasing the customer spend, or is it also about giving the customer a better all round experience, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of?

McDonalds of course are the masters of this – have you ever not been offered fries or a drink to go with your burger. And when was the last time you bought an electrical appliance and not been told the benefits of an extended warranty?

What to promote

So in order to do this effectivley the fist thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote.  It obviously makes sense to be promoting high profit items, but there can be a danger in using this as the only criteria.  Unless what you are promoting is perceived as value to the customer, it’s unlikely the sale will be achieved, and does little to build your customer’s loyalty or trust.  It’s also important to distinguish between high selling price and profitablilty and appropriateness to meet the cusomters’ needs.  For example upselling to a more expensive bottle of wine when it does not appeal to the customers’ tastes.

Product knowledge

Staff need to fully understand each of the products and services available:

  • What are the high profit items
  • What are the component parts of any packages
  • What’s not included, but may be relevant to offer to the customer
  • What are the ingredients in a dish
  • What does it taste like
  • What are the best accompaniments to a dish

Allow staff to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of taste, smell, feel, if they’ve experienced them themselves.

Spot the opportunities

Let them identify all the situations that lend themselves as an opportunity to upsell – not just in their own department – but across all areas.

  • Options on accommodation – room upgrades, special packages, champagne in rooms
  • In the restaurant – bottled water, suggestions for starters, accompaniments, side orders, desserts, dessert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks
  • Bar – branded beers, snack items, pastries with their coffee

I’m sure you’ll have many more specifics for your own operation

It’s also about timing - for example selling desserts – ask too soon and people say they are still too full, and go straight on to coffee; ask too late and they have gone off the idea, and want to head off home.

Behaviours

Teach staff the mechanics of upselling

  • The need for open questions to identify what the customer wants
  • How to listen actively to customers’ requests or preferences
  • How to respond, and make suggestions, or offer alternatives that best meet the customers needs
  • How would they describe each of your products and services?  Rather than a script, allow them to develop their own dialogue, one that comes naturally to them, rather than something they have to remember and run the risk of forgetting.

 

Practice makes perfect

It’s all very well knowing what to say, but you know how sometimes when you come to say something the words just don’t trip off the tongue as you might hope!  Let your team practise in a safe environment, based on different scenarios.

Plan for objections

Whether an objection is perceived or real, staff need to know how to deal with these.  One awkward question can shatter confidence, so train staff to get to spot and handle different situations.

  • Distinguish between a definite ‘No’, and a simple request for more information before buying
  • When its just a matter of timing – they are too full now, but ask me again in 10 minutes
  • They want something more, but you’ve just offered the wrong thing
  • Explain the need to identify the nature of the objection by asking open questions
  • How to demonstrate empathy and understanding of the customer’s perspective
  • How to gain trust by matching the response or offering to meet the customer’s needs

 

Give incentives

Link your upselling activity to some goals.  This might simply be a target to sell x number of a certain product or service, or may be linked to specific financial profit targets.  Whatever goals you set ensure these are clearly measurable and achievable, that any incentive is equitable so everyone is motivated to contribute, and that you give regular updates on progress.

Guide and support

Don’t assume because you’ve told people how to do something they will be able to just go out and deliver it consistently. Observe how your staff handle the upselling conversation and give them feedback after the event on what they did well, what they could do more of, and give the appropriate support and guidance on areas where they need more help.

If you’d like some help or advice with your own staff training please give me a call or drop me an e-mail at caroline@zealcoaching.com

Caroline Cooper

How to get the best from seasonal Christmas staff

Friday, December 4th, 2009

This weekend the Christmas party season gets well under way.  Even if you are not as busy as in previous years the chances are you’ll be taking on some extra staff.  But are they an asset or a liability?  If all you do is give them an order pad and tell them to get on with it, they could be doing more harm than good to your Christmas profits.

Here are my top 10 basics to cover with any new member of staff, whether for the Christmas rush or at any other time of year.

  1. Teamwork is key. Introduce new staff to the whole team, defining everyone’s areas of responsibility to ensure no gaps and no duplication of effort, Avoid the frictions that occur when someone hasn’t pulled their weight or others are seen to ‘interfere’ with your way of doing things.
  2. Don’t leave them floundering or too scared to ask for help. Establish a clear line of reporting, and who to go to for help and guidance when needed – ensuring, of course, that this person will be patient and supportive when asked.
  3. Everyone needs to know what’s expected of them from day one. Clarify basic standards of dress, staff behaviour, time keeping, break allowance, staff meals, security, food safety, health and safety.
  4. First impressions count. Specify your establishment’s standards for welcoming and greeting customers, including the booking procedures if this is part of their role.
  5. What is their role in up-selling, and what are the products you want them to promote, including any future events?  If your core team are incentivised, make sure you include seasonal staff in the scheme.
  6. People can’t sell something they don’t know exists. Ensure a thorough product knowledge – what does your establishment offer – times of service, complementary products, etc.  Let your staff taste the dishes, explain what accompanies each dish and what it should look like, what prices include and what’s extra (especially with fixed menus or party packages).
  7. Establish protocol in dealing with difficult situations, customer complaints, and awkward customers.  Define the line between handling themselves and when to seek intervention from a manager or more experienced staff member
  8. Run through the payment procedures, including any security procedures or checks needed.
  9. Avoid being let down at the last minute – Provide out of hours contact numbers and establish procedures for sickness reporting.
  10. Maintain your reputation as a good employer. Treat seasonal staff well, and they will be willing to come back next time you need an extra hand. Give them something to look forward to and keep them interested for the whole season.  Involve them in any after work social activities and maybe some incentive awarded at the end of the season.

Here’s to a very successful and profitable Christmas season