There is a reason why McDonald’s enjoyed total revenues of $23.5 billion in 2008. Could it be that there are more than 31,000 McDonald’s restaurants around the world in 118 countries? That is partly the reason, however I believe the fact that they sell 9 million pounds of their delicious French fries per day is an even more important element.
What they really do well is ask, “Would you like fries with that?” McDonald’s world wide excels at add on sales. I realize that others have also gotten on the “add on sales” band wagon, yet McDonald’s consistently performs year after year.
What Would it Take?
What would it take for you to create this kind of culture in your organization? You might be finding yourself a bit resistant, thinking that the MacDonald’s employees are mindless robots; and you might be right. However, they consistently perform. What would it take for your organization to perform at the level McDonald’s expects? Could the roadblocks be ego, intellect, and perception?
The Ego Roadblock
In my experience professional service corporations and chic retailers are the worst offenders in the area of letting ego get in the way of add on sales. I’ll ask you this. ”Do you want to hold on to your costly erroneous beliefs or do you want to increase revenues? When you let your ego get in your way, revenues will decrease.
The Intellect Roadblock
“I’ll do it my way because I know better.” This is the battle cry for intellects. In solving complex problems this is fine, however it is not acceptable is selling more of your products and/or services. Intellects are infatuated with features as opposed to being conscious of benefits. Intellects love to hear themselves talk about the technical side of anything and everything. Guess what? Your customers really do not care. They just want to know how your product or service will make their lives better—and, that it is a good value.
The Perception Roadblock
The perception roadblock to add on sales is one that will definitely need a brain adjustment. Business owners and the employees that sell for them too often feel it is an imposition on their customer to offer something additional. Somehow these folks got their head screwed on cockeyed and they really do need some help. When one truly cares about their customer, client, or patient; it is incumbent on them to offer every bit of value your/their organization has to offer.
One might say that McDonald’s is making people fat and unhealthy by offering supersizing or just “fries with that.” I do not think so. McDonalds is not cramming the food down the throats of their dining patrons but simply offering more value. Customers make choices. What you need to do is to simply offer your customers more choices and more value.
Success in Simplicity
McDonald’s, I believe, is successful because of simplicity. They do not rattle off 20 additional dining options but rather one or two. If you were to adapt this idea of simplicity to your organization, it might be done by just offering one single item to every customer as an add on, or possible having just one specific and different customized add on offering for every individual product or service. Needless to say, the multi-item approach is much more difficult to implement.
Why Else Don’t They Offer?
I have found that the primary reason you and your employees do not offer add on sales is because of a lack of training. I bet you thought I was going to say laziness. In my two decades of experience in work with organizations as a consultant, I have identified lack of training as the culprit much more often than apathy or sloth.
A Simple Solution
Your simple solution to increasing add on sales in your organization is daily training. Try this for a month and see if I’m not completely correct. At the start of every day, spend two to three minutes explaining to all the persons in your organization, why a particular product or service helps your customers’ lives to be better and suggest that they suggest it to customers that day. At the end of a month you have trained your entire company, on how to offer 20 new and or different, add on products or services. And your employees have consciously participated in that training.
Yes, it will take you, the leader, a bit of pre-planning time but, my gosh—isn’t that your job anyway? Do this rigorously for one month and I guarantee you that you’ll be pleased with the results. It is the little things that make the difference.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.