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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

What do Ordering Dessert and Selling Have in Common?

ordering-dessertI know you have been there. We all have. You go to any restaurant, and they are always trying to upsell you. Do you want a drink with that? How about a jumbo large fries? And even at nice restaurants they ask if you would like to see a dessert menu, or they just bring the dessert cart to your table without even asking.

Are they really doing that for you? Are they trying to solve your hunger problem after you just ate a huge meal or ordered a double meat cheeseburger? Of course not! They are trying to solve their problem, which is to grow their bottom line. (Drinks and desserts have the largest profit margins on most menus, but you knew that.) And we know we are being upsold because if we wanted or needed that pie, we would have ordered it!

Imagine if you were at a nice restaurant and, as soon as you sat down, they asked you if you would like to skip bread tonight and save room for dessert. And then helped you select your dessert and work backwards to select the right meal and wine. Wouldn’t that be cool?

For those of you in sales, are you helping the prospect think through their needs and coming up with the tailored solution? Or are you just asking them if they want to see the dessert menu? This is an easy trap to fall into when your company has something new to sell.

Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with getting larger orders. But are you doing it for the right reasons?

If you sell software and your company launches a new complimentary product, do you offer if as a dessert after-thought or as part of a tailored solution? If you sell for a multi-media company and you suggest adding search solutions or social media management, do you offer up like jumbo fries or as an integral element in a well-thought-out solution?

Just as you can easily see when you are trying to be upsold, so do your prospects and even your good clients. And when you know you’re being asked to help a business make their bottom line (not your bottom line), so do your clients and prospects. The only—and I might add, huge—difference is that a fast food restaurant hasn’t built any equity in a personal relationship with you. But you are trying diligently to build a close personal and business relationship with your clients, and a sloppy upsell puts that relationship at risk.

Next time you something new or something extra to one of your clients, make sure you are presenting ideas and option that help your client solve a specific problem they have.

Otherwise, you’re just pushing dessert.

Weekly Sales Plan

Topics: Sales sales process