3 Suggestive Selling Mistakes And How To Fix Them

Frustrated with a suggestive selling strategy that can’t seem to move the needle like you thought it would?

If you’re convinced your customers aren’t interested in the value of a helpful recommendation, don’t throw in the towel––the problem may be much more subtle than you think.

We’ve covered some of the ways retailers are making it work, as well as why it’s worth it to get your employees active in making good selling suggestions.

But getting real revenue results is more than knowing what you should do––it’s just as important to know what you should never do.

If you’re tired of watching your upsell go nowhere, let’s explore three key mistakes that can kill a suggestive selling opportunity in its tracks­­––and more importantly, review some ways to get your plan working like it should:

1. Responding To Customer Questions With Blunt Negativity

We’ve all experienced it as a customer.

You’re shopping for a new suit and forget to grab a tie on your way to check out. Noticing you’re making a suit purchase, the cashier asks if you’d like to throw in a tie to complete the new look.

Thankful for the last-minute reminder, you ask if they have your favorite brand in stock but the cashier replies, “No, we don’t carry that brand here anymore.”

Without any other suggestion, you decide to pick up the tie somewhere else.

Although you gave every indication you were ready to make the extra purchase, the cashier’s poor communication and inability to offer an alternative solution led to a blown sales opportunity.

When a suggestive selling opportunity presents itself, never shut it down with negativity. This will immediately kill any interest the customer had in the extra product and ultimately hurt the relationship they had with your store.

Instead, kindly apologize for not having the particular item available and immediately follow-up with a similar alternative. Responses like “No, we don’t have that,” or “We don’t carry that,” do nothing more than give the customer a reason to go elsewhere the next time they need something.

Be proactive in solving the customer’s problem. He needs a tie. Just because he has a favorite brand doesn’t mean he won’t settle for another one that fits his style. This is the kind of experience customers come back for.

2. Making Customers Do The Work

No matter how well your employees can communicate an upsell, suggestions shouldn’t stop with words. If they’re interested in adding a new tie to their purchase, don’t just point them in a direction––go get it for them.

The whole idea of suggestive selling is rooted in convenience at the checkout counter. Making them leave to find an item and bring it back simply defeats the purpose.

Be sure your staff is actively making suggestions that put products in the hands of customers. Instead of “The ties are back there,” you should hear, “Follow me––let me show you our selection.”

If they can’t leave the counter to find an item, put a communication system in place so floor staff can quickly grab an extra item and have it at the counter during the payment process. Always keep convenience intact if you intend on achieving the sale.

3. Not Measuring Your Suggestive Selling Success

A common mistake that can lead to dismal results is a lack of measurement. The success of your suggestive selling is highly calculable when you’re given the right tools for the job.

Don’t just “recommend” your staff make point-of-purchase suggestions­­––set a rate and measure your success in dollar amounts. With today’s mobile tools, store managers in the field can measure and compare their store’s suggestive selling success and change the strategy as needed.

Today, retailers turn to mystery shopping programs to gather initial data about how frequently suggestions are made inside their stores. Using this as a baseline, they can then watch the numbers climb as the rate of suggestions increase when a suggestive selling program is introduced to customers.

In order to maximize your program’s revenue potential, be sure you measure its progress and success with mystery shopping data you can act on. The more you measure, the bigger the benefit your suggestive selling program will have on your company’s bottom line.

Measure the revenue benefits of suggestive selling with our online Suggestive Selling Calculator, or download it right to your iPhone with the ICC ROI Calculator app. If you’re interested in finding out how a boost in your conversion rate can help your bottom line, try out our conversion calculator today.