Increasing Retail Profits: How To Sell More Add-Ons

As leading provider of retail sales training our team is are often called upon to assist our clients with designing and implementing strategies that will not only increase their revenues, but also improve their bottom line.  While there are many strategies that can drive this result, one of the best is to increase the sales of additional items through cross-selling and adding-on.  Let’s take a closer look.

Building The Retail Sales Basket

When speaking with retail sales representatives we often hear that say things like “you can only sell one thing at a time.”  Many sales associates believe they have to close the sale on the main item the customer came in for and then try to add-on to the sale.  But in reality the customer is more likely to reject any suggestions for additional items once they have made the decision the main item.  Let’s look at a couple of examples:

·         If a customer comes to a store to purchase a pair of shoes she is primarily concerned about how they will look, whether they are comfortable and if they are affordable.  It is unlikely that she is thinking about investing in shoe polish, insoles or even a matching purse.

·         The same goes for a man who is shopping for a new bed.  He is likely focused on ensuring that the mattress will be comfortable, improve his ability to get a good night’s sleep and the price.   He may not be thinking about investing in new pillows, a better frame or reading lamps.

In both cases once a sales representative gets the customer to say “yes” to the shoes or the bedding the customer will have a number – the price of the product – set in their mind.  They have already begun thinking of their next errand or activity and any attempt at cross-selling or adding-on runs the risk of rejection due to the sales representative being perceived as “pushy.”

Planting The Seed For Success

In our Top Check Retail Sales Training Courses we often talk about the importance of planting the seed for an add-on purchase early in the selling process.  For example, our show salesperson could plant the seed for a purse by bringing one out along with the shoes and casually mentioning that they thought the customer “might want to see a matching item.”  Our bedding sales representative might ask their customer their preference for a firm or soft pillow while testing out the mattresses.

In both situations, our retail sales representatives are encouraging their customers to invest in a complete solution and ensuring that the customer will not be surprised when they ask for the sale on the additional products. 

Close The Sale With Add-ons And Accessories

Planting the seed doesn’t guarantee additional sales, but it greatly improves your chances.  You can improve them even more by using an “Add-on” Close.  Let’s take a look:

·         In the example of the shoe salesperson, they might close the sale by saying “Would you like me to include the matching purse?” or “Polishing These Shoes Regularly Will Help These Shoes Last For Years…Would you like me to include it as well?

·         In the case of the customer who is investing in the mattress set, our retail sales representative could close the sale by saying “Since you are getting the mattress, the new pillows make sense to, don’t they?” or “Would you like us to deliver a new frame at the same time we deliver the mattress set?”

Complete Solutions Are Good Business

Adding-on is good for your business, good for your retail sales representatives and it is good for your customers because they will receive a complete solution.  Learning how to build the sales basket is a key part of any retail sales training program and it is a skill that should be practiced on the sales floor each and every day. 

If you would like to learn about other ways your sales representatives can improve their retail selling skills, Contact us for a free one-hour consultation.  The Top Check Selling System might be a perfect for your retail organization!

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at