An accessory sale gives a lesson on consumer behavior

Happy guyI admit that I actually enjoy being upsold. That’s partly because it’s what I do for a living. It’s also because I want to make certain that I’ve purchased the right thing for the problem I’m trying to solve.

That means I’ve got two all wheel drive vehicles in Northern Virginia because it sometimes snows here and I just might need to pick up the kids at school in the middle of the day.

And it means I’ve got the 8 GB iPhone instead of the 4 GB version because I might get stuck on a plane for a few hours and just might need a few more Van Halen albums to while away the time.

Give me a good value proposition, with clear benefits, at the right time and I’ll buy.

Just don’t give up after the first time, if I don’t buy. Be persistent, like Checks Unlimited.

I was in the market for business checks and went with Checks Unlimited to purchase a set of 3-up checks. During the online ordering process, I was offered a special 9″ x 13″ binder in which to store the checks.

I was in a hurry or wasn’t quite paying attention, so I declined and completed the sale. The checks arrived via UPS seven days later.

How to upsell remotely

The checks were perfect, but unwieldy given the size of the form. I was kicking myself for not purchasing the special binder, when what did I see but an insert with the perfect headline and offer. Checks insert

“Did you forget your accessory products?” it presciently asked, with the exact binder I needed on the front of the flyer. A 25% savings and free handling offer sealed the deal.

What I did next was totally out of character.

Be careful of what you ask for

Even though I purchase almost every single business supply online, I picked up the phone, called the 800 number and placed the order for the binder. My records show I completed the sale in five minutes and nine seconds.

I did this without realizing how I’d ordered because Checks Unlimited did a great job in telling me to call the toll-free number.

As you can see by the front of the flyer at the right, they prominently display the 800 number along with the promotion code for the offer.

The CRE tells me I can “Save time!” by using the 800 number on the back of the envelope as well as in the postage stamp location.

This example shows how a marketer can move a hot prospect down a conversion path, even when the conversion path–in this case the 800 number–isn’t natural to the buyer.

Consumers will tend to do what you ask them to do, even if it isn’t natural to them.

Was this the best ordering path for Checks Unlimited? Yes, they closed the sale, but would I have ordered online anyway (the answer would have been yes) and might I have ordered more accessories via the online channel?

The answer, of course, lies in a series of tests. I wouldn’t be surprised if the push to 800 number ordering wasn’t the result of a sophisticated set of tests that yielded a better ROI than a push to order online.

When was the last time you looked at your upsell and accessory sales opportunities and tested your conversion path(s), not only the scripting and copy, but also the channel in which you ask the customer to respond

Look at your upsell promotions through the eyes of the consumer and see if what you’re asking them to do makes sense. Then test it all to produce the highest yield and the most repeat customers.

Summary and takeaways

  1. Don’t give up on the accessory sale. Most often the “no” you receive on an upsell is really “not now.” On delivery of the product, use that excitement as a platform for additional sales for products and services the customer missed during the initial sale.
  2. Get that second sale. In the non-profit world, we used to say that the only purpose of the first gift was to set the stage for the second. The difference between a one-time buyer and a second-time buyer who’s on the way to becoming a habitual buyer is huge–check out the premiums charged for list rental for a multibuyer select. Make aggressive offers to get the customer to validate their initial belief that they did the right thing by purchasing from you in the first place.
  3. Be cognizant of your ordering pathing. Are you trying to steer customers into ordering online or via an 800 number or both? Have you tested segmenting your customer base and driving certain customers to preferred ordering vehicles?

What have you done to increase your upsell performance lately?

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