Every time I go to my local coffeeshop – which is several times each week – I get the same thing… a medium coffee. In fact, when they see me walk in, a cup is waiting for me at the counter. (I don’t know if I love the customer service or hate that I’m so predictable!)
But what’s really interesting – even though I am a very good customer – is that the person behind the counter never says… “Would you like a scone with that?” or “We just took some muffins out of the oven – would you like one today?”
And my question is… why not? Why not take 5 seconds to try to up-sell me? To add to my order? To incrementally increase sales?
I think I know why…
- They assume that I’ve got what I want and don’t want anything else.
- They are uncomfortable asking for the additional business.
- They haven’t been trained on how to best ask those kinds of questions.
Well guess what? The same thing happens in the Market Research industry, too.
The thing we often forget is that it’s a lot easier to sell to an existing client than a new one… and the one that’s in the midst of a project with us is the easiest of all. Why? Simple, first they already know us, like us and trust us. Second, they’re already spending money with… if we have a recommendation that will genuinely enhance their project experience, it makes sense to ask right it then and there.
- It might be something as simple as a focus group facility operator asking a client if they’d like a bottle of wine with the dinner that was just brought in.
- Or something a little larger… maybe suggesting an additional question to your client whose participating in your omnibus study.
What if you’re a full-service shop and your client comes to you to conduct a series of focus groups before going to field with a major quant study. They’ve never done any quant with you. Why wouldn’t you say to them, “Did you know that we also do quant here? In fact, we’ve been doing it for more than 10 years. It would be very easy for us to transition from the qual to the quant for this project…”
So why aren’t you doing it? For the same reasons my barista doesn’t try to sell me a biscotti…
- You assume your client’s got what they want and doesn’t want anything else.
- Your employees are uncomfortable asking for the additional business.
- Your employees haven’t been trained on how to best ask those kinds of questions.
The employees we’re talking about here are most often are your Project Manager-types… those who are working directly with your clients during the execution of their projects. And they’re researchers… not sales reps, right?
Right… except that they are in the absolute best position to do the up-selling and cross-selling… because they are the ones who (at least for the moment) own the client relationship. So, if you want to incrementally increase revenue, you’ll need to do it through your PMs… and it will require a few ‘tweaks’ to your current processes…
- First, you’ll need to change the culture a bit – let your PMs know that it’s OK to sell to existing clients during a project. It’s good for the client and it’s good for you.
- Second, you’ll need to train them on the best ways to do it… develop scripts… role play… maybe bring in a sales trainer to help.
- Finally, you’ll need to make it worth their while. Small commissions on sales success reward and encourage the behavior. Done enough times, it will soon become a habit for your PMs.
Up-selling and cross-selling are great ways to grow revenue… and done right, they enhance the project for a better customer experience. Get good at this through your PMs and you build a competitive advantage that most firms can’t match… because they won’t even try!