What is Suggestive Selling?
If suggestive selling was to be defined in its literal sense, it can be defined as a sales technique implemented by the sales staff in order to add some more revenue to a sale that has already taken place, by suggesting some better and useful products or services to the customer in his order of purchase.
Here you have to be careful that you are not being over-aggressive and pushing yourself onto the customer. Whatever you do should in fact be of more help to the customer, and space should be given to let him or her make the final decision.
Suggestive Selling and Customer Satisfaction
When you, as a sales personnel of the organization, suggest some good product, and if the customer finds it really useful and worthy, he will definitely pay for it. Or if he does find it useful but not affordable, he will still appreciate your personal attention towards him and admire it. So customer satisfaction is achieved in both the sale and non-sale events.
The extra attention you have provided with your suggestive behavior would help in customer retention, which thus forms the base of customer loyalty and also repeated business. In future, the customer would always prioritize your outlet for buying something.
Suggestive Selling Techniques in Restaurants
Suggestive selling techniques are most widely used in the restaurant business. I have an instance of suggestive selling to share with you that took place in a restaurant some time ago. This would also help you in understanding the concept of suggestive selling in a better manner. Ron was a skilled and a prompt waiter. He had that knack to provide the best customer service. Once, he had a foreign customer visiting his restaurant. The customer ordered for a beer and was not planning to order anything else. Now Ron did not just write the order and go away. He suggested barbecued meat to the customer which can be a good accompaniment to beer, and promoted it in such a way that the customer felt hungry and he therefore ordered it. This is what you have to do while implementing suggestive techniques in restaurants. You've got to stimulate the customer's craving for food and drinks. You should not just 'suggest' the item; you should rather try to 'sell' it to the customer. This technique can be used not only with regards to accompaniments but also by suggesting some good quality desserts, main course items, etc., or some specialty items that are served by your restaurant exclusively.
Suggestive Selling Tips
Here are some tips for supervisors as well as staff members to implement suggestive selling techniques and promote the sales of your organization.
If you are the one who deals with customers directly and are responsible for selling anything, remember not to interrupt the customer while he is buying something that he already wants. Suggest what you want when the customer finishes buying things. Such an interruption might create an element of doubt in the customer's mind, that the staff is suggesting things only to increase the sales and they have no concern for the customers' needs
Understand the customer's needs. Do not just suggest anything that comes to your mind, as this would create a negative impact on the customer's mind. Try to suggest something relevant to the customer's requirements.
Avoid using words describing negativity such as don't, not, cannot. Find some relevant positive words that would not change the meaning but would serve the purpose of expressing thoughts. For example, if you suggest something and the customer comes up with some different idea, and unfortunately you do not have it, try to avoid answers such as, 'We don't have it' or 'We do not serve it'. Instead, try this out, 'We are extremely sorry but we are unable to serve you with 'ABC' right now'.
In case of restaurants, find out whether the customer is health conscious and suggest him accordingly. Another important tip is to 'repeat' your suggestion to the other customers. It might happen that the customer you initially suggested something turns down the offer. Don't get discouraged, as some other customer might like it. Go ahead and suggest! Just a word of suggestion shall not cost anything to either of the parties.
Keep in mind that you have to always be price-sensitive. Treat each sale differently according to its own situation. Like, if someone is looking to buy a product in the range of $1,000 to $1,200, do not try to push him to buy something similar that costs over $2,000 or more. Suggestions according to the season also play an important role, that is if it is relevant to the sale already being made.
As a supervisor, you might find that your staff is not properly applying suggestive techniques or is lacking somewhere. So impart some suggestive selling training to your staff. Inform them about the various products that the organization can sell, arrange workshops for selling, and suggest them some ways to improve communication skills, confidence, and suggestive selling etiquette.
This was just a basic idea of what miracles suggestive selling can do to your organization and help you in achieving a considerable growth in your organization's sales. Some people may feel that they are compelling the customer to buy things in order to increase the company's revenue. But remember, you are not compelling or pushing the customer to buy anything. You are just making a suggestion. It is absolutely right that the ultimate aim behind suggestion is 'revenue earning', because after all, you work in a profit-making organization, so suggesting and therefore earning becomes absolutely ethical. Moreover, this is the place where you can judge your selling skills, because you have to suggest things in a way that your suggestions contribute to the customer's satisfaction as well as prove profitable to the company. So folks, I conclude on this note that suggestive selling is easy as well as it creates goodwill between you, your organization, and the customer. So go ahead and suggest, but do it properly! Remember, there is a fine line between suggestive selling and irritating the customer.