Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

Up-Sell without the Hard Sell

When it comes to parties, up–selling can be a piece of cake. However, your staff may feel different about this type of sales process. This article on up–selling focuses on the challenges and benefits to the consumer, the business, and the individual employee. Selling is helping in its finest form and I hope this will give you a resource to increase sales during the coming months.

Where does the reluctance come from when it comes to asking for the up-sell? Why does the up–sell often times feel like a “hard sale”? There are a couple of basics answers to these questions.

Employees tell me that they feel like they are putting pressure on a customer or that they are asking them to buy too many things. And, depending on their approach, they are probably right. Here’s an example of a real phone call. At the completion of a call where a guest was booking a group event, the employee said “would you like to add balloons to each table”, (guest response-no), employee said, “would you like to add extra pizzas to the basic package”, (guest response-no) and so on. When I questioned the supervisor about the call, they told me that the employee received a higher evaluation as long as they offered a minimum of 3 additional up–sell items. It is not enough to have a sales person offer additional items…we must teach them to “sell” it in a way that the guest will purchase the items.

The best way to insure that you offer the up–sell items that a guest will buy is to LISTEN to the guest. They’ll tell you what is important to them. When you use a sales qualification process to understand the kind of party experience the guest is planning, you’ll have all you need to up–sell. Let me give you an example. “Are you planning a party for a group of all adults or families with a mix of children and adults? Did you want to come during the day or the evening? Were you planning to serve a buffet or were you thinking of appetizers?” All of these questions put you in a better position to help the guest plan the best party possible. So much of the time, we try to let the guest tell us exactly what they want without suggestions. Who knows more about your facility than you? Listen to the guest’s needs regarding the event. They are counting on you to help them plan an awesome experience. It’s not about bowling, mini golf, laser tag or arcade games. It’s about the experience.

The second best way to sell additional items to every event is to avoid yes/no questions. Rather than saying “would you like to add more game play to your children’s cards?” Give choices–“Mom, I can upgrade your child’s party with $5.00 in game play for only $3.00 or double that play for only $4.00 more – which would you prefer?”

Finally, it is wise to evaluate how you utilize your website. Do you have a reservation system available? Statistics show us that when people book on line the average up–sell item goes up. People shop at their leisure and consequently use the visual to make decisions. Take a note and make sure that you have a nice visual display set up at your center as well that includes all of your up–sell items. Guests are motivated by the things they can touch and feel.

It’s not rocket science. When your guests buy more, whether you ask “would you like fries or onion rings” with your burger, or an upgrade to a group event or birthday party, you increase your bottom line! If your average event is $200.00 it only takes an up–sell of $20–$40 in products to improve your revenue 10%–20%. It’s good for your customers to have more with their event. Great selling is helping. Help your guests have the best event possible by paying attention to the goals of the party. If you’ll make the up–sell focus all about the customer because you care about their experience then you’ll increase your sales without having to use hard–sell techniques. Make it fun for you, your staff, and your guests!

This article is reprinted from the Party Professor articles as seen in Replay Magazine. If you would like to have access to the archive of the Party Professor articles (and much more), sign up for Xpress Training.

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