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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Want to Sell More? Try Strategic Up-Selling

Last week, FEI marketing whiz Marka gave savvy salesperson Zoot a tip for increasing FEI’s share of customer (SOC). This week, Marka offers Zoot another piece of advice for selling more to customers. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Marka stood in line at Olympus Burger, waiting to order lunch.

“I’ll have a #4 with grape leaves,” Zoot said.

“Would you like to ‘Hercules Size’ that?” the cashier asked.

“Sure!” Zoot exclaimed.

Marka snickered. “Looks like the salesman just got sold—up-sold, to be precise.”

“Huh?” Zoot asked.

“Up-selling,” Marka explained “involves persuading a customer to upgrade to a more expensive product.”

Zoot rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Sounds like up-selling could help us increase share of customer.”

“Absolutely,” Marka agreed. “We can target customers at the point of sale—as you just experienced, work up-selling tactics into sales calls, or up-sell via outbound marketing activities.”

Zoot and Marka grabbed their food and sat down to eat. A ravenous Zoot immediately bit into his burger, but kept right on talking. “There’s just one problem. The Olympian economy is weak. Consumer spending is down and business budgets continue to shrink. Many customers are scrutinizing their fire-buying activity. In this environment, how exactly do we get customers to increase spending?”

“Price will always be a major issue, regardless of economic climate,” Marka replied dismissively. “We can attack the price objection on three fronts. First, through intelligent branding. We position our higher-priced products as luxury models. We’ll rebrand the pricier FireLighter II as FireDeluxe. We’ll finish FireDeluxes with gold trim and package them in fancy foil-stamped and embossed boxes. We’ll design an elegant logo. We’ll run a marketing campaign that positions FireDeluxe as ‘The Fire Solution Your Business Deserves.’”

“All this will position FireDeluxe as unique, luxurious, exclusive—in other words, worth the extra drachmas,” Zoot said in agreement.

“For more pragmatic buyers, we stress the FireDeluxe’s long-term value,” Marka continued. “Yes, the FireDeluxe costs more than other torches. But it’s also incredibly durable, more efficient and comes with a five-year extended warranty. The FireDeluxe is a great investment. We must make customers aware of that.”

“Persuasive,” Zoot said, as he chewed a grape leaf thoughtfully. “Yet people often make buying decisions with today in mind. What incentive can we offer them right now to buy the higher-priced FireDeluxe?”

“How about giving them a free copy of the ‘Helpful Fire Tips’ book Org wrote a few years back?” Marka suggested. “The book has a high perceived value among customers, but costs us only a few Drachmas. An offer like that might be enough to get our foot in the door, and keep customers coming back to the FireDeluxe and other higher-priced products.”

“Sounds like you’ve got this up-selling thing figured out, Marka,” Zoot said. “Any more ideas for improving SOC?”

“Just one,” Marka replied. Now that she didn’t have to concentrate on business, she could finally enjoy her burger. “And it’s a doozy.”

Today’s FIRE! Point
Up-selling is another great way to increase your share of customer. This approach entails targeting existing customers with a message focused on selling a higher-priced product. Branding, discounting, incentives and long-term value propositions can be used as tools of persuasion.

FIRE! in Action: Candlemaker’s Companion Uses Up-selling to Increase Sales
The instructional make-your-own-candle company used strategic up-selling activities on its website to grow sales by 56.3 percent!

Next week: Marka gives Zoot another tip for improving share of customer.


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