The Little Used Method to Upsell

By Jeremy Blake on December 13, 2018

Imagine you are sitting in the South of France, you’ve just enjoyed a Prix Fixee lunch. As the sun shifts in the sky and the working folk begin to rustle back to work, you are reminded you are off to the airport and the training trip is sadly at a close.


In your best French you catch the eye of the waitress.

“L’addition s'il vous plait.”

She returns your serve with,

“Oui monsieur, deux cafés avec grand vitesse?”

She unknowingly is using Blake’s Nudge the nodding head movement to encourage the affirmative response.

“Oui, bien sur.” I reply.


And within seconds, €4 is added to the bill. As the bill and the two expressos arrived for Bob and me, I asked her who had taught her that nifty little upsell. It was her Father who had begun the restaurant shortly after the war and had left it to his two daughters in the mid-80s. He had taught his girls to add coffee to the lunchtime bills with this question and digestifs to the evening bill.


Consider the impact of these extras. On a 60-cover restaurant running at 80% capacity at lunchtime that is 48 people spending €2 euros each = €96 euros, and with the evening drinks at double that, it is 48 x €8 euros per digestif which equals €384 euros a night. On a six-day week that brings in the lunchtime coffees and the evening drinks to a whopping €480 per day x 6 days = €2,880 per week; that is €115,200 euros per annum on a 40 week working year.


Don’t tell me that extras aren’t essential. They are your profit, your margin, your bonus and for these sisters it makes a big difference.


In our work we see so many people focusing on the main meal and almost scared to offer the dessert. Fearing what? Rejection? A cancellation of the main item or service you have sold them?


Having a sales led culture means acting as if ‘everybody does this’ ending your meal with a coffee or a brandy, buying a helmet once you’ve bought the bike, adding the insurance, the additional licence, the throw… the list is long. It is as essential for business to business salespeople as consumer serving ones.


What you need is the line, the language and the bold question backed with your conviction that is it isn’t a separate experience, it is part of the whole.


The whole really is the sum of all of its parts and there is no whole without them.


What is your ‘very quickly upsell’?