Monday, July 31, 2006


Only in my current job, I am exposed to the strategies and tactics of sales..

When I graduated from University, I didn't know what was it like being a sales person. Beyond the feature of the products, there were multiple other methods and tricks of the trade which a layman wouldn't be aware of..

This is one of the reason I wasn't able to get myself landed as a sales executive or sales engineer..

One of the widely used method is known as upselling..
What is upselling, one might wonder..

There are many dictionaries giving it multiple definitions.
However, I learnt it from the coffeeshop.

Today, I had picked up this skill from the Chicken Rice stall hawker.
I felt like having the local delicacy, so I went to a nearby coffeeshop for lunch.
After ordering my chicken rice with charsiew, the guy taking orders didn't just stop there... He actually tried to upsell me..

He asked if I wanted an egg to go with that..
Upselling also needs experience and survey of the situation.
I presumed he saw that I was not a small sized guy and knowing that I had ordered extras of charsiew on top of my chicken portion, he then decided to upsell.

The egg costed me additional of $0.50 more. Nothing too extravagant. But that would have meant that he had increased the revenue of the stall takings to an additional $0.50. And that was a 14.3% increase over my original price of $3.00 without the egg.

At the same time, he had helped to clear their stock of eggs and reduced the holding costs by one. Now that's upselling.

Another incident also awed me. A visit to a local mobile phone accessories shop.
I went into replace the LCD screen protector for my pocketpc phone.
Costed me $10 bucks. This sales person whom could not be more than 23 years old, actually tried to upsell me by asking me if I wanted to buy a bluetooth headset as well. The "state of the art" bluetooth headset costs up to $120 which was 12x more than the screen protector which I was already buying from him..

He did his survey of the situation, knowing that I use a "state of the art" phone, tried to match my need for "state of the art" gadgets by selling me another accessory. In his attempt, if he was successful, he'd have increased my expenditure of $10 up to another 1200% to $120 dollars.. Thankfully, I'd already owned one of those bluetooth headset. I kindly refused him and respected his effort.

Upselling, is by no means asking a customer to buy more than what he is intending to spend.
Nor is it to sell to a customer an additional item which is in stock and yet not know if the customer do have the need or not.

It is not just a science nor a formula... but an art which takes practice and from the practice, learning new experiences. It is a study of environment, people, interaction and also their body language and outwards expressions.

And this skill, sadly, is not something that can be taught at any instituition.
It has to be learnt through interaction with many people of multiple characters and cultures. Failures are not absolute, and neither is success. And it is a skill that constantly needs sharpening.

I hope this is enlightening for the reader...
Comments if you have more tips and tricks..

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