Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is There Anything Else?

In the business that I am in, I dine out with lots of people.  Sometimes it is breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner, however, eating away from home is something that I do!

I find it absolutely interesting when you go out and eat and the normally server asks, "Is there anything else?" 

My standard comment is, "What do you recommend?"

Most of the time, the response is "Nothing".

I find this response amazing!  It is amazing for a number of factors-- this is the one chance to upsell the menu, ask for a greater order and increase the average sale--- allowing the server to make a bigger tip!  Most folks, by human nature are willing to take the suggestion of others!  I am! 

My point here is that anticipating the "silent" needs of the client are something that a business owner always has to be alert to.  If you don't ask, you will never know if there are unmet needs that the client wants, desires, expects or needs.  There are always additional needs that the customer has that he/she may not voice or identify.  A good salesperson should always be willing to ferret those needs out so that the customer needs are indeed fulfilled.

In the restaurant example, I will normally take a glass of orange juice if asked if I want one.  I may elect to order a glass separately when placing the order, but I normally will accept one, if offered.  This is just a trivial example, however, it clearly illustrates the principle that I am addressing.

I always have an additional  suggestion for my clients when we are discussing an engagement.  Even though I may have understood what the client desired, requested or signed up for, I always suggest some other factor that the client may not have considered or may increase the value of the engagement that he/she has already agreed upon.

This additional suggestion does not need to be done in a pushy or continual manner.  If you ask twice and each time the client does not accept the offer, then you can normally assume that you fulfilled all of the client needs with the products that he/she has ordered.

A prime example of this that has gone totally overboard is at the "Quickie Lube"  automobile oil change places.  Here, your original intent was to go and have the oil changed in your vehicle, however, you are normally pushed to change the air in the tires, flush the rear end, radiator and transmission systems, replace all of the belts, hoses and filters as well as have the car washed and the inside of the car treated to a "spa" treatment!!  Interestingly, the technician goes through this same pitch every time that you come in for service, irrespective if you did agree to have all or part of this done during your last visit!

There is nothing wrong with encouraging your staff to find those "silent"needs of the customer and ask if the customer wants those needs addressed.  If the customer say NO, well, you tried and did not succeed.  If the customer says YES, you have helped the customer with a challenge that he/she may not know that they had as well as provide an additional sale.

Encourage your sales staff to always try and identify the "silent" needs of the customer.  Interestingly, each customer has "silent" needs that are wanting to be discovered, but the customer does not realize or recognize that those needs require attention.  At the end of the day, your customer will thank you for helping solve a potential problem that he/she may not have realized existed!


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