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Add-on selling

by Jim Domanski

Jim DomanskiYou've spent countless hours dialing numbers, encountered dozens of hard-nosed secretaries and left voicemail after voicemail after voicemail. Finally, you've reached the decision maker.

A good deal of time and money was spent to get you that far. But here's the really sad part: The vast majority of sales reps are content with just that. They are content to make the sale or generate a lead. They leave it like that; mission accomplished.

On the surface it seems like a good scenario but what makes it regrettable is that after all the toil and trouble to reach the decision maker we do nothing more to leverage the moment. Here you are, finally, one-to-one, mano y mano with the decision maker and you do nothing more with it than make a sale!

The fact of the matter is this: you can do more. Virtually every call you make (or take) has added potential. It might be more revenue or it might be another opportunity such as a lead or a referral. Whatever the case, you need only to scratch the surface a bit and see what lies beneath.

You can get more from your calls through a process called add-on selling. Add-on selling is the process of leveraging a customer/prospect contact by generating additional revenues or by generating a marketing opportunity. That's the fancy definition.

The not-so-fancy definition is that add-on selling is a way to maximize every dialogue you have with a client; a way to grab and squeeze every single ounce of opportunity from an inbound or outbound call.

As the name implies, add-on selling is something you add to a call or to a sale. It comes at the end of a call after the call objective has been completed. It is fast and easy to apply.

Why Bother?
If you add-on sell regularly, you can expect some interesting benefits.

First of all, it doesn't take much time and it is easy to implement. Your learning curve is short. That makes it simple to use on a regular basis. That's a good thing. Next, expect the average value of a sale to increase. This means more revenues. Your boss likes that. You might too especially if you are on commission. It means less work.

If you can achieve your objectives without having to dial as much, you save yourself time and hassle. This means less frustration and burnout. Add-on selling typically pleases the customer when performed well. They see it as value-added.

Happy customers have a way of rewarding you. They give you referrals, for example. Good referrals close at high rates: less time, more money.

You'll recognize the applications immediately, so don't expect to be stunned. What is different about add-on selling is that it is a systematic process that is applied in virtually every calling situation. Done correctly and professionally, it increases the value of the sale.

Here are some applications:

  • cross selling;
  • up-selling;
  • getting a referral;
  • generating additional leads;
  • selling on an inquiry;
  • converting a cancellation;
  • selling on complaint;
  • gather market intelligence.

Four-step process
Add-on selling is a systematic process. A system is nothing more that a step of interrelated procedures. You can break down add-on selling into four easy parts. Master them and you'll quickly make more in less time.

Step No. 1: Handle the initial request or task
Remember that add-on selling comes after your initial objective has been met. Before you apply add-on selling, you must first handle the inquiry, get the order, close the sale, deal with the cancellation or complaint, and so forth.

Step No. 2: Bridge to the add-on
A bridge is merely a transition phrase that alerts the client you are about to provide some additional information. For example, "Mr. Ford, thank you for your order. By the way, while I still have you..."

Step No. 3: Present the add-on with a benefit
There is nothing mystical or magic about this one. Simply state the add-on. It might be a cross-sell or an up-sell; it might be a request for a referral or to gather some market information. State the add-on and provide some sort of benefit for the listener.

Step No. 4: Close
You conclude the four-step process with a close. You do this so the client can take some action. 

Add-on selling is extremely easy and it works. The trouble is, most reps simply don't apply it on a regular basis.

Jim Domanski is President of Teleconcepts Consulting, a firm that helps businesses and individuals use the telephone more effectively to generate leads and sell more product. Focusing exclusively on outbound, business to business tele-sales, Jim provides both consulting and training services to clients in the US, Canada and Europe. A dynamic speaker and presenter, he is also the author of three highly successful books on tele-sales skills and strategies. For more information visit his Web site at or call 613-591-1998.


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