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Editor’s note: This article is from the February 2009 issue of Professional Carwashing & Detailing. If you would like to submit a topic idea or article for the weekly Technical Tip, please e-mail Editor Kate Carr.
The cost of finding new customers or clients in today’s economic condition is a big expense for most small auto detailing businesses. “Up-selling” those new customers maximizes your return on that expense. It’s a simple approach that you can implement quickly and get immediate results.
Up-selling is a procedure designed to get more money at the point of sale. You implement it by offering your customers or clients an upgraded product or related item at the time they are making their first purchase. Customers will never be more receptive to an attractive offer from you than when they’re paying you money.
Want some odor removal with that?
If you’ve ever been asked if you’d like fries with your burger or were offered a larger portion at only a slightly higher price, then you understand the concept of up-selling. This business practice encourages one to buy a bigger or better product than they might have originally intended.
It always amazes me to see many auto detailing operations not incorporating an up-selling technique into their sales system. Maybe they avoid up-selling because they’re afraid the customer may get irritated and not buy at all. I’ve found the opposite to be true. Customers appreciate your thoughtfulness in offering them an added benefit they didn’t know about.
Some auto detailing business owners have told me they don’t up-sell because it’s not feasible in their business. They really believed that until I described the up-selling offers used successfully by some of their competitors. Every auto detailing business can implement a successful up-selling program.
A new auto detailing company called me recently. The owner/operator wanted advice on how to increase their profit margin on new customer visits. I suggested adding an interior odor eliminator as part of an up-selling package. He took my advice and instantly pocketed a 60 percent profit on the cost of the shampoo in addition to the initial service the customer purchases.
Easy as 1, 2, sell
Up-selling has none of the characteristics usually associated with selling. It is so easy that I’ve seen even unskilled order takers achieve high acceptance rates by reading a script. Up-selling is simply offering a suggestion to an already receptive buyer to enhance the value of his or her purchase.
Present your interior shampoo/odor eliminating up-selling offer casually, as almost an afterthought.
For example, if you were speaking with your customer in person while going over the condition of their vehicle you might say: “Your upholstery, carpets, and floor mats have some dirt and grease stains. If you’d like, we can quickly shampoo your interior which will effectively remove these stains while eliminating any unwanted odor. The regular price for all of this is an additional $110 but I’ll give it to you for just an additional $55 if you get it today.”
You can make this same offer on paper or post it on a website. It doesn’t have to be verbal to be effective.
A big increase with little effort needed
Most auto detailing businesses I’ve surveyed report acceptance rates between 40 percent and 60 percent for their up-selling offers. This is a big increase for so little effort. Plus, the profit from the up-selling portion often exceeds the profit on the initial service because there are no additional expenses involved.
If you’re not making up-selling offers to every new customer or client, start doing it now. It’s an easy way to boost your profits fast with little effort and very little expense. Up-selling an interior odor removal services to your customers is a great way for your organization to sell more and derive more profits.
David J. Mazzarella is the president and CEO of Mazzarella Car Care Systems, LLC, a Boston-based company that researches and develops bio-degradable, environmentally safe chemicals for the detail industry. For more information, visit his website.