Like an estimated one in eight U.S. workers, one of my first jobs was at the local McDonald’s. It wasn’t that bad; I even spent quality time sporting the Hamburglar costume for the kids (which paid an extra 20 bucks, by the way). Plus, I got to spend most of my day in the drive-through window, which I enjoyed because A) I didn’t need to touch the food, and 2) I got to interact with customers all day. All in all, a pretty sweet gig for a 15 yr old.
Now, when most people think of McDonald’s, they think of the ubiquitous Golden Arches logo on street corners and freeway exit signs across America—and around the world. Or maybe they think of the Happy Meals, Play-lands and McEverything-else they’ve introduced to today’s consumer-driven business landscape.
“…But I discovered genius in the drive-through window.”
Behind the scenes, the company has also pioneered an incredibly successful, sales-spiking, prospect-pushing, margin-maximizing technique that Ray Kroc and his franchisees have mastered over the decades.
Embodied in a single phrase, this proven, powerful concept has entered the modern lexicon as the ultimate example of the up-sell, in which a salesperson can properly use a simple, subtle power of suggestion to convince customers to quickly take action and “get a deal” on their purchase.
“Would you like FRIES with that?”
You’ve probably heard this phrase hundreds of times at the order counter or drive-through window (at McDonald’s and elsewhere). It’s not by accident; the entire McDonald’s empire is built on processes—the company spends millions of dollars a year on R&D in this area—and our ordering process was no different.
We were literally given “scripts” that quickly burned into our subconscious minds through sheer repetition: “Welcome to McDonald’s; may I take your order,” or perhaps, “Would you like to try our new McRib sandwich today?”
I quickly realized that the most powerful scripts by far were the “up-sell” scripts—“How about a hot apple pie?” or maybe “Can I Super Size that for you?” We learned what Mr. Kroc and his team knew: if you ask a customer to try (or to buy) something new, they’ll often say, “Yes.”
In short, the opportunity to up-sell is really just acknowledging human nature and using it to your competitive advantage; most customers like to be friendly, agreeable and not seen as “rocking the boat” or inflexible in social situations. That’s why we NEVER finished an order without asking for an up-sell. And when I saw how successful the strategy was, it just made the process easier and easier.
The “Real Estate Up-Sell”—ASK for the appointment, contact information or more!
So, where does the up-sell come into play for the Agent handling internet or phone leads? As is so often the case in life, the key is to be clear and ASK for what you want—in this case, usually one of the following:
• An appointment (best-case scenario—when prospects are ready to see properties)
• Contact information (ideal for first-time callers or other prospects who may need a little more coaxing through the sales cycle)
• Opt-in permission (allowing you to continue marketing directly to prospects about new properties, special opportunities, etc.)
Of course, you may also have the opportunity to ask deeper questions to more thoroughly qualify your prospects—many of which may be standoffish anyway. The more you’re able to qualify each prospect, the more likely you are to be able to match them with the most appropriate available properties.
Be ready to respond to common prospect objections.
The more questions you ask, the more objections you will receive. Even after you’ve mastered to art of up-selling, you need to be ready to deal with at least occasional rejection. For example, I always make it a point to ask something like, “Have you had a chance to visit one of our homes in _______ community.” Often, I’ll hear, “No thanks—we’re just looking right now” or some other common diversionary reflex, but I’m always ready with scripts to overcome those objections and more. And the up-selling cycle continues…
Is all this difficult, nerve-wracking and harder than it sounds here? Of course, one of the main reasons you aren’t asking for the appointment already is because of fear. Just keep in mind what IBM founder Thomas J. Watson famously said about perseverance in business: “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
And remember, if a 15-year-old in a Hamburglar costume can do it, you can, too.