The Before and After Sale
There are opportunities for you to help your customers and prospects (and earn yourself a profit) by helping them with the things they need before and after sales you’re trying to make to them.
During a brainstorm session with a client who needed ideas for generating additional revenue for her business, I made the suggestion that she “find her fries“.
When I say “Fries” I am referencing one of the greatest phrases used to generate millions of dollars in additional revenue for McDonald’s (and other burger joints) around the world…
Do You Want Fries With That?
McDonald’s figured out the best way to increase their sales wasn’t to try and get their customers to buy more burgers (they just bought one!), it was to sell them something that they might want now that they had a burger… Fries! (or a Coke, or a Hot Apple Pie, or McDonaldland Cookies, etc.).
What do your customers need AFTER they buy whatever it is that you sell?
Car dealerships have this tactic down pat.
They’ll sell you warranties, rust treatments, Scotchgard™ fabric treatments, and a ton of other things you never knew you needed (until you bought a new vehicle).
Car dealers have taken it to such an extreme that it’s become a caricature, but if think about one or two items your customers might be interested in after they’ve made a purchase (and you do it with the intent to help your customer — not rip them off), this can be an effective technique to incrementally increase your sales.
If you sell pet portraits, your customers might naturally need to buy a frame to display your work in a more appealing way. Or perhaps they’d like a prints of the painting made that can be used for notecards. Or maybe they’d like a coffee mug featuring the image.
If you sell retail shelving for grocery stores, perhaps your customers will need touch-up paint to keep their shelves looking shiny and new even after customer bang into them with shopping carts.
This after-sale technique probably isn’t new to you.
You’ve likely bought an extra fry or two during a trip to Mickey-Ds and you know how it works — but you probably haven’t tried to apply the concept to your own business.
Another method is sell your customers items they need before they buy your product or service.
An example of this might be a guitar shop that sells lessons prior to trying to sell an expensive guitar to someone. Or a web hosting and design company that offers professional evaluations of business websites to people who are in the early stages of trying to decide whether they need a new website or not.
A big benefit of finding an item that an ideal prospect needs right before they have need of what you sell is that it instantly qualifies them as a person who will have need of your services soon.
If you’re company that provides gutter cleaning services for homeowners, perhaps you’ll want to sell some sort of DIY gutter cleaning tool. It gives the homeowner a chance to try doing it themselves, but you’ll be in a position to come to the rescue when they decide it’s not worth the hassle and they should hire a professional.
You don’t even have to offer these Before and After products/services yourself.
Sign-up for affiliate programs where you can earn a commission by simply recommending complementary items that are sold by other businesses and giving a special link or discount that attributes the sale to you.
You just need to think about the path your prospect takes that leads to hiring you or buying your product.
For me (a guy who sells custom brainstorm sessions), I know that my ideal prospect values creativity and has a problem to solve — so perfect Before items might be recommending books or courses on creative thinking and problem solving. I can link to creative thinking books on Amazon or courses on creative thinking via Udemy. I might even recommend brainstorming tools like dry erase boards, creative card decks, or sticky notes.
If you’d like to explore Before and After Sales in more detail to see how it can help your business, I am developing an online workshop called “Find Your Fries: Ideas to super-size your sales“. If you’d like more details or to be alerted when the course is ready, just click the link and reserve a spot for more information.