The Art of the Up-Sell How to sell more high-end products and put more in your pocket

© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2002
Author: Richard A. Brenner
Page 34-36

The Art of the Up-Sell
How to sell more high-end products and put more in your pocket

By Richard A. Brenner
Chief Executive Officer, Amarr Garage Doors

Many garage door dealers can get by with selling low-end products for a while, but successful dealers have learned one important lesson:

To grow the business, you must sell a mix of doors that include higher-priced products.

Without those higher-end sales to round out your product offering and your margins, you become too dependent on price as the main selling point.

Improving the Bottom Line
In today’s lagging economy, it is more important than ever to diversify your offering and try to sell upscale products first. These products will not only increase your sales but will also increase your profit margin.

A dealer can make more money on the installation of one upscale product than on the installation of two lower-value products, and do it in less time. Remember that your installers get the same amount whether they install a low-end or high-end product. When you sell the high-end product, you pocket the difference.

“If dealers understood how much more margin they can make on a more expensive door, they would spend more time up-selling,’’ said one sales manager.

Sell Quality First
A key factor is to offer the upscale product first. This means making sure you show them the literature of the more expensive product before you show them anything else.

Once you have showed them a door for $450, it is almost impossible to sell them a better product for $850. This example uses residential doors, but the principle applies to commercial doors as well.

Be Professional
It is harder to sell quality when you look second rate. Make sure everything about you and your company speaks quality. Your personal appearance, your trucks, your business logo, and business cards are making a statement.

For that professional look, use a written proposal (you can find forms at Office Depot, Staples, etc.) stating the exact services to be performed. Make sure all quotes include the higher-priced product at the top and the less-expensive alternatives further down the page.

Know Your Upscale Options
While steel doors are still the norm, carriage-house doors are becoming more popular. Despite its higher cost, a carriage-house door should be offered as a first option for many homeowners, especially in upscale neighborhoods where many of the doors are white steel.

A carriage-house door gives their home a distinctive look that all their neighbors will envy. It can also give them something to aspire to own down the road and make you top-of-mind when they want to upgrade the look of their garage.

Another way for a dealer to up-sell is by adding windows and window options. Explain to the homeowner that, for a little bit more, they can have a door that will stand out from all the others in the neighborhood. Window options also provide the dealer with another opportunity to increase margins.

Most higher-priced steel products feature a longer warranty. This is always an important selling feature because many homeowners want the garage door to be a worry-free part of their home.

Don't Forget the Operator
When selling a higher-end door, don’t forget about a higher-end operator. A homeowner will be much more satisfied if both the door and the operator perform quietly.

Quiet operation is best achieved with the more expensive operators. Why shortchange the homeowner or yourself by selling a cheap operator that could mean a call-back later on?

In fact, more than 90 percent of the operators sold at retail are one-half horsepower models. What is your percentage?

The Skill of Up-selling
Successful salespeople thoroughly understand their upscale products. By showing the features and benefits and being able to answer any questions about the product, you can gain the customer's confidence and make the sale. Include technical data like the R-value of a door and how an insulated door operates more quietly and can reduce heating/cooling bills.

Some people do not up-sell because they are afraid of rejection … of being told “no.” You must face rejection in sales. If you do not quote the high-end product, you will have no chance of making an up-sell.

By starting to quote upscale doors, you can convert 10 to 50 percent of your sales to these products. It takes time, perseverance, and practice.

Not everyone drives a Yugo. Look for selling clues in your customers’ appearance, their car, and their home. If you see an indication that they appreciate the finer things in life, offer them a better garage door.

A Winning Philosophy
People need to be sold. Tell them about their options. Excuses such as, “We cannot sell insulated doors in our market,” or “People around here do not pay that kind of money for garage doors,” are defeatist philosophies that may end up killing your business.

In your retro-fit sales, strive to sell at least 50 percent high-end doors. Remembering these keys will improve your up-sell skills and improve your business:

1. Show the high-end doors first.
2. Know your product.
3. Look for up-sell clues in the customers’ car, appearance, and home.
4. Show the features, but stress the benefits.
5. Ask for the order.

Anyone can sell a low price. But it takes a skilled salesperson to sell quality and value.

Selling is an art. It's a skill that is developed. The sooner you develop this skill, the sooner you will build a more profitable business.