In my last piece I talked about the joys of being offered Fruit and Nut at WH Smiths when buying a newspaper. ( US Readers – this is someone trying to sell you a massive (1lb) of Candy )

We all have experienced up-selling haven’t we? The famous supersize me proposition springs to mind, but up-sells are everywhere. 

I have never taken up the WH Smith one, but I guess some must. Like so many opportunities for revenues, so much depends on how it is presented, coupled with the absolute need to measure its success and those staff or situations in which it works. 

There are a number of great organisations in the culture and entertainment sectors that, in my opinion get unselling completely right.

Training staff to offer extra products

Stats of opt ins for donations and other services online v in person. Why the difference? Staff!

 How can we get staff to sell better. Five key ways improve your upscales. to do it.

# 1 The Offer

The offer HAS to be right. Right here has so many elements. Does the offer compliment the organismal purchase, is it at the right price point, does it offer a real value or cost saving to the customer. I could list a whole range of ficticious and outlandish extra items, but just think – guidebook for museum, drinks with a sandwich or discounted checked luggage. If you can’t see yourself buying it – it’s probably the wrong offer

# 2 Script

I am not a big fan of over-scripting conversations with customers. They can be come tired false and sound er…… scripted. Your staff need several lines or justifications and value propositions as to why the customer might want to take up this offer. How will their day be improved or money be saved by committing now? Think about the examples I just gave – ‘If you buy a Guidebook now, you only have to queue once when you arrive’, ‘Why don’t you wash that down with a refreshing bottle of Coke’ or ‘You’ll save over 50% on airport prices’ The key with these statements is they need to hit at least one of three key areas – Convenience (to the customer), Enhanced experience or Financial saving.  We must give our staff a chance to hit one of these. 

# 3 Train

So, we have the offer, we have the customer benefit script or phrasing. What do we do now? We cannot just let staff loose on it. We must give them some basic training. How to perhaps spot customers in a hurray or may be more likely to accept an offer, not to offer drinks to someone who already has them and many more. A key piece of training is the ability to answer the most basic of questions around the offer. A customer does not want coke they want water – can they have that? Is there more to pay? Less to pay? How do you scan or code it on the till? This may sound simple, but if staff cannot give answers the offer will appear less attractive  / cold be abandoned. 

# 4 Measure

The offer seemed great, we thought customers would love it and we trained staff to deliver it. Did it work? Well the only way to do this is to measure it. It is vital that we don’t just look at stock levels and what we have sold, but the actual uptake of the offer. Of course, the offer may be success, but not for all staff, all days, all channels and all locations – we should look to measure across multiple metrics. We may have the option to change messaging at some locations, or even the offer. One of the largest differences we often see is staff performance. Do some staff need more training, or is the shift they work or position they serve at suffer from factors that hamper upsales. A simple spreadsheet looking at gross sales and uptake % should get you on track.

# 5 Reward

 What’s in it for me? Sometimes people think that staff asking this question don’t care, but all sales positions need, in my opinion some kind of reward for hitting targets or other metrics. These don’t have to be large in value, in fact some venues use awards or even benefits for the entire team when targets are met. The reward shows that as a business, you understand the staff are a vital part in delivering targets. One key consideration with rewards though is to build in what you learnt in the measure phase. Making sure that staff in areas that struggle to meet targets or on difficult shifts are not effectively penalised for working them.


Offers and Extra products can deliver a better experience for customers and improved revenues for business. We need to make sure that in all parts of the design, implementation, delivery and evaluation of offers that we are focused on aching the best possible results. 


This work has been made possible by support from Booking Protect