On Selling: Learn These 5 Successful Sales Techniques from a Fast Food Giant

April 10, 2008


We can learn a lot from fast food selling practices, regardless of the type of sales we’re in.

There I was, waiting in line at McDonald’s (shhh, don’t tell). And honestly, I started to get a tad cranky — if it’s called “fast food” shouldn’t it be fast?

On this particular occasion it wasn’t all that fast. As a result, my hunger pangs, magnified by the seductive smell of the fries, got me into a hypercritical state. I started thinking all sorts of negative thoughts until I started to observe what was going on around me.

From what I saw, those counter folks were doing things right. You might have some issues with the food itself, but the service and the sales techniques…those were right on target.

Here’s a look at what we should learn from McDonald’s sales techniques.

‘Do You Want Fries with That?’: The Benefits of Cross-Selling

When you order a burger and the counter attendant asks, “Would you like fries with that?” you’re experiencing a marketing tactic called cross-selling. This sales technique encourages customers to purchase additional products and services that are related to the item they are already buying. Cross-selling doesn’t just work with fast food; it’s also a highly effective technique for any type of sales. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve cross-selling success in your business:

Related: Seth Godin and Tara Hunt on Over-Delivering

1.  Greet Every Customer with Enthusiasm and Respect

First of all, the success of cross-selling depends not only on the quality and value of the product, but also the customer service experience. Customer service begins with the very first encounter, either in person, through email, or on the phone. It’s true that you only get one chance to make a first impression. Always greet every customer with enthusiasm and respect.

2. Listen to Demonstrate That You Are Helpful and Approachable

Many sales opportunities arise by just listening to the customer. The simple skill of listening demonstrates that you are helpful and approachable. A good salesperson should be able to take information from the customer and inform them of all the products and services that would be benefit their needs. Customers appreciate being informed of additional products and services that could provide an added benefit to the item they already intend on purchasing.

3. Product Knowledge Is the Key to Successful Sales

Product knowledge is the key to successful sales. Successful salespeople know every detail of their products from how they work to when to use them. Furthermore, salespeople must relay this knowledge to the customer. It’s essential to helping the customer understand why they can benefit from your product. The product you are cross-selling should either be related or complementary to the original item the customer purchased. Selling an add-on product or service that offers no additional value to the original product is unlikely.

Related: Trust: An Essential Ingredient in Business Success

4. Sales Must Be Initiated. Don’t Forget to Ask

Many customers walk out the door without ever being asked whether they could benefit from related products. It should go without saying, but it is necessary to ask the customer whether they are interested. Even the best products and services won’t sell themselves so sales must be initiated.

5. Follow-Up for a Long-Term Sales Relationship

Salespeople lose cross-selling opportunities if they don’t take the initiative to contact the customer regarding their original purchase. Making a quick follow-up call shows the customer that you truly care about their needs and not just the initial sale. This is a perfect time to find out whether they could benefit from related products or services. Most of all, this simple act will open the door to a long-term sales relationship.


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