Episode 67 – How to Add $$ to Every Sale

Feb 14, 2018

This Episode

Mark Stephenson & Marc Vila

You Will Learn

  • The 4 Rules for Up-Selling
  • Why buying MORE is better for your customers
  • How to not feel sleazy about getting paid more for every order
  • Brainstormed ideas of ways to speak to your customer about other products

Resources & Links

Episode 67 – How to Add $$ to Every Sale

4 Rules for Up-selling

How would YOU like to add HUNDREDS of dollars to t-shirt order?
Bring up your next t-shirt sale by 40% or more?
Real people, business owners just like you, get results like this from helping their customers see what they didn’t know they wanted.
Follow these 4 Rules for Up-selling and earn more starting on your very next order!
Just like so many of our podcasts this one was inspired by our listeners, by our own business careers and research on what the current trends are in sales and marketing. All of which leads us to our discussion of the 4 RULES FOR UP-SELLING:
1. Don’t Assume What Customers Can Afford
Not because of the way they dress, they look, what organization they work for – OR what price they tell you they’re looking for.
2. Don’t Assume You Know what a Customer WANTS
OR that THEY know what they want! Explore every opportunity by giving your customers a chance to spend more. Remember – many of them have never ordered custom apparel before, and if they have it probably wasn’t from someone like you!
3. Ask the Right Questions – Not just the Direct One
There’s a big difference between running down a checklist of what you offer – do want hats? do you want ponchos? do you want jackets? do want a sign? – and asking about the customers business or event in order to lead them to more options.
Listen to the podcast for some great specific examples of how to do this.
Once you no longer assume the customer knows what they want and what they want to spend you can recommend alternatives.
Offer a better shirt and tell them why.
Offer a different process or additional logo placement.
Consult – don’t just take the order!
Naturally, there is more on the podcast – ready to listen yet?


Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast, your best source for information, news, tips and tricks to get you off the ground running, and earn success with your custom apparel decorating business. So, get ready to soak up some knowledge!

Now, here are your hosts, Mark and Marc!

Mark S: Hey, everyone! Welcome to the Custom Apparel Startups podcast. My name is Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And I’m Marc Vila, from Colman and Company. Today, we’re talking about how to add money to every sale; rules for upselling.

Mark S: Right. And I do have to put out that it’s episode 67, so the CAS podcast now must start taking Social Security. That’s the age!

Marc V: Oh, really?

Mark S: That’s the age. I’m feeling that, too. Every minute of it!

Marc V: So, upselling. We could talk a little bit about what that is and what that means. What do we have here? You have customers that you get, I hope. If you’re starting a business brand new, or if you’re an existing business, you have folks that want to buy t-shirts from you; hats, t-shirts, whatever you do.

The goal is to increase your sales, right? You’d like to do better. So, what do you do? You want to sell them more. If they buy t-shirts from you, or polos, it would be great to sell them hats, too.

Mark S: First of all, this is not a new concept. This is not something that we just thought up. It’s why when you go in and order fast food, which you shouldn’t, but if you do, if you go in and order fast food, it’s why they ask you if you want large fries or a large drink. Or they try to upsell you to the apple pie, or whatever else that they have.

Because they found that you actually will sell more to each customer, if you just ask them for more.

Marc V: Yeah. It’s the dessert cart, you know. Everywhere you go, this is part of it. For one, I want you, as a business owner, to not have reservations about upselling, not think that what you’re doing is you’re being malicious or you’re taking something from your customer, or you’re just trying to get more money out of them.

You’ve got to get out of that mindset, if you want to upsell.

Mark S: Often, we try to avoid the “sell” word, the s-word. We try to avoid it. We’ve done a whole podcast about selling, that we don’t call selling, specifically to have you folks be a little bit more open to what we’re going to be talking about.

But upselling truly is kind of offering your customers other things that you can provide them, that they may not know about.

Marc V: And they may not have been thinking about. What’s really great about upselling is it will oftentimes lead to more satisfied customers. If you think about if you go, and you’re buying an outfit – you’ve got a night on the town. It’s an anniversary or something like that, and you’re going to go buy a new dress or a new suit, or something like that.

You go to the department store. You knew you wanted a dress and shoes, right? Or you wanted a shirt and a tie.

Mark S: Have you been following me again?

Marc V: I have! So, that’s what you wanted. You go there, and the person who works at the store is trained in upselling. But what they’re also doing is providing you a really nice service. Because you get there, you pick out your shirt and your tie, or your dress, and they say “Hey, by the way, since you’re getting this, did you think about a new belt with that? Or think about maybe getting an accessory?”

All of a sudden, you are excited about something you didn’t think about. You spent more money at the store. Then, you go out, and you feel that much better. So, everyone kind of wins in this situation, when you’re thinking about it that way.

Mark S: I know that I just said that you shouldn’t be afraid of selling, but everything you described is why I don’t go to Men’s Wearhouse anymore. Because really, I just want a shirt! I don’t want to come out with a $300 suit and shoes, but I will!

Marc V: You will.

Mark S: So, I don’t.

Marc V: So, you need to master that as well, as a custom apparel decorator and business owner. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

Mark S: There are rules. We’ve got rules for adding dollars to every sale. We’ve got some rules for upselling, so let’s jump into that.

Marc V: Alright. I want you to go with rule number one.

Mark S: Rule number one; don’t assume what customers can afford. I love this. I’ve got a quick story from when I was in the car business, a long time ago. Don’t assume what people can afford, by the way they look, first of all.

When I was selling cars, we had a couple of guys come in that were covered in grease, basically. They were wearing cutoff shorts and work shirts. They got out of a crappy car. They were coming into a brand new Nissan dealership, and you should have seen the salespeople scatter, when these two people came in.

Because you’re looking at these guys, and you just assume they don’t having any money. They actually ended up buying matching Nissan Maximas on an American Express card, that day. So, that is a good – it’s the first time I had every seen an American Express Gold Card, or realized that you could have that much credit!

But that’s a great obvious example of not assuming what customers can afford, by the way they look.

Marc V: And you also don’t want to assume what they’re willing to spend on something, versus just what they can afford. You might be dealing with a particularly large business, like a school or something like that. And you’re thinking “Well, these shirts, I’m going to offer them for $12, and I know that’s the price.” Or $14, or whatever your price is for the garment.

And you kind of can make an assumption that that is all that they’re willing to spend, or want to spend. You want to not make that assumption, as well. So, you need to make sure that you offer things to people.

If you’re to the point where you’re saying in your head “Well, I wouldn’t do that,” -.

Mark S: That’s two good ones, actually. The idea that just because somebody works at a school or for a charity or for a church, don’t assume that they don’t have money. Just because they come in looking for a $10 shirt, don’t assume that they can’t afford an $11 or $12 or $15 or $20 shirt. They may just have the preconceived idea that that’s what it should cost, or they’ve spent that money in the past.

Marc V: It’s the same, like when you go shopping at the store. You’ve got, say a $100 budget for this new outfit. That’s how much you were going to spend. You do have some extra money. You have more money than that. When you get there and you see the accessory, now all of a sudden, you say “Now, I’m willing to spend more.”

Mark S: Now it’s worth it.

Marc V: It’s worth it. So, when you’re talking to your customers, like for example, you mentioned the church. If they come in, “I know I can get shirts for $14, from my last vendor. I’d like to use you, because I got a good referral.” That doesn’t mean that they’re capped at that. Don’t assume that.

Don’t assume that they don’t have the money. Don’t assume that they’re not willing to spend it. If you offer them something else, they might be really happy to have gotten that offer.

Mark S: Yeah. There are a lot of ways to do this. Basically, you just need to give them a reason to spend more with you. We’ll talk about this a little bit later on, but it may be that that $10 or $14 shirt that the church bought last time, it may be that it was a really crappy t-shirt, that nobody wore more than once.

You could explain that to them, and you can give them other options.

But the other thing that you said, which I really like, and I run into this on the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group all of the time. A lot of you are going to judge what other people will spend or can afford, by what you will personally spend on something, or what you personally can afford.

I do this all the time myself. We ordered some shirts for our Service Department recently, from SanMar. They all look great. They’re a little bit more expensive than the ones that I’m wearing. I looked on SanMar.com, and it’s a $20 shirt, wholesale. I would never spend that amount! I would never spend $20 on a shirt. This was a $12 shirt, because I’m in the business, and I know what the costs are, and things like that.

But none of them had any problem with a $20 or $25 or $30 shirt, even though that’s not money I would spend. So, give your customers the opportunity to make their own decisions, not based on what you think.

And that goes with quality, too. We’ve got a bunch of customers who, they may do a print on a direct-to-garment printer or an OKI, or they may do a vinyl design. And they may look at it on that shirt, and just say “You know what? That’s really not good enough. I don’t like that. I would not buy that shirt. I hate that font. I don’t like this color.”

But that has literally nothing to do with what your customers are interested in.

Marc V: It makes me think of two things. For one, say we’ll go on Facebook and we’ll take some pictures of a vinyl cutter from the Cut N Press system, and we’ll post some pictures of that. Inevitably, somebody will comment, and they’ll say “How much is it?”

We send them a link, and they see that a cutter is not $100. Cutters are thousands, for a good brand cutter. They’re over $1,000. They will “Oh, my God! That’s so expensive! Who would waste their money on that, when I can get one at Michael’s for $299?”

That person’s perception is much different than – there are people listening to this right now, who are saying “I own $10,000 in cutters!” So, you can’t assume anything beyond that. I think that’s so important.

The other, in mentioning vinyl, is we’ll talk to a customer on the phone with Colman and Company. They’ll say they’re trying to get their order within a certain dollar amount. Maybe this is the credit limit they have to work with, $400. They’re trying to get some extra supplies, to stock up. “I really want to keep it under $400.”

So, they stop there, and the phone call ends. Well, that same customer has come back, and we’ve talked to them again. “I just found out that you guys sold vinyl. I don’t know why I didn’t know. I saw some emails or something. I didn’t put two and two together. I just bought $300 worth of vinyl, too.”

So, you might be thinking, if your customer has a particular budget, say $400 for the garments, they actually have maybe an $800 budget. They don’t realize that you also do caps, or that you could do tote bags. They’re looking online, they’re about to order online, some custom made tote bags to match [inaudible 11:16], not realizing you offer that service.

Mark S: You brought up the cutter thing, and I do want to say this, before we go on to rule number two, because I think it might be part of the next couple of rules, as well. The cutter situation is interesting. It’s very much like the shirt, because there are very inexpensive ones out there.

Imagine if someone had called in, and you said the $1,000 cutter, or you showed them the $1,000 cutter, and what that was like. If you’re not prepared or interested in that kind of a price range, then immediately, you kind of shut off.

But if that customer had come in looking for a $300 cutter, or looking for a $10 shirt, and you showed them that, and then you talked to them about the other things that you have to offer, and why they’re better, then it’s much easier for someone to buy into that next level up.

So, somebody that comes in for a $10 shirt or a $12 shirt is much more likely to work their way up to a $20 shirt, if you give them the benefits that go along with it, and they recognize the value, than somebody that comes in for a $20 shirt, and that’s all you have to offer. Right?

Marc V: The rule is don’t assume what they can afford. Don’t assume what they’re willing to spend. And don’t make assumptions based on what you are willing to spend or what you would do with your money, versus what other folks do. Everyone has the right to spend their money in any way they want to.

We talked about that in our previous podcasts, that as a business owner, you’ve got the opportunity. If you want lavish decorations for your store, that’s up to you, where another person might walk in and say “Why would you waste all of this money on displays? People just want to come in and buy a shirt.” Everyone’s got a different opinion, so don’t make assumptions.

Mark S: Okay, so number two is another assumption rule. Don’t assume what your customers want. This is more about some basic salesmanship. If a customer – what I should say is, don’t assume that your customers know what they want.

Marc V: Okay. Don’t assume that your customers know what they want.

Mark S: Right. And it goes back to kind of the same thing. We’re talking about ways to make more money. The first rule was don’t assume what your customers can afford. You should always offer your customers more, the possibility that they could spend more.

You want to make sure that you have the opportunity to make more money, and that they have the opportunity to spend more money. The other part of that is not to assume that the customer knows what they want.

They may only have experience with X. If you are a direct-to-garment printer, or do full color t-shirts, or you do glitter vinyl and things like that, you are probably dealing with somebody that walks into your shop or picks up the phone, or that you meet at an event, that doesn’t have any experience in the custom apparel business.

You may know all about it. You may know what the difference between screen printing is, and transfers, and direct-to-garment and vinyl. You may know all of that stuff, but the customer doesn’t. You know what the possibilities are, and the customer doesn’t.

Part of upselling is make sure that you listen to what the customer wants, and then tell them what’s possible.

Marc V: Alright. I’m not ignoring you. I was hoping to see if I could bring up the comments, and possibly be able to read or answer some comments or questions.

Mark S: That would be weird. Normally, we’re just talking to ourselves.

Marc V: I know, but I figured I’d try to bring it up and see if anything – “slide left to reveal comments and reactions.” I’m going to see what happens. It’s up. It’s on my phone, now. It’s on this mobile device I’ve got.

So, when we assume what our customers want, this can happen when you’re stuck in kind of a rut in your business. You get kind of the same orders. “All of my customers come in, and they all want the cheapest t-shirt. They all get this.” You kind of get put into this mode. It’s typically because you had one, sometimes just one, or maybe a couple in a row, that really were just trying to find the most inexpensive solution for the garment possible.

Do not continue to go forward with that. Don’t assume that they know what they want. When you come in, you immediately bring out the $10 shirt option. Don’t assume you know what they want. They might come in and say “Yeah, I’m really looking for a really good deal on a shirt.” Do you know what that means?

There was this wedding dress show that’s on. Have you seen this show? I was forced to watch it with ladies in a hotel room.

Mark S: That sounds like a good story. I’d like to hear more, but not right now.

Marc V: Anyway, they’re like “Wow! This is a really good deal on this dress.” It was like $9,000! So, when somebody says they’re looking for a good deal, don’t even assume what that means. When we don’t want to assume that they know what they want, you also want to talk to them about possible package deals. Right?

Mark S: Right.

Marc V: They come in, “We’re getting ready to do a big company picnic. So, what I would like to do is we want to get shirts for everybody, awesome company picture,” all stuff like that. “Okay, great! This is what we can do. We can do this on the front. Do you want to do the back?” Blah blah blah.

The next thing you say “Okay, are you doing any giveaways?” “We were thinking about it.” “Okay. We could do a tote bag. Inside there, we could put a coaster, if we want. We could do a koozie, a coaster, a little tote bag. Then, you could maybe print something on the side, like a little thank you note to the company, and you could put it all together like that. I can actually package that all for you.”

Mark S: And give you a great deal. That’s why you came in. So, kind of think about it as – it’s not quite, but almost like the impulse buy stuff by the checkout aisle of the grocery. You want to make sure that your customer sees and is aware of all of the other things that you can sell them, even if it’s right before they check out.

Just a couple of examples. Somebody may walk in, for example – some of our customers do, and we talked about this. We tried to think of a more positive example, but this seems to be one of the good ones. People do a lot of “rest in peace” shirts.

Marc V: Yes. I thought you did not want to -.

Mark S: I didn’t. When you’re going to a memorial service, what typically people will do is they’ll come into a custom t-shirt place, or they’ll call, and they’ll be just looking for the person’s name, and the date of birth and death. And that’s going to be the memorial shirt that they wear.

What they don’t know is that you can put somebody’s picture on there. And how much more impact would it have, if you could offer everyone to bring in five pictures of that person, and put them on different shirts in different sizes? Maybe the kids wear a picture of when that person was a kid, and the adults wear something different.

That’s something that no one has ever seen that before. Or it’s very unlikely that someone has seen a full color memorial photo on a shirt. So, they would not know to ask that. Don’t assume that they only want a one color vinyl word on a shirt, just because that’s all they’re aware of.

Marc V: I can’t tell you how many times, since I’ve been in this industry, that I’m talking to some friends or some family or something, and I’m like “Everyone, let’s make some Disney shirts! Let’s make shirts, to go to the My Little Pony movie!”

Mark S: By the way, we’re not interested in any comments about copyrights or trademarks. Let’s save that for another podcast.

Marc V: But you know, when we talk about people, if you go to Disney, if you’ve been there, people have family and group Disney shirts all the time.

Mark S: They do.

Marc V: And it doesn’t mean that they have Disney logos or anything on it. They just say like “Today’s our magic! 2017 Spring Magic!” Stuff like that. They have everyone’s names on them, and all stuff like that.

You distracted me completely!

Mark S: I did, sorry. That’s okay. I’ve got another example. That was a good one. And that is, did you know that -?

Marc V: I’m going to distract you, because I’ve got to get you back.

Mark S: No problem. Did you know that when people call up ColDesi, if they’ve never seen or talked to us before, they never ask about an embroidery machine and a vinyl cutter at the same time? It just doesn’t happen. The reason it doesn’t happen is, speaking of distractions, the reason it doesn’t happen is because no one is aware that that’s a good combination, or that you might be able to get that from the same company.

So, what we do is we don’t assume that you know what you want, when you call ColDesi. We know that you want to get into the custom apparel business. Maybe you ask about embroidery. But we know that this is a very successful combination for customers. Being able to do embroidery and vinyl is a win. So, we offer that.

And the difference is about 20%, on the price. So, someone comes in looking to spend X. They end up spending X plus 20%, because we offer them a better solution than what they’re asking for.

Marc V: And you could look at that as, although it is an upsell, because they spent more money with us than they had planned to before, which is what we want you to do with your customers. However, when it’s in good context, and it makes sense, you’re empowering your customers to make those decisions.

Mark S: Yes. Now, before I interrupted you, you were talking about selling contraband Disney-branded apparel.

Marc V: No, no, no. You don’t want to do that. But people will say “Hey, we’re going on this trip. Can we all get together, and will you help us make t-shirts together? What we want it to say is like white letters on the front, and say this.”

I say “Okay,” and I’ll go on my computer, and I’ll design something with those words, but with some actual design behind it. We’ll add a little icon or a little logo, add some color, some in glitter and some in opaque colors. And they’re blown away. They’re blown away, and they love it.

So, you’ve got to do that with your customers, when they say “Yeah, we want tan shirts with black lettering on it.” That’s as far as their creative mind will go. So, you turn around and you say “Okay, I’ve got the tan shirts, but I’ve also got these white shirts, that I was thinking about for the ladies. And instead of just doing the regular brown color that you wanted on the other shirt, we want to go ahead, and I’ve got this really cool gold glitter, so we could do that. Let me show you what it would look like.”

You give them a sample. Now they want that, and they’re really excited. They didn’t even think that they wanted it.

Mark S: And when they came into your shop to buy a shirt, they were thinking that the shirt in their head was worth about $12. Now, the shirt you’ve just described is worth $25, and they’re excited to pay for it. So, it’s great!

Marc V: Yeah. What’s our next rule?

Mark S: Before we get onto rule number three, someone flashed a sign at us saying that the signal keeps breaking off. It goes in and out. I apologize for that. There’s nothing we can do. It has to do with the signal between us and the interweb.

But we are recording this is a few different ways, so we’ll post a recording. We’re also going to publish this podcast on CASPodcasts.com, shortly, and the new secret site that we’re working on, that we can’t talk about.

Marc V: Then, it will be available in tons of places! Not just through iTunes, on the website, but we’re going to be on every streaming site we could possibly be on, and every podcast, radio type of a site we could be on.

Mark S: 2018 is going to be big, for the CAS podcasts!

Marc V: Also, since we’re recording the podcasts here, we’re also just not going to stop our podcast in the middle, and try to fiddle with the computer for a half hour, and then jump back in.

Mark S: Are you sure?

Marc V: Yeah.

Mark S: Because that’s compelling TV!

Marc V: We’re just going to continue on. Then afterwards, we will realize, as we mentioned in the beginning, that this is our first time doing this, if we need to fix anything. Which maybe we do, maybe we don’t. I have no idea.

Mark S: So, rule number three is ask the right questions, not the direct one. First of all, rule number one is don’t assume what customers can afford, by the way they look or what they asked for. Don’t assume what customers want, or that they know what they want, by what they ask for or what you think that they should have.

Number three is ask the right questions, not just the direct ones. The way Marc had described an upsell was perfect. So, if you are in the embroidery business, for example. Someone comes in, and they want some embroidered polo. Part of it is for a company event.

You could ask the question, “I also do caps. Do you want caps with that? I also do bags. Do you want bags with that?” Or you could ask the open-ended question. “So, you’re doing a company event. It’s going to be outside, right? What’s the weather going to be like?” “Oh, it’s going to be really sunny. We’re in Florida. It’s going to be 1,000 degrees out, and humid.”

“You know what? Have you thought about how great it would be to have caps with them? Because you’re going to be outside, everybody is going to be sweating. You’re going to be playing games, whatever. Having a cap with your logo on it, that would be great! What do you think?”

Marc V: Yeah. “What do you think about that?” The open-ended questions are fantastic, when you’re talking about being the expert on this stuff. You need to consider the entire event. If your company is ordering – and this can be so simple, in some ways. You are talking to a business owner. They own a home security service company, and they’re talking to you, because they want to get the logo embroidered on the polo, so all of the people who visit the houses, they wear a uniform, basically.

“Do you have a particular pants or skirt or shorts policy?” “Well, they’re supposed to wear just khaki pants or a nice skirt.” “Okay, I actually have sources where I can actually make sure that we can get every single person the same exact ones.” “Oh, okay!”

You might not even be decorating that.

Mark S: You might just be passing it through.

Marc V: You’d just be passing it through, by also offering, “Well, okay. Have you thought about caps? Are ballcaps allowed to be worn?” “Yes.” “Okay. What’s your plan for that?”

If you offer promotional products, “Are they going to have a clipboard or a pen? I’m not trying to make sure you have to buy everything in the world here, but when I’m talking to you about your business, and you’re saying that you want them to have a uniform, when I deal with all of my other customers, these are all of the things that they think about.”

“They think about do they need ponchos and umbrellas.”

Mark S: I was just going to say that!

Marc V: I know you were going to say that.

Mark S: You saw me underline it on my notes! I just want the record to say that he stole that one. “So, if your people work outside,” you’re right. If somebody comes in and they actually do just need 50 of the $10 t-shirts for the landscape crew.

Marc V: And ponchos.

Mark S: You’re going to ask them “Do they work in the rain? How lousy do your employees look in the rain? Or would it be better if they had a poncho with a hood, and it had the company logo on it? Would they be more easily identified that way?”

Marc V: And when you’re talking to your customers, the same thing. You might be talking to an IT company, and what they do is they do onsite service for a lot of businesses. They all wear shirts like we’re wearing now, long sleeved button-up shirts, and they want everyone to have this logo on it.

Well, you need to talk to them about everything else that goes along with that. Be the expert. “Okay, when your team goes out, let me ask you a couple of questions. Do they bring bags, like laptop bags? Do you want that to match? We can provide that service.”

“Further, what’s your customer like? The people you’re going to visit. Have you considered offering like a little promotional product to give to, say the manager or the person in charge, or some of the staff that you’re working with? Is it a particularly clientele, that golfing might be something that they like, like golf towels?”

Mark S: Are you talking about a bribe?

Marc V: A bribe! No, a promotional gift. Every time you go, you bring something. It could be anything from as simple as mouse pads and koozies to pens, no matter what it is.

Mark S: I just want to point out that your checklist is the right kind of a checklist to do. You’ve got a lot of kind of open-ended business related questions, like “Who are your customers? How are they treated? What do you want them to remember about you? What environment are your workers working in?”

That is a great checklist for you to develop, to make sure that you are communicating with your customers, the same thing. What that checklist is not, is “Did I ask them about hats? Did I ask them about ponchos?” What you don’t want is you don’t want to be the one with the clipboard, going “Okay, do you need hats? Do you need ponchos? Do you need pens? Do you know we sell pens? Do you need pens? No.”

What we’re talking about is asking the right questions, not just the direct ones. So, the right questions gets you into their business, and helps you upsell at the same time, and provide some real value.

Marc V: And when you’re upselling, you are again, providing an actual really good service for them, being the expert, which is that rule. Be the expert. Now, when they come to see you, they want to talk to you about these things, and they’ll call you up, “Hey, we’re getting ready to do this event. We’re going to do our big summer company event. What are things that I need?”

“You mentioned about some of your other customers do this, as well. What do they get?”

Mark S: You become the marketing expert.

Marc V: Yeah. You become the expert. You’re helping them. Then, they come to you not just because you make a good shirt or you embroider a good cap, but because you’re the expert. Now that you’re the expert, you’ve also got like a level of financial power.

Mark S: And now you’re on to rule number four.

Marc V: Okay.

Mark S: Be the expert. Before we do that, though, I did have a couple of notes. Because we posted on the Custom Apparel Startups Facebook group, the question. We let people know that we were doing a podcast on upselling today, and we asked for people’s experiences with it. And we do have a good one here.

Marc V: Okay. I saw something here.

Mark S: Lori [inaudible 30:46], who is a great member of the CAS group, and we did a success story on her and everything, she does a lot of packages. So, one that she said is when someone with a small business comes in and wants to get three t-shirts in DTG, “We sell them a package of five, and one polo, for $105.” That’s a nice deal there.

So, she goes from three to five, just because she has kind of a standard amount that she’ll discount. And she adds the polo in, so now you’ve kind of made a polo customer.

I asked specifically because she does embroidery, too, and they direct-to-garment print those polos sometimes, as well. So, it doesn’t matter the equipment that you have. You can offer more stuff. She always does a great job with that.

The other one that’s got some actual numbers to it, which I really like, is Beth [inaudible 31:35]. She was talking about, she’s got an embroidery business. “For business customers, I’ll embroider a hat to go with their t-shirt order. The last customer loved the hat so much, they bought 50 of them.”

I just want to put this in monetary value, because she sold those 50 shirts for between $15 and $17 each, so she took a sale, and added an extra $750 to it. An extra $750, because she included the hat with the order. She asked about hats. She showed them what is possible.

Marc V: I really like, here, she mentioned that she didn’t charge for digitizing. This was maybe part of that sales process, to say “Actually, I can convert your art to stitches, for embroidery. I’m not going to charge you any fee for that,” knowing that this could turn into a $750 sale, that that $20 digitizing fee that may have been charged, got consumed right into that, beautifully.

Another example that I’ve heard Joe say – he is the upselling manager.

Mark S: He is the Sales Manager.

Marc V: He’s one of our Sales Managers. He manages our team of sales and customer service representatives, and he’s worked in the business forever.

Mark S: And has a business.

Marc V: And has a business.

Mark S: Yeah. He does embroidery on the side.

Marc V: I love the way he talks about this all of the time, and I’ve heard him tell customers great advice, and he does it for upselling. That if somebody wants like a really, really cheap shirt, that he’s going to make almost no money on, per garment, I should say, then he’s going to charge them for the art.

If you go up to Nike, “I’ll put anything on it you want, for free. I don’t charge you for the embroidery. I don’t charge you for the t-shirt. I don’t charge you for the Digital HeatFX. I don’t charge you for any of that. Whatever you want to put on that is free,” I think in one location, whatever his rules are. That’s an upsell technique.

Because what you’re doing is if you take a garment, like you mentioned a $12 shirt, and you sell it for $20 or $24, and you’re charging a fee for that, etc. But if you upsell them to the $20 that you’re now retailing for say $40, you can see that your profit went from $12 per garment to $20 per garment.

Mark S: And the customer is happy, because it seems like they’re getting a great deal, not having to pay for those services. And honestly, they’re going to be happy with the better shirt.

Marc V: Yeah. And really, they are getting a better deal, because they got a better shirt, with free artwork. So, they are getting a better deal, too. Again, you have to think about it, how everyone wins.

Mark S: That’s rule number four. So, we’ve got don’t assume what customers can afford. Don’t assume what customers want or know what they want. We’ve also got ask the right questions, not just the direct one.

And the last one is for you to be the expert. That is recommending better alternatives, as a great way to add sales dollars and value to your customers, and that’s just what Marc said.

The idea that the person that comes in looking for a cheap shirt, or they say they’re looking for an inexpensive shirt, you can say “No problem, sir. I can do all of these vinyl one color shirts for $12 apiece. No problem. Here’s the shirt. Or you know what? This is advertising for your business. Yes?”

And if they say “Yes,” “So, how long do you want them to be wearing the shirt? Do you want the shirt to last a long time, or is this something that you want them just to wear once, and throw away? Is this something meaningful, that you want to keep? Is this going to be good for your advertising?”

The answer is always going to be “Well, I’d like my customers to be able to keep it for a long time. It should last forever!” “Okay, great. I can do the $12 shirt, but take a look at these two better quality shirts that I’ve got available. The image is going to be the same, but the shirt underneath – you’ve got a favorite t-shirt right? So, it’s going to be somebody else’s favorite t-shirt. It’s going to cost you $20 instead of $12, but they’re going to keep it.”

Marc V: You know what’s amazing about that? I had like this epiphany moment. Not really, but I’m exaggerating.

Mark S: I like that you used the word. That’s great!

Marc V: What we run into is folks looking to get into the t-shirt business. What do they do? They request a sample, and then what do they do with it? They attempt to destroy it. Right? That’s what all of you did.

Mark S: They’ll stretch it. They’ll wash it in hot water.

Marc V: Yeah, wash it in hot water, with triple the bleach. Then, put it in the dryer with rocks. And they attempt to destroy this garment. Right? Then, in the end, you’re satisfied with the results. So, you say “Yes, this is acceptable. I’m going to now buy this t-shirt system, and I will be a business owner.”

So, you do that. Then, you go and you find the cheapest brand shirt you could possibly buy.

Mark S: Which we do not use, by the way.

Marc V: And that’s what you sell to your customer. What was the point of the rocks in the dryer, if you’re not upselling your customer to something good quality? You were concerned about all of that, so don’t put it on a garment that’s going to fall apart.

Mark S: And we get that tech support question and complaint quite often. Definitely something worth talking about is that if you sell your customer a cheap shirt, the design will wash off faster. It will stretch, and be discolored.

We tested quite a few shirts just recently, with the Digital HeatFX system. We’ll try to maybe link to the article.

Marc V: It’s a cool article.

Mark S: But there was a variety of results. Some shirts that were expensive, when you washed and dried them, they actually lost their shape. And because they lost their shape, so did the design.

Marc V: Yeah. The shirt itself actually twisted. Then, of course, the collars.

Mark S: The collars fray. We really got into it.

Marc V: Or the curl on the polos. So, what you can also do is talk to your, if you are going for business, and you’re out there and you’re selling, and you’re hopefully upselling, this is another thing that you can do, another upsell before you’ve even made the sale, before you’ve even gotten the customers. If you are talking to somebody, “Oh, I like the embroidery on your shirt. Who did that for you? I’m actually in that business.”

You’ll see that, and if you see the faded color, the curled up, or really wrinkled, “I’m in the business, actually, myself. I do embroidery and t-shirt printing, and all of that stuff. If you want to get rid of that curl thing that’s happening, or you want the shirts to be wrinkle-free, I’ve got a bunch of awesome garment options that you’ll probably like better than that, if you’d consider me for the next time.”

“Actually, I’d love to replace this shirt. I hate have to try to iron these things down.” “I actually have some really good garments that are no-curl collars.”

Mark S: I love that idea.

Marc V: So, the upselling can begin in the initial sale, in the initial offer.

Mark S: And while we’re talking about [inaudible 39:18].

Marc V: Okay, let’s do it.

Mark S: Is that very few customers are going to do what Marc just described, to your shirt, on purpose. Not many of your customers are going to look at their shirt like this. They look for flaws.

Marc V: I always look at shirts from four inches away. I walk up to people and I -.

Mark S: I’m going to have to spray that. Yeah, so again, that’s part of don’t assume what your customers want. But when you’re the expert, then now it’s your responsibility to give them options. Those options may be less expensive, when it’s appropriate. But frequently, they’re more expensive.

Let me put it this way. They’re a better investment. So, you’re not only trying to sell somebody something extra, so you’ll make more money. But somebody that comes in and wants that $8 shirt, because they bought the cheapest Gildan that was on closeout, from a screen printer, eight years ago, and it was $5.

Just because somebody has that experience and that expectation, doesn’t mean they don’t really want something better, once they know what’s out there.

Marc V: Yeah. So, I think that you’ve got a little bit of homework to do, if you want to do something. You should take a look at these four rules, and see which one of those you’re breaking right now.

Mark S: Which four of those you’re breaking right now.

Marc V: Which of all four are you breaking right now? Then, we talked about questions. You should start, just do a brain exercise, and write down like three or four or five things that you could ask every prospect. Or maybe not everyone, but these are options. “I’m going to ask at least two of these six questions, for various types of customers that I talk to, about them, about their project.”

Ask if it’s indoors or outdoors. Ask what the weather is going to be like. Ask if they’re offering giveaways or accessories. “What’s your customer like? When you go to their house for that house call, what’s it like? When you go to their business, what’s it like?” Talk about all of these things. Ask some questions.

Write down a list of canned questions, so you can train yourself to think that way. And ask them. It’s a simple question. You might not get an awesome response, your first time doing it. But as you practice it, you’re going to get better at it. Then, the questions are just going to come to your mind.

Mark S: If you’re watching this on Facebook, then what you can do is, as you come up with those questions, why don’t you share them with everybody else? I think this is being broadcast on about five different Facebook pages, so you can definitely do that.

And while you’re thinking of these questions, also think about the fact – the fact, not the assumption or the estimation of the whatever – but the fact that Lori turns like a $60 three-shirt order into a $105 package. And that Beth made $750 extra on one order, because she talked about caps.

Marc V: I learned a lot of my upselling techniques and stuff, working at an auto parts store. They had some training on how to do this. The reason that I liked it a lot was because when you’re offering all of this stuff, it was all things that people should be doing for their vehicle.

So, somebody comes in, “I want brake pads. I want the cheapest brake pads you’ve got.” “No problem. If you just want the economy pads. They’re louder, but you don’t care about that. But do you have brake grease? Do you have the stuff to loosen up the bolts?”

Mark S: “How was your vision, the last time it rained? Are your wipers still working?”

Marc V: Yeah. Just mention all of these things. Almost 100% of the time, somebody would leave with like PB Blaster spray. “Oh, yeah. I haven’t changed the brakes in this car. The bolts are going to be stuck. Thanks for mentioning it. I don’t have any grease, or I don’t know if I do. I need to get some for that.”

And we would offer the brake pads. So, almost every time, they would not just leave with the brake pads. They would leave with the brake pads, plus everything else. And if you go to Best Buy, just be aware of when you shop, and how it’s done. If you go to Best Buy, and you tell them you’re looking for a camera, look at all of the accessories they point you to.

Mark S: And if you’re already a ColDesi customer, and you’ve got an Avance 1501C, and you got the Cut N Press package with it, or you got our 3X Business Bundle, which is the Avance and the SpanglElite and the cutter, then think about how that process went, when you talked to us, and you ended up technically being upsold, because we offered you a better solution.

And how much more money that you’re making now, because you can offer embroidery and vinyl and maybe bling, and you can approach the market a little bit more holistically, and how good that was for you. So, do that for your customers, too. And again, think about that extra $45 that Lori made, the extra $750 that Beth made, and see if you can’t do that for your business.

Marc V: Well, this is great. You have to do this. Every big successful company out there that you look at, all has their own rules and art of how to upsell and increase sales amongst their own customers. All of the big companies do it. You should do it, too. It is the reason why there are things at every checkout line that you go to, just hanging, for you to grab.

These are all things that they believe that you would like, statistically you would like, so do the same with your customers. Pay attention to what your other customers are buying. Offer that stuff to everybody, and get better at it, and practice it.

That’s really a key to success, and making more money.

Mark S: I agree. Last thing, I’m going read these one more time. I’m going to make them available in the show notes, if you are driving, and you can’t make your own notes.

Rule number one is don’t assume what your customers can afford, based on what I can afford, the way they look, or where they work. Don’t assume what customers want, or know what they want. You need to ask the questions that help get you to that point. Ask the right questions, not just direct ones. Don’t have the checklist of “Hey, did you know we sell hats? Did you know we sell cupholders?” Don’t do that.

Ask great questions. And be the expert, when it comes to custom apparel. You’ll get inside somebody else’s business, and then you will be called again and again. And don’t forget about the people out there that are actually making money doing this. We don’t make this stuff up!

Okay! Thanks very much for your attention. I’ve got to go and apply for Social Security, for the CAS podcast. 67! I want that check. I don’t know how we’re going to cash it.

Marc V: This is going to be a trilogy of podcasts.

Mark S: Yes! I forgot.

Marc V: We’re going to two others on how to add money to every sale. It’s going to be all about upselling, and some of it’s going to be a little more science behind it. And others, it’s going to be a little more [inaudible 46:47].

Mark S: Is that going to be a fake trilogy, where we do the trilogy, and then we come out with The Hobbit? No, we’re not going to do that. It’s going to be an actual trilogy.

Marc V: No, we are going to that. There’s going to be the prequels.

Mark S: Thanks everybody, for paying attention! This has been Mark Stephenson, from ColDesi.

Marc V: And Marc Vila, from Colman and Company.

Mark S: You guys have a good business!



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