Five Tips For Boosting Truckstop Profits And Engaging Employees With Suggestive Selling

A subtle suggestion can add up to big sales for truckstop and travel plazas, and staff at Cash Magic Truck Plaza and Casino, which operates 22 locations, has turned suggestive selling into an art form.

Herb Hargraves, director of fuel and retail sales for Cash Magic Truck Plaza and Casino, knows that suggestive selling works, and he has the numbers to prove it. Simply having staff ask customers if they’d like to purchase a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, for example, made sales skyrocket. The company sold 17,000 of the candies in one quarter compared to 1,096 in the same quarter the previous year.

To boost sales, Hargraves has put together a robust suggestive selling program, combining the right products with employee training and rewards to get staff engaged in the promotion.

During The NATSO Show, he will lead a session on growing incremental sales. He shared five Great Ideas from his presentation with Stop Watch.

  1. Engage Staff.
    Prior to launching the suggestive selling program, Hargraves explained to staff why it was necessary. “We have to look outside of the box in order to grow our business. Growing our business is important so we can continue to give our staff cost-of-living increases and keep them employed. Explaining the reason behind it gave them additional buy in,” he said.

  2. Offer A Broad Range Of Items.
    Hargraves has found that offering a broad range rather than one item gets better buy in from staff. They like to be able to mix it up. For example for the fourth quarter, the company is focusing on all M&M and Mars standard and king size candy bars.

  3. Train Employees.
    Hargraves put together tips and tricks he distributed throughout the locations and had employees take part in role playing exercises. “The role playing was a big factor. We had quite a few employees who didn’t know how to approach the customer,” he said.

  4. Match Products.
    Finding a way to match the suggestive sell product to what customers are already purchasing can contribute to the program’s success, Hargraves said. “Instead of saying, ‘Hey do you want a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup’, they can say, ‘These Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups go really well with that Coke or those chips you’re buying,’” he explained.

  5. Provide Motivation.
    The chance to win something or a little healthy competition among staff can encourage employees to take part. Not only does Hargraves think of rewards, he gives the general managers the autonomy to come up with their own motivational techniques.



This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazineStop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations.

The magazine is mailed to NATSO members bimonthly. If you are a member and not receiving Stop Watchsubmit a request to be added to the mailing list. Not a memberJoin today or submit a request to receive additional information.

Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Stop Watch Magazine
Retailer Featured:
Cash Magic Truck Plazas and Casinos

Tell Us What You Think

Back to Truckstop Business