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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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