Fries with That?

In 2006, I had made several presentations at Hamburger University in Oak Brook IL. It’s quite a place. It’s a world class training facility that is rented out to corporations. It’s a four star hotel that Hyatt runs. It’s a museum and a testimony to Ray Kroc’s innovative and extra-ordinary contribution to business.

In the 1980’s the McDonald’s Corporation taught their drive through and counter sales people to ask one simple question with three words, “Fries with that?” The effect was profound and dramatic. Sales of french fries soared. It wasn’t long before late night comedians grabbed a hold of this phrase and had fun with it. It had become part of the american lexicon.

“I went into a McDonald’s yesterday and said, ‘I’d like some fries.’ The girl at the counter said, ‘Would you like some fries with that?’”

- Jay Leno

I don’t care what you sell, you can always up-sell. Clothes, software, cars, food, cameras, appliances, HVAC, even popcorn. Have you been to the movies lately and bought some popcorn? “For 50 cents more, you can have a twenty gallon tub!” The Up-Sell. This is an important principle to understand and apply, especially in a Down Economy.

Here is how it works. Once you have made the initial conceptual sale, let’s say a $300 camera. Providing you have established some measure of rapport, the prospect likes and trusts you, the timing is right and you are a competent sales professional, the conversation might sound like this: “That is an excellent choice. It will do everything we have discussed. I do feel obligated however to tell you about the Mach 5 option. The Mach 5 has all the features of the Mach 4 but with these additional 109 features for only $99 more.” The prospect says, “Wow…let’s do it.” You could stop there but why? You are on a roll. “What kind of camera bag do you have?” The prospect smiles, shrug his shoulders and says, “Camera Bag?” Now we are going over those options. The dance continues, “Cords, cleaner’s, extended warranties” (the list goes on and on.) Before you know it, the total sale is $899! More importantly the customer is delighted.

I can hear some readers, “Hey, I don’t want to be pushy!” Look, we are talking about simply asking a few more questions, understanding the prospects deeper needs. You are walking a mile in his or her shoes. You are revving up your “Empathy Engine” and they are delighted.

Two opportunities exist at the point of sale:
1) The Up-Sell of additional elements (add ons at minor price points)
2) A choice of two other options at higher price points

There is magic in THREES. Offer a choice of three yeses. Option One is what you agreed upon in the initial offer. The other new options are loaded with value and features. You never know until you ask. The key is to be low key, detached (almost indifferent) shrugging your shoulders immediately after the offer is made. In my experience, 30-40% of the time, they will gladly accept one of the new offers…hence, an Up-Sell.

As a consumer, when I am in the hands of a real professional salesperson, I appreciate the extra-time and options. As long as its done correctly, with tact, skill and detachment, I appreciate the choices. Remember, “Unassertive Sales People Have Skinny Kids!”

So are you hungry? How about a Big Mac….and hey, do you want “Fries with that?”

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