January 6, 2020
“You got your freaking Christmas tree ONLINE?”
My best friend from high school roared, slapping her leg. She is not an internet person, like me. Then again, I don't suppose there are many people who buy so much as their groceries online, let alone entire houses, and this is the moment when I'm just going to place this emoji 🤷♀🤷♀🤷♀ riiiiiiiight here—because I am guilty of both. All three, in fact. The only thing I haven't ordered online, yet, is a husband—but that's just because I went to Costa Rica and picked him up myself. Like in-store pickup, except I got him in a bar. As one does in their twenties. 🤷♀ <–This emoji again.
All of this ~waves hands~ either makes me a psychopath or someone with a very high tolerance for risk. I prefer to believe the latter. Then again, I did spend the entire 8th grade walking around with the name of the boy I liked embroidered onto my sweatshirt, so you could absolutely make the argument for the former. I won't stop you. Go ahead.
But let's assume it's about risk. I'm a risky nutball, this is true. But there IS one area in my life where I prefer to take no risk at all. VERY LOW tolerance for risk, when it comes to this…thing. Don't like it. Won't tolerate it. Will do anything to avoid. Even though most people take this risk every day, and you know what it's with?
Specifically, money that should be in your pocket.
Allow me to use the fine Christmas tree that I ordered online as an example. Maybe you saw my Insta-stories the day the guy came to deliver it. He's a local fellow: they own a few Christmas tree stands here in Philadelphia, and so they decided to create an online delivery component in case you didn't actually want to strap a Christmas tree to the roof of a Zipcar and then make a complete ass of yourself, trying to get it up two flights of stairs as a woman all by yourself. You'd probably poop your pants, trying to get that thing up there! Chevy Chase would clap. It would be a disaster. And so, these folks decided to take a problem and solve it—which is what any business in the entire world is.
Enter: me getting my Christmas tree online, delivered to my living room, complete with stand and a bucket of water, feeling very, very smug.
It was during this moment, however, when I recognized a fatal flaw. Not in the tree itself, which was wonderful. And not in the service one bit. But in a conversation I had with the gentlemen who delivered it. It went something like this:
“This is great! You are wonderful! Would you like a chestnut roasting on an open fire?! Some eggnog? A Christmas cookie?! They aren't very good, but they're better than my meatballs. Can't cook a decent meatball to save my life. But look! This cookie is only burned on one side. She's all yours, if you want her!”
“Glad you're happy with the tree, ma'am.” (I hate when people call me ma'am.)
“YEAH, there was no way I was going to be able to haul this up to my apartment by myself. You are a saint!”
“Ha ha,” he chuckled.
“I have no idea how I'll get it down, come January, but I'll worry about that then.”
“Oh, we also offer tree removal.”
And then? And THEN? Are you ready for this? AND THEN, THE MAN EXITS STAGE LEFT. Says nothing more about it. Leaves. Says bye-bye. AND THIS IS WHERE I LOSE MY SHIT.
Not in front of him or to him or behind him or on top of him. But I kind of do, in my mind. Because I can't help but think: my God, what a tragic business blunder! You're going to tell me you offer removal, but not sign me up for it right this very second?
So. Much. Lost. Money.
Not only was that a golden opportunity to add another $30 to his bottom line (what they charge for removal), but there were a million places they could have prompted that sale. They could have offered it as an optional add-on when I was originally checking out. (And should have.) They could have sent me an email every week, reminding me to schedule my tree removal. (And should have.) They could have called me on the phone to ask if I wanted them to come get it. (And should have.) Hell, they could have just had that guy walking around with an app on his phone, manually charging people's credit cards when he delivered their trees, and scheduling it right on the spot.
But he did none of this. Rather, he relied on me to remember to sign up for it later.
And this is a very grave, gravy-covered mistake. And oh, how often all of us do this! Which is why we need to talk about it. Because, remember kids: selling is about HELPING. What other ways can you help your clients and your customers? And…are you systematically asking them if they want your help? Or are you letting them figure it out for themselves?
I guarantee: the person who lets their clients figure it out for themselves is the most broke bitch in the room.
So here is a little list of ideas and places where you can and should be prompting your clients if they want MORE HELP:
- As an optional add-on in their shopping cart.
- As a one-click, one-time up-sell offer after they've bought / booked. (Systems like Kajabi and Sam Cart (aff links) will automatically charge the same credit card if they accept.)
- On the thank-you page, once they've bought / booked. (This is prime real-estate—you've got 100% of their attention. And super easy to do even with basic scheduling software like Acuity (aff link) and Calendly.)
- In their email confirmation.
- In a post-purchase email sequence. (Set this up to add as much extra value as possible—then make a time-sensitive special offer to help them even more if they want it.)
- In a special email you have timed to go out one week / one month / three months after purchase.
- In the actual box a customer receives, if physical goods. (I'm always amazed at what a prime opportunity this is to upsell or cross sell, that never gets used!)
- Inside the PDF, if a digital product.
- Embedded as a special offer in between course modules, if an online course.
- At the end of your conversation, if via the phone or Skype.
- In a follow-up email, post conversation.
- Via targeted ads to existing customers and readers and fans.
- In your email signature. (I love Wisestamp for this—you can change signature based on who you're talking to and what they've bought.)
And the list goes on. Because this is how you make more money. And this is how you help other people even more. And this is how you stop taking risks with revenue that you should have had, but didn't.
Now here's the kicker. If I were you, I'd put your offer in all of these places. It's NOT overkill, especially if you have some fun with the copy and turn it from a sale into a really great, helpful experience. Are you mad when the store offers to wrap your Christmas presents for an upcharge—or are you RELIEVED?
No matter what, you should always be lining up your next sale.
Don't ever let a client project “end” without making an offer to begin another one. Don't ever let a client “buy” and then be done. And if you don't have anything more to sell them, then perhaps you should. Perhaps this is where your digital product or course comes in handy—it doesn't take any more time out of your schedule, but provides extra value, should your clients and customers want to take you up on it. Or the reverse is true: if you're already selling digital products, you can take it as an opportunity to add more $$$ to your bottom line by offering an add-on to consult. Or you can get really creative and offer other people's products as an affiliate, after any sale. The point is, no sale should be a stand alone sale if you can help it.
And no Christmas tree should be delivered?
Without also offering to take it away.