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Upselling – Timing Is Everything

Upselling – Timing is Everything

On a recent business trip to Ohio, I drove across our beautiful state via the Pennsylvania Turnpike. During my first rest stop, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I decided to buy a fresh cup of coffee. The woman who worked the food counter had a great sense of energy and enthusiasm – she was obviously a morning person. “How may I help you?” The pervasive aroma of brewing coffee, fresh-baked pastries, sizzling bacon and fried eggs filled the room and created an appetizing ambiance.

When it was my turn I ordered my coffee, pulled a five dollar bill out of my wallet and as I handed over the money to the woman, she asked, “Would you like a breakfast sandwich – they’re fresh?”

So there I stood cash in hand, in the presence of an upbeat person who invited me to taste the food which filled the room with its enticing aroma. A positive response added $2.50 to my total. After she handed me the coffee and breakfast sandwich, along with a nice “thank you,” I stepped to the side to add a little milk to my coffee.

I overheard the next transaction in which a customer ordered a cup of coffee and sure enough, this woman made the same suggestion which resulted in another breakfast sandwich sale. This added another $2.50 to her cash register. Being curious, I waited in the lobby, ate my breakfast sandwich, and watched this counter person serve more customers. She sold an additional four breakfast sandwiches in about five minutes.

This woman’s sense of timing was outstanding.


She waited until a customer’s wallet or purse was out, with cash in hand and then she asked her upselling question along with the value proposition, “They’re fresh.” Wow, I thought – that’s an additional $10.00 every five minutes which could translate into $120.00 an hour.  As I walked back to my truck, I remarked to myself that this woman understood how to upsell.

For many professionals upselling is one of the least understood business behaviors, which can have a most dramatic impact on revenue and profitability.

Opportunities to upsell abound in every segment of business. When executed with courtesy and skill along with a good sense of timing, upselling can add significant revenue to orders.

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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