How To Cook Up More Sales Williams-Sonoma Style…

By: Dave Dee on: September 6th, 2012 9 Comments

What better way to end the summer than with a cookout…and a sale!

This past weekend in addition to the backyard barbecues and pool closing parties, retail stores were in full force with Labor Day sales.

Among them, U.S. gourmet cookware store Williams-Sonoma was offering some good deals…but even more impressive was their check-out procedure.

The sales person at the cash register was taking customers through a series of questions, all designed to create more sales…

“Did you mean to get the single ice-pop maker or did you want the one that makes three at one-time?”

“Would you like extra reusable plastic pop sticks with that?”

“Did you see the great specials we are having today like the pie-maker that is 50% off or the table top sale in the back?”

The sales person was actually doing something that most business don’t even think to do.  Through friendly suggestions, she was trying to prompt the customer to increase the size of their purchase.

You see even though in traditional sales training a lot of time is spent on the close, once the sale is closed, many businesses end the conversation instead of continuing it.

A mistake that costs mucho “DEE-nero”.

Even a good salesperson might only close one in four people. And an average sales person is probably more like one in eight.

That means that for every one sale made three to seven people are walking out empty handed.

If your average sale is $100, then for every one sale you make, you’ve lost potentially $300-$700 (or more) in sales.

There are ways to recapture these lost opportunities and, without a whole lot of effort, increase your sales substantially.

Using Williams Sonoma as an inspiration, here are some of the best ways you can sell more:

Go for an immediate upsell. Hardly any businesses go for the immediate upsell, but when you do, twenty percent of your prospects will say “YES.” Not only did the Williams-Sonoma sales person rattle off several questions in search of the upsell, she collected customer information to follow up.  Within a few days, Williams-Sonoma sends the customer an email thanking them for their purchase, offering them free shipping, recipes, entertaining ideas, new items available, and, of course, another sales offer.

Using recipes as an example, they feature a different product with each recipe and highlight more information about the product.

Obviously coming up with your own list of upsell questions will give you the opportunity to offer an immediate upsell directly after a consumer purchases from you, but you should go even further.  Add a follow-up email campaign to keep the conversation going with your customer.  But don’t just rely on emails. Create a system for gathering your customers’ addresses so you can send them direct mail too.

For instance, you could offer to mail a free CD or DVD of a live presentation you did which compliments your product or service or that demonstrates how to use your product or service. Then include an upsell offer with the free item.

Go for a back-end sale. Williams-Sonoma uses direct mail catalogs for back-end sales. This is a great way to sell your product because people tend to be in a more relaxed state of mind when looking at your catalog versus looking online. They have fewer distractions and are more likely to spend more time looking at and devouring information about your products and services.

When looking online, people tend to be more in a search mode, wanting to get information quickly.

Plus, because consumers don’t have to go online to see it, they can use your catalog anywhere—like while relaxing in their easy chair or waiting for an appointment.

Catalogs work exceptionally well too. According to the Direct Mailing Association (DMA), more than 89.6 million Americans bought an item from a catalog last year. The DMA also said that when retailers tried cutting back on the use of catalogs a couple of years ago, their “sales plummeted.”

If you’ve never used a catalog, consider adding one. It doesn’t have to be a big thick book. Create a catalog that targets a specific audience.  Or try tailoring your catalog for a specific event you are holding.

If you don’t think a catalog will work for your business, other forms of direct mail are still a good option for making a back-end sale. This is because direct mail will still give you the advantage of catching consumers in a more laid back state causing them to spend more time looking at your ad.

Build their list. If someone comes to your place of business, they are a prospect in the market for whatever you are selling. Instead of letting people leave the store empty handed, why not have an employee standing at the door giving out a free gift to shoppers who don’t buy in exchange for their address?

Using direct mail you could immediately send a message within a few days to get them back in the buying mode for your products and services.

For example, you could send an irresistible offer with a deadline such as a sale, freemium with purchase by a certain date, a limited-edition item or limited-time offer.  Offer special purchase terms like three payments over time instead of one immediately.

This does two things. It brings people back to your business that you might have otherwise lost and it puts more good prospects in front of your sales people making it easier for them to sell stuff.

This technique is exactly what got me to buy Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing program all those years ago. And it’s what will help you sell more in your business too.

The reason this works so well is that it gives you an opportunity to continue your sales pitch and send prospects into a follow-up sequence where you can test different offers, up the ante or change the terms of your offer.

Use these lessons from Williams-Sonoma in your business to increase your sales. And remember to use a combination of both online sales tools and direct mail to get the biggest response. Because while using one or the other will definitely improve your bottom line, the real power comes when you combine them both.

Want more insider information on how to leverage marketing and sales to improve your business?  Click here to claim your special free bonus of $633.91 worth of marketing materials.


Dave Dee is one of Dan Kennedy's most successful students. Dave saw Dan speak over 16 years ago at one of the Peter Lowe Success Events when he was a struggling magician. He bought Magnetic Marketing and as you will hear when he tells you his story, his life changed in less than 90 days. Dave became a very serious student of Dan's by attending my seminars, joining his coaching group and most of all from implementing what he learned. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

9 Responses

  1. I keep watching for these every time I enter somewhere (immediate upsells, backend sales, and list building). It’s actually a sport. :-)

  2. David Hunter says:

    I’m with Atilla! I love seeing how different business try to sell their products.

    My mom always taught me to suggestive sell in her restaurant. Works like a charm!

  3. Paul Copcutt says:

    The fast food industry are certainly some of the better masters at this approach – fries with that, extra toppings, soup and sandwich, pop and chips for x extra – just my toonies worth.

    (By the way your headings for the comments boxes etc are mis-aligned, may be missing valuable feedback if others give up or do not realise when they keep getting an error message – just an extra toonies worth!).

    • Mike Stodola Admin says:

      Paul…thanks for the comment and in regards to your extra toonies worth…what browser are you using…we don’t see any issues on IE or Mozilla. Thanks!

  4. I just saw this on Ryan Deiss’ Kindle offering last night.
    I bought in and IMMEDIATELY (before first sale was closed even) upsell and then 2nd upsell.
    I bought the first upsell which doubled his earnings on me.

    I love to see our principles working (even when it’s on me!)

    • Mike Stodola Admin says:

      Yeah, it’s funny how the sales techniques we teach even work on people who know the sales techniques. You can’t trick human nature, just rely upon it and provide people with solutions to their problems, fill a need or achieve a goal and you not only make money, but help others in the process!

  5. Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New York. Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!

  6. […] instance is of upselling through a simple act of conversation. In one of the events hosted by the retailer, […]

Leave a Comment