Here’s my technique for selling multiple products to the same customer…
…without bundles, coupons, heavy discounts, and losing your ass on margin.
I call it the “roast beef sandwich” strategy.
It works like this: Imagine your customer has a craving for a roast beef sandwich. They’re coming to your store to buy all the necessary ingredients.
There are certain things they NEED to buy to make a sandwich – bread, mustard/mayo, lettuce, etc.
But it doesn’t BECOME a sandwich until they buy the roast beef AND all the ingredients, and then put it all together at home.
All you need to know is what in your product offering qualifies as the “roast beef”, and what helps your customer transform a pile of meat into the sandwich they’ve been craving.
An example from my days in corporate retail at a home improvement chain:
We would constantly put the FLOWERS on sale, because we knew people who wanted those flowers were also likely to buy the pot, soil, and watering can.
Because they NEEDED those extra items to complete their vision of the perfect porch planter, it didn’t make sense to offer them at a discount.
What was the customer going to do, let the flowers sit outside in the plastic packaging and wilt?
In this example, the flowers were the roast beef.
The pot, soil, and watering can were the other basic elements of the sandwich – bread, mayo, etc.
And here’s the kicker – with some thoughtful cross-merchandising, we could sell the customer not JUST the roast beef sandwich, but the ENTIRE MEAL.
We got them in the door for heavily discounted flowers.
And we could often get them out the door with soil amendment, fertilizer, gardening gloves, hand tools, and maybe even a hose and nozzle.
In essence, we transformed a purchase of maybe a buck or two….
…into one north of $50, easily.
NONE of those items is what the customer originally came in for.
But we showed them the dream, and it just made sense to keep adding to the cart.
I call that moving beyond making the sandwich. Now you’re putting together a picnic, complete with plates and napkins and potato chips and cookies and maybe even a Mexi-Coke.
TL;DR – you don’t have to eat into your margin to up your sales. Take the time to figure out which item is your central offering – the one thing they can’t do anything else without (the “roast beef”). Put that item on sale, and make it a no-brainer offer.
Then have all the other necessary ingredients (full-priced bread, mayo, etc.) nearby. Your customers were already likely to buy the other ingredients – so now you can offer them at full price while still giving the customer a great deal.