Upselling Master Class: How to Cultivate Lifetime Customers

Restaurant and business owners tend to make the same fatal mistake: they fail to recognize the potential value of each individual customer. In need of revenue, owners chase new acquisitions rather than developing their relationships with the customers they already have.

In the latest episode of Breakthrough, host Paul Barron explains how implementing a comprehensive upselling strategy can transform your business and increase your revenue. He also chats with Dana Krug, the vice president and general manager of food and beverage for Phononic—check out a deep dive of that interview here.

“You won’t be able to say ‘here’s a new product’ without having earned that right,” says Barron. “It’s all about getting inside the customer’s head and creating perceived value.” He recommends reading Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by market research expert Paco Underhill. First published in 1999, the book’s exploration of neuroscience and consumer behavior remains relevant for business owners today.

To succeed, upselling has to be built into your brand and designed to meet the needs of your existing customers. The new, higher-priced products also need to be relevant and thoughtfully implemented with insight and expertise.

Winery, restaurant, and lifestyle brand Cooper’s Hawk is one such upselling success story. Recently acquired by Ares Management for an extraordinary $700 million, Cooper’s Hawk built upselling into their business model with a wine club that now boasts over 400,000 members. As Barron notes, Cooper’s Hawk has “created a way to upsell to their guests 24/7.”

“Their wine program changed the game on how they were communicating to their guests,” adds Barron. “They’ve created a relevancy to [their customers’] daily lives.”

Visual cues, rather than a person pushing a new product, are also key. You want your customer to feel as though they are making the choice for themselves rather than having the decision forced upon them. Upselling takes time, and potentially multiple visits from a customer—repetitive business creates trust.

“If you’re not relevant at the right time and place, you lose the opportunity for the upsell,” adds Barron. “You’ll have to start rebuilding the chess game to get back to the point of being relevant to your customer.”

Check out the video above to learn more about the secret to the success of Cooper’s Hawk and the importance of guided products, placement, and messaging!