There are few marketers that I admire more than McDonald’s. The company that pioneered big, colorful pictures of food behind its stores’ cash registers and let us simply call out a number to order a “meal deal” deserves respect. And “Would you like fries with that?” may be the biggest revenue-generating sentence in the history of retailing.
But I think the company has begun making a “cross-selling” error at its drive-thru windows lately. It’s a mistake in the “protocol” that I’ve pointed out to bankers over the years when discussing building productive sales cultures.
That mistake is putting “sales” before service. Historically, McDonalds’ cross-selling efforts always came after a customer had already placed his order. You know the drive-thru drill: an employee welcomes you and asks if he can help you (goodwill), then he takes your order (service), and only then does he ask if you’d like to consider an additional item (cross-sell). Once you’ve gotten to tell the order-taker what you know you already want, you’re more likely to be amenable to the suggestion of adding, say, fries or a pie.
Recently, McDonald’s has rolled-out a number of new products. That’s of course created a need to make sure customers know about them. And sure, I understand that.
But I’ve found myself becoming a bit annoyed waiting at McDonald’s drive-thru windows lately. Through the decades, we’ve all become accustomed to hearing a quick, (and sometimes sincere), “Welcome to McDonalds, can I help you?” We usually know what we want, and have gotten the orders of the other passengers in the car. We drive up ready to speak. The focus had always first been on us, the customer.
Not anymore. Now, drive into a McDonald’s drive-thru, and the first thing you hear is a sales pitch for some Iced Frappa Mocha Whatcha-ma-call-it or something else before you can even open your mouth. The company has shifted the initial focus on what it wants, not what its customers want. One young lady took about ten seconds pitching something to me the other day before I could speak. Her pitch was so long that I struggled to remember my kids’ orders.
I’m quickly developing the habit of ignoring anything that is said and waiting for silence before saying, “No thanks. I’d like a ….”
Training customers to ignore most of what your employees are saying isn’t exactly a retailing best practice. I know that’s not the intention, but it’s fast becoming the reality.
This week, I found myself contrasting that with a retailer my family consistently has positive interactions with. The folks at our local Game Stop store almost always get the cross-sell formula right.
My wife brought my younger son to a Game Stop so he could use the gift cards he had received for his birthday. After quickly being acknowledged and offered assistance, they told the young man what games my son was interested in.
Without being asked, the store employee first looked through his used game inventory to see if he could save my son money. He ended up finding one of the games on his list in mint condition and for less money than we would have paid.
Only after helping my wife and son with everything they came in for, and having given my son useful information about his purchases, did he suggest a subscription to the store’s monthly magazine. After he described the benefits and cost savings on products that come with subscription, my wife signed my son up for it.
So they basically paid a few bucks to have Game Stop send them a marketing piece each month. That’s a pretty genius marketing move.
Had the young man attempted to sell them anything like a magazine subscription right up front, “No thanks,” would have been the reply. But he had earned their consideration (and goodwill) by providing great service in addressing first what they came in for.
As fewer and fewer customers are actually visiting our branches, our ability to cross-sell products and services during these visits is more important than ever. But as we step up those efforts, let’s not forget the importance of keeping our focus on service before sales.
Take a minute this week to remind your teams that the best way to “make” a cross-sale is to “earn” the right to ask for one in the first place.
What do you think? Let me know!