Upselling Retail Dietitian Services to Shoppers Part I – Thinking Like a Salesperson
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
As a retail dietitian, you may have traditionally provided store tours, presentations and other programs for customers at no cost, but models are changing. In some instances, supermarket RDs are being asked to “upsell” by offering a higher level of service to customers for a fee. For example, promoting individual consultation appointments to shoppers. While many RDs may feel uncomfortable charging for their services and integrating sales techniques into their role, it does not have to be painful. This article will review how to be an effective salesperson by learning strategies that engage customers and focus on value-added services that meet client needs. To begin, it’s important to know the traits that highly successful salespeople typically possess:
- Assertiveness. The quality of being self-assured and confident about your services and ways that you can help your clients.
- Self-Awareness. The ability to identify your own emotions, understand how they work, and use them to build strong customer relationships.
- Empathy. It begins with listening and observing your customers so you can really feel what they are likely to be feeling. You can then adapt your behavior to their needs.
- Problem Solving. Helping your clients visualize a more desirable situation and working on a plan to move them forward. Communicate the solution you can help provide in a way that makes it easy for the customer to make a decision.
- Optimism. A person with a positive personality is certainly more approachable and someone you want to do business with.
When it comes specifically to selling individual services such as consultations for your retailer, it’s important to talk about the benefits of your services and the real-life situations to which customers can relate. You need to realize that the only relevant attributes of your services are the ones that customers agree they want or need. Focus on how the customer can use your services and expertise to help them achieve a goal or solve a problem, such as weight management and diabetes prevention. Some other general benefits you can discuss include:
- Time – Consider how could your service can save a customer time. Meal planning for a special dietary need? Providing simple, healthy recipes and shopping lists? Guidance in the food aisles?
- Convenience – Make sure that your services are convenient for today’s consumers. Do you provide consultations out of normal hours? Can you offer convenient, special diet meal kits? What would “convenient” look like for your customers?
- Expertise - Some customers will pay to learn from the expert. Make sure that your customers understand your unique credentials and qualifications.
- Personalized Service - Most customers want their personal needs to be known and be made to feel special. Personal consultations offer this.
In part 2 we will look specifically at techniques for selling individual consults and identify what practices align with your personal style and your customer’s needs.