Sales Lessons from Starbucks

There are basically 3 ways to increase sales:

1 – get more customers;
2 – get the customers to buy more;
3 – get the customers to buy more often.

This morning, like every morning, I stopped at Starbucks on my way to work. Starbucks, besides being one of my all-time favorite places, serves up many great lessons for sales people, including the three from above. In our program, Selling to the Head Honcho, I reference famous CEOs, including Starbuck’s own Howard Schultz. I use the examples of CEOs to demonstrate to our workshop participants how these individuals view their products and what they sell. Howard Schultz does not, in fact, sell coffee. What he sells is a great experience between work and home. I use this as a lesson the help sales people visualize their own products and services and realize that what they sell is not widgets, but rather the experience that the consumer will have by buying your widgets.

Anyway, this morning on my way to get my morning fix, I realized (again) just what a great job of selling Starbucks does. Upon entering the store, I was greeted with an enthusiastic “Welcome to Starbucks” from the barista, a young smiling girl who looked new to me, eagerly standing in front of the counter awaiting my order.

I asked, “So, what’s new?” (not that I really ever order anything new, but I’m always interested to hear the responses). She pointed me to the Vanilla latte with coffee jelly. Not for me, just my regular old bold coffee. Ordered the Grande (medium) and then she asked me whether I wanted the Venti (large) for just an additional $0.40? I didn’t take the offer but good up-selling attempt. Since it’s breakfast time, she then asked me whether I wanted to add a breakfast sandwich? Since I just had my breakfast at the house I opted to pass, but good cross-selling attempt. Is that all? Nope, undaunted, she came back with, how about a little something from our pasty shelf? Since I really was quite full, I politely passed, nevertheless, not feeling at all offended with her persistent attempts (perhaps because of the nature of what I do). Nonetheless, 3 attempts to increase the size of transaction – she is indeed very well trained.

Finally, she gave me a redemption card, buy a 7th drink and get a free one. Pretty typical strategy used by retailers. They also have an option to fill up the details to receive updates, good practice as well because collecting customer’s database and mailing them often makes them remember you and get to customers ‘top of mind’. Besides that, she also gave me the receipt and on the back of the receipt it advertised that I would get 50% any beverage when I presented this receipt on the same day after 3pm at any Starbucks.

So, how are you getting your customers to buy more and buy more often?

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional sales training firm based in Chicago, Boston and Toronto, providing sales coaching, sales management training, implementation and sales training.