As I was walking through Lowe’s last week to buy a replacement water filter for our regrigerator, I walked past the grills.
With the outdoor air temperature at 8 degrees below zero, seeing the grills “elevated my mood,” as they say in the world of psychology.
Amid the grill section was a display of accessories: aluminum pans, aprons, thermometors, utensil sets, pizza stones, grill covers, cookbooks, and variety packs of spices.
If I was buying a grill, my reaction to the accessories might be: “This saves me a trip to the grocery store to buy a pack of spices — and would the grocery store have spices that are specifically made for grilling? I don’t know. I better buy two packs. And my tongs are in pretty back shape. And this pizza stone is pretty cool.”
So my $399 grill purchase turns into a $600 sale. The $201 represents back-end sales.
Back-end sales occur after the first sale, which is called the front-end sale, while all subsequent sales are called back-end sales.
McDonalds owns the greatest back-end sales offer of all time: “Would you like fries with that?” (My local bagel shop asks, “Would you like any cream cheese?”)
The urban legend says McDonalds’ profits increased by 50 percent when it added the french-fries back-end offer. I wouldn’t doubt the legend.
Here’s the key to the back-end sale: it has to be closely related to the item that’s being purchased. Selling light bulbs amid grills would be a bad back-end offer, because the grill customer doesn’t want to think about light bulbs at a time like this.
Other examples of back-end selling:
• “Product” at hair salons
• Shoe polish at shoe stores
• Air freshener at checkout at auto-supply stores
• Amazon’s “other people have purchased” screen at checkout
• Insurance for iPhones
Back-end sales can be used with the selling of services, too.
My chiropractor sells pillows and back-supports that you install in your car. Although I’ve never seen it done, an attorney could sell fireproof safes (for storing your important documents). A consultant who’s selling a marketing program could offer a social-media book or a discount on a consulting session.