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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Selling Back-End Product

Selling Back-End Product

So-called "back-end" products are generally intangibles, like extended warranties, service and maintenance contracts, credit life policies, stain protection, and the like. The term "back-end," is typically used in the car business and it is used because these products are generally sold by the finance folks as add - ons to an already completed sale. The term will suffice for any industry, for our purposes.

The reason I am bringing this up is that most salespeople really do treat these products as an afterthought. It then follows that these last- second pseudo-presentations are received by and responded to by the customer in exactly the same fashion. Means "No." That, friends, is a classic case of shooting yourself in the foot.

The successful presentation and sale of these products can dramatically increase your income. Here's why: For one thing, there is a perception among salespeople and managers, alike, that these products are difficult to sell. That, friends, is rubbish. The truth of the matter is, it just takes some preparation and effort. Regardless, companies put a large premium on the sale of back-end products. They are very nearly pure profit. Your company wants that extra- healthy profit. To achieve that end, they pay big bucks to those that accomplish it. As an added bonus, you come away looking like a stud.

I used that word for a reason, and I have a story to illustrate. Almost thirteen years ago when I had first arrived in Northwest Arkansas, I was working selling furniture at a family owned furniture store. One day, very early on, the owner's wife stopped by. We had never met. She introduced herself to me and the announced: "I understand you're quite a stud." She was correct. And it wasn't just sales volume she was referring to. She made it clear that it was the impressive sale of profit laden back-end products that had her rapt attention. It's because I was making her house payment!

I wasn't a stud because I was magic or exceptionally talented. It was because I looked at my pay plan and sold, accordingly. I don't remember all of the particulars, but commission on these products was stair-stepped.  The higher the percentage of dollar volume related to back-end product in relation to your total sales volume, the higher your commission rate. The top rate was 35% - of the purchase price! If you want to see something disappear, offer to pay me 35% and tell it goodbye.

If you are not thinking like that, you are costing yourself, your family, and your company a bloody fortune. The ironic part is, if presented correctly, there is almost no extra effort involved.

Fear. As it so often is, fear is the reason that back-end products are not sold successfully. A less-than-confident salesperson is sweating the sale of their principal offering, the sofa or car or refrigerator. They are so relieved if they actually manage to close the sale, that they usually don't give a passing thought to meeting the rest of the customers needs. Think about what you just read, for a second. If you are perceptive at all, especially if you read my positions on relationship-based and integrity-based selling, that there are secondary and tertiary ways that you are killing yourself on this. We will discuss those extra, albeit less obvious, aspects of this later.

Here is what I want to impart, this time: How to sell back-end products. First of all, you had better get the back-end up front. Early and often, friends. Early and often. Yes, just like voting.

Perhaps you have previously read my position on when one should start to close. The answer is: At the greeting. If you start closing right after, "Nice to meet you, Bob," the real close is more of a non-close. The same holds true for your back-end stuff. "Hi, Mary. I bet you're here because you heard about the new maintenance program Nissan just announced." If you stay on your back-end offerings throughout the presentation of your principal product, the customer won't leave without buying it. They wouldn't dream of leaving that beautiful sofa unprotected. And they will be grateful to you for caring enough to tell them about it.

Some other time, we'll discuss methods for selling specific back-end product. What I want you take away this time is that for many, many reasons - not the least of which is money - making back-end product a priority will separate you from the pack. You will make a lot more money, you will have the respect and gratitude of your employer, and you will have a happy, loyal customer that now counts you as a friend.

Your feedback is always welcome! There is a place for comments at the bottom of the page. You are also welcome to send me an email at or even give me a call at 479-225-5892. Of course, I am all over Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Please join me there, as well.

by Kevin Connell