Pictured is Mullican Flooring's Chatelaine Collection of hardwood flooring in Provincial Hickory. The product is available in 4- and 5-inch widths.


"Would you like to supersize that?" This phrase may be losing its popularity, but it remains a great example of upselling. A well-trained salesperson always offers something extra to add value to the product he or she is selling. It may be a stylish necktie to accompany your new suit, rust protection for the undercarriage of your new vehicle or an extended warranty on a new household appliance.

Why do they do this? Simply stated, it has the potential to increase the bottom line. Also, it is usually an easy sale. The customer has already committed to your product. Upselling is nothing more than offering a convinced customer something extra.

There are three basic upselling offers: a discount-related product, a volume discount and a combination package. The most important step is how you approach the upsell.

First is to get to know your customers. Talk to them. Find out in which room they plan to install the flooring, or why they chose that type of product. Gauge your customer's personality and goals to know which upselling offer to use.

Some people will say "no" automatically. If they do, don't panic. You haven't lost anything by asking. They're still going to buy the original product. When you bought your last new suit, did you put it back on the rack because the salesperson asked if you needed a new tie? Of course not. You either bought the suit or added the tie because the salesperson suggested it.

Just as that salesman can offer a necktie, flooring salespeople can offer extras. For example, let's say your customer has decided to install a hardwood floor in her living room. You could upsell by offering an exotic wood, such as Brazilian Cherry, to serve as a border. Borders of contrasting wood can create a unique look for very little additional expense.

Another upselling extra is to recommend multiple widths of flooring to create a distinct appearance. If your customer is looking for that one-of-a-kind look, you might upsell by suggesting 3-, 4- and 5-inch widths of rustic plank.

However, if your customer prefers matching widths but is still looking for originality, try upselling with hand-sculpted flooring. This will give her a unique, vintage look in each board.

Talking to the customers and learning what they expect from a floor often can help you upsell a more expensive product. If you're selling hardwood, explain the differences between grades. Each of the several grades of hardwood flooring available has its own characteristics. If you discover that your customers see character marks as flaws, they won't be happy if you show them rustic flooring. Often, simply being made aware that there are different grades of flooring will influence their decision to purchase a "better" grade.

Another upsell tactic is to explain the characteristics of quarter-sawn flooring. Quarter-sawn hardwood is less likely to shrink, splinter, warp, or cup. This is especially important to a customer who wants to put it in a kitchen environment.

Regardless of the room or type of flooring, you can put together a flooring and installation package. The key to upselling any package is to make sure the total cost is less than that of the individual components.

When your customers have chosen the flooring, tell them about a special package deal on installation. If a flooring manufacturer has a list of recommended maintenance products, upsell by offering a package of those products at a discount. And you'll probably get a repeat sale on these items.

In the fast-food world, the three basic upsell tactics translate to: dessert for a quarter, supersizing or a combo meal. The same tactics work just as well in the flooring world. Whether it's a special trim or matching stairs, there's profit in selling extras.

The biggest difference is we can't say, "Would you like fries with that?"