Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm

The Assumptive Add-on

One of the most effective add-on strategies is the Assumptive Add-On Close. The assumptive add-on close is designed to be effective yet subtle in the way it is delivered. The technique is used under the total assumption that the sale of a primary item has been made. This close should be delivered to your customer immediately after they answer your final agreement question in the FBA (features, benefits and agreement questions) demonstration technique.

Keep in mind that this technique could be perceived as being very pushy and aggressive if you haven't laid the groundwork in advance of presenting the assumptive add-on close. In other words, if during the needs assessment process you asked some good, quality add-on questions (refer to the past article on the needs assessment) and found out that the customer has a need for additional merchandise, then you introduce the additional merchandise through using the assumptive add-on close, the technique will be extremely effective. If you haven't ask any questions to find out the appropriate add-on item and then you present an add-on using the assumptive add-on close, you run a tremendous risk of being viewed as pushy and aggressive.

For example: you have a customer who is looking for an engagement ring and you curiously ask early in the sales presentation, "What did you have in mind as a wedding day gift for your bride?" The customer responds, "I hadn't even thought about a wedding day gift yet." Then the salesperson mentions, "later don't let me forget to show you some terrific pearls that we have that would make a fabulous wedding day gift." At this point we have laid the groundwork to introduce the additional item of pearls using the assumptive add-on close. After previously laying the groundwork for the add-on the customer's perception of the assumptive add-on close is that of a customer service rather than the sales person being pushy and/or aggressive.

Again, the Assumptive Add-on Close is delivered immediately after you have given the customer your last FBA or Feature, Benefit, Agreement Question.
There are five parts to the Assumptive Add-on Close they are:

  1. How about - The "how about" is a non-threatening opening to your assumptive add-on close that sounds much like a discovery on your behalf. It isn't as pushy as saying, for instance, "You'll need" or "Let me show you" or "Will that be all?"
  2. The Enhancer - The enhancer allows you to give value to the add-on item without having to do a complete feature, benefit, agreement (FBA).
  3. The Add-On - The Add-on is simply the Add-on itself.
  4. The Advantage - The advantage lets the prospect know why they should have the add-on item versus not having the add-on item.
  5. Possession - The possession step gives possession of the primary or main item to the customer.

A complete Assumptive Add-on Close would sound something like the following:

  • "How about a perfectly matched necklace to compliment your new earrings?"
  • "To celebrate your promotion, how about a matching watch for your wife to let her know how much you appreciate her support?"
  • "How about a specially designed case to protect your new jewelry?"
  • "How about we look at those gorgeous pearls I told you about. They would make a great wedding day gift for your wife?"
  • "You said you have several relatives graduating in a couple of weeks. How about we look at some fabulous gift items we just got in to complete your shopping needs?"
  • "In addition to the gift for your wife, how about we take a look at some terrific gift items that we have for the others on your Mother's Day gift list?"
  • "Now that you have chosen the special holiday gift, how about we look at the beautiful earrings you mentioned she would love to have next as a Valentines Day gift?"
  • "While we are changing your watch battery, how about we look at some terrific gift items that we just got in for the holidays that we think are going to be very popular this year? It might give you a chance to complete your shopping early this year."

You will notice, in each of the examples above, that all five components of the Assumptive Add-on Close are included clearly and concisely. Again, I would suggest that you take a few minutes to develop your own Assumptive Add-on Closes and the add-on questions for every selling scenario that you can think of. Look at every scenario that takes place in your store and determine what questions you could ask the customer to find what the appropriate add-on might be. Then ask yourself, "How can I introduce the add-on using the assumptive add-on close?"

Again, after you have had success adding-on to the primary sale, keep going. I know your initial reaction might be to take the money and run. However, you can't maximize your potential if you stop now. Keep adding-on until your customer either says "no" or has bought your entire package.

We have all made purchases where the salesperson loaded us up. They set us up with everything we could possibly need. Isn't it OK, for you to do the same? Through using the assumptive add-on closing technique you will see a substantial increase in the quantity of your sales, and your customers will appreciate you for it.

As a result of the assumptive add-on close there are three possible responses that the prospect could give you. They are:

  1. They could decide to purchase only the primary item.
  2. They could decide to purchase the primary item and the Add-on.
  3. They could give you an objection.

You win in two of the three possible scenarios. Actually you win in all three scenarios, because even if they were to give you an objection, you are still in control of the presentation. You know when you may get an objection, thus you are prepared at that point to handle the objection. In an "out of control presentation" you could very easily be caught off guard with an objection. You could become confused yourself, lose where you were in the presentation, and thus lose the potential sale.

In addition, in an earlier article I mentioned that the three responsibilities of a salesperson are to:

  1. Attempt to close every customer
  2. Attempt to Add-on to every customer
  3. Sell with Integrity

Of the three responsibilities the first two are things that you can proactively do as a salesperson. Selling with integrity isn't something that can be taught, you are either a person of high integrity and ethics or you are not. No selling technique will display integrity. Through using the assumptive add-on close you have fulfilled your responsibility to yourself and to your company. You have attempted to close the sale and you have attempted to sell additional items. Just as in closing the sale, if you don't ask the question to buy additional items, they probably won't. If you do ask the customer to buy additional items in many cases he or she will buy more than you ever expected them to buy.

Remember the professional salesperson doesn't think to themselves; "I wonder if this customer is going to buy," the professional asks themselves; "I wonder how much this customer is going to buy." Next month I will detail a few more techniques to help you maximize your sales through selling add-on items.

Author, trainer, consultant and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Mr. Huisken authored the book "I'm a salesman! Not a PhD." and developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, The Weekly Jewelry Sales Training Meeting Series (exclusively for jewelry) along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers and his new Train The Sales Trainer Course. In addition he publishes a free weekly newsletter called "Sales Insight" For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their website at www.iastraining.com.