When it comes to advertising, phrasing is everything. (In the interest of full disclosure, I say this as the writer of the bunch. I'm sure the Design Director would tell you that nothing gets read if it doesn't first get your attention.) When it comes to point of sale, though, is your team maximizing its opportunities?

I had reason to think about this again during this past weekend during two starkly different food ordering experiences. In one, I was at a popular fast food restaurant, driving through on the way from one place to somewhere else; in the other, I was phoning in a dinner order to a local restaurant for carry-out. When going through the fast food drive through, the key for the restaurant was speed - get people through the drive through as fast as possible to maximize sales. As such, their typical reply after you dictate part of your order is, "Is that it?" By comparison, the local restaurant - which lives off repeat business moreso than overall volume of customers - trained their staff to ask, "And what else can I get you?" After I'd ordered a second appetizer, my Sales Radar kicked in to alert me that no, I did not need dessert as well, but this man would gladly put that order in for me as well and do it with a smile.

Psychologically, asking someone "is that it?" encourages them to stop. The person is asking for permission for the exchange to be complete and to move to the next stage. "And what else can I get you?" on the other hand sows the seed of thought that there is something else you want that you have yet to order. An early sales exercise I was taught went (roughly) as follows: the speaker said, "Don't think about a double scoop of chocolate ice cream, carefully balanced on a cone as the sun slowly melts it, causing bits of chocolate to run down the cone's side." At that point, we all had a pretty solid visual of the ice cream and had completely ignored the "don't" part of the directive. When you ask, "What else can I get you?" you're opening the door for that ice cream cone, asking your customer to picture themselves with more.

Even within our agency, we sometimes have the "Is that it?" reaction. Maybe it's been a busy week, maybe we were caught off guard, or maybe we just hadn't thought it through before we said the words aloud. I promise we don't mean it. We would absolutely love to know what else we can get you, and you're welcome to call us out on it if we forget to ask.


Kelly Alexander & the KCo Staff