Party Professor – February 2017


Up-Sell Without the Hard Sell!

Help Your Guests Throw the Best Party Ever & Increase Profits


Beth Standlee

By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment

When it comes to parties, up-selling can be a piece of cake. However, your staff may feel differently about this type of sales process. This month’s up-sell article focuses on the challenges and benefits to the consumer, the business and the individual employee. Selling is all about helping others. My hope is that this installment of the Party Professor will be a resource to increase sales during the coming months.

Where does the reluctance come from when asking for the up-sell? Why does the “up-sell” often times feel like a “hard sale”? Employees tell me that it feels they are putting pressure on a customer or that they are asking them to buy too many things. And, depending on their approach, they may right.

Here’s an example of a real phone call. At the completion of a call with a guest who was booking a group event, the employee asked, “Would you like to add balloons to each table?” The guest response was “No.” The employee then asked, “Would you like to add extra pizzas to the basic package?” Again, the guest answered “No.” And so on. When I questioned the supervisor about the call, I was told that the employee received a higher evaluation as long as they offered a minimum of three additional up-sell items.

It’s not enough to have a sales person offer additional items. We must teach them to “sell” it in a way that inspires the guest to purchase.

The best way to insure that you offer up-sell items that a guest will buy is to listen! A buyer will share what’s important to them if you approach each sale with curiosity. When you use a sales qualification process to understand the kind of party experience the guest is planning, you’ll have all information you need to up-sell.

Let me give you an example. “Are you planning a party for a group of all adults or families with a mix of children and adults? Did you want to come during the day or the evening? Were you planning to serve a buffet or were you thinking of appetizers?” And here’s my all-time favorite question, “If your party is perfect what would that look like”? Each of these questions put you in a better position to help the guest plan the best party possible. Often times, we try to let the guest tell us exactly what they want without suggestions. Who knows more about your facility than you? Listen to the guest’s needs regarding their event. They’re counting on you to help them plan an awesome experience. It’s never about bowling, mini golf, laser tag or arcade games. It’s about the experience!

Another great way to sell additional items to every event is to avoid yes/no questions. Rather than asking, “Would you like to add more game play to your children’s cards?” Give them choices. “Mom, I can upgrade your child’s party with $5 in game play for only $3, or double that play for only $4 more. Which would you prefer?”

Finally, it’s wise to evaluate how you utilize your website. Do you have a reservation system like Party Center Software available? Statistics show us that when people book on line the average up-sell item increases. People shop at their leisure and, consequently, use added visuals to make decisions.

It’s not rocket science. When your guests buy more you increase your bottom line! If your average event is $250 it only takes an up-sell of $25-$50 product/s to improve your revenue 10%-20%. It’s good for your customers to have everything they need in order to make their event memorable. It’s up to you to help them know all that is possible.

Remember great selling is about helping others. Help your guests have the best event possible by paying attention to the goals of their party. If you make the up-sell focus all about the customer, because you care about their experience, you increase your sales without having to use hard sell techniques. Make it fun for you, your staff and your guests!


Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and  hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at


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