What All Sales Professionals Can Learn From Starbucks?

As I was sitting at my laptop one afternoon in at a Starbucks in Barnes & Noble.  I realized something obvious. Starbucks employees know how to ask for a sale and they are very good at it.

When I first went to the counter to order my coffee (plain, no cream or sugar), the nice lady asked if I wanted a delicious cookie for some sugar energy. I politely declined (thank you www.myfitnesspal.com), but actually had to think about it for a few seconds. She didn’t just say, “Would you like a cookie with that,” she said, “do you want a delicious cookie for some sugar energy?”

I don’t know about you, but I like delicious things, sugar, and energy.

As I began to work, I overheard one customer after another being asked if they wanted a “warm roll, yummy treat, or a bigger drink for only $0.30 more.” About half of the people who were asked agreed. HALF. There was no pressure, no pushing, and no hard sell. They simply asked.

It got me thinking. Why do some sales professionals have such a hard time just asking for a sale? I can attest to this as I have been guilty in my sales career.

I believe it comes from three main reasons.

  1. Sales professionals don’t believe 100% in their product or service. There is often a slight resistance in the back of their minds. Therefore, they feel a little pushy.
  2. Sales professionals are fearful of rejection. Let’s face it, if you are in sales you probably get rejected multiple times a day. Why subject yourself to one more possible rejection?
  3. Sales professionals are lazy. Yep, I said it. I don’t mean sales people are always lazy, but I know sometimes it’s easier to just be content and not take that next step.

How Can Sales Professionals Overcome Not Asking for the Sale?

  1. You have to believe that your product or service is the best in the world. Not just because someone told you, but because you feel it in your gut. It has to be so strong that you feel you are doing a disservice to your client by not asking.
  2. Belief that rejection only means no for now or that they simply are not the right customer for your product or service. That’s ok, your product and/or service is not for everyone.
  3. Understand that you owe it to yourself and your company to be the very best. To be the best, you have be on top of you game at all times, not just when it’s convenient.

As my favorite sales trainer, Jeffrey Gitomer says, “people love to buy, but don’t like to be sold.” If your product or service is the best. If your provide education, value, and enthusiasm. If you love what you do, people will want to buy.

Yes, Starbucks has a great name, reputation, and a great product, but they also know how to ask for the sale. So should you.

Question: Do you always ask for the sale? Why or why not? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Brent Kelly is the CEO of BizzGrizz Marketing.  He helps insurance agents stand up, stand tall, and stand out in today’s noisy world through online training and workshops.  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Hi Brent, you are so “spot on” with your blog! It reminds me of my life insurance days, I had a sales manager who’s philosophy was “just give everyone the chance to say no” but you can’t do that without asking them to buy,

    • brentmkelly

      Great point Carlos. Thanks.

  • Brent, this is awesome. Thanks for reminding us what to do and how to do it well.

    • brentmkelly

      Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks.

  • Brent, I really enjoy reading your blog. It makes insurance interesting – and relatable. Nice work!

    • brentmkelly

      Thanks for the kind words Amy. I hope to keep putting out relevant and interesting content. Insurance can be a little mundane. I like to try and spice it up:)

  • Ryan Goodwin

    Great but simple observation and reminder that we just have to ask! I believe in my product and service and want others to have a great insurance experience. But, like many, I am guilty of not asking simple questions consistently.

    • brentmkelly

      Thanks Ryan. I have learned through many of my failures that it is usually the simple things that matter the most.

  • Robyn Sharp

    Mmm…who doesn’t love a yummy treat?! Great post!

  • Kelly Moser

    I think I’m in love with this blog post. Relating Starbucks to boring sales talk? Yes please! Definitely going to forward this to our insurance agents!

    • brentmkelly

      Thanks Kelly. I love sales, but I also love Starbucks! I hope your agents enjoy and learn.

  • Chris

    Brent we will continue to learn from them they are VERY GOOD at what they do! Great article

    • brentmkelly

      Thanks Chris! They are definitely good at what they do.

  • Tom Larsen

    Good post, Brent. Also a good one to show CSR’s who can’t/won’t sell. It really is about asking questions…by the way, is there any insurance policy you don’t have with our agency?

    • brentmkelly

      Thanks Tom! It is really about asking great questions. Not sure I understand your question. Can you clarify? Thanks again.

      • Tom Larsen

        It’s what a non-sales-type CSR can say at the end of every call! Ask a simple question! This is just an example, not asking YOU a question 🙂

        • brentmkelly

          Haha. My bad. Long day:) Thanks for clarifying? By the way, great question!!