I am always on the lookout for exceptional employees. The ones who make your experience exceptional in one way or another. I’d like to point out Kenny at California Pizza Kitchen in Lenox Mall.
Kenny is a Guru of selling desserts. He is able to increase the average sales on his tables by employing only two tactics, but doing it masterfully.
Most salespeople just don’t care enough to experiment with what they are doing with, and saying to customers that increases the odds of a sale. Most are complacent. Of the sales people trying to better themselves and learn how to persuade, most get wrapped up in all of the ways to persuade and coerce the client/customer into submission.
But true guru’s, actual masters of sales, try different things until they find something that works, and they build off of it.
I’ve actually been watching Kenny for 2 years. We eat at CPK’s one to three times every two months or so. We have been served by Kenny many times. The first time he served us, we noticed his unique method of selling desserts. Every time I’m there, I watch all of the waiters on duty and watch for their dessert sales; Dessert sales is the true measure of salesmanship in a restaurant. Kenny sells at least two desserts for every dessert sold by other servers. I’d estimate that his sales of desserts are 30 – 40% of the total desserts sold at California Pizza Kitchen Lenox.
So how does he do it? What are the two sales tactics he employs so masterfully?
1) His personality. His smile is contagious. The reason is: he wants to be there! Kenny actually has fun at work. He knows what to do, and he does it. Ask for a water, a box, no bacon, whatever, he remembers. He’s never left me waiting on a drink. He sees that I might need one from across the room and brings me one before I realize I need one. As a waiter, he’s one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of being served by.
2) He has a process for selling desserts. His managers told him that he had to put the dessert menu on the table a short while after the entrees were served and the customers had a minute to eat. Kenny realized how to take this process, combine it with his personality, and without saying a word, sell desserts easily.
Here is his process (as I have witnessed it):
1) After the customers have had a minute to eat their entrees, he brings the dessert menu to the table, opens it and places it at the edge of the table, fully open. He asks, “How is everything?” If you aren’t watching, you wouldn’t know he set out the dessert menu, it’s almost imperceptible.
2) He comes back to the table to ask, “is there anything else you need?” As he asks that, he either turns the dessert menu around, angles it towards others at the table, or touches it in some way … and SMILES!
3) He repeats number two within 5 minutes. The way he makes you feel is well taken care of, because he’s so attentive to your needs.
4) If he spots you looking at the menu from across the room, he brings it up and asks you either what you were looking at – because “all our desserts are delicious,” or he simply asks, “would you like some dessert?” while picking up the menu and presenting it to you.
His presentation skills are top notch, but it all boils down to the way he preps the desert menu before hand, how he holds the dessert menu when he presents it to you, and the way he smiles at you and makes you feel comfortable. It’s crazy how easy he makes it look!
Essentially, his secret is that he is willing to do it every time. He doesn’t care what your answer is. Yes or no, he acts like his only wish is to serve you. Sales is a numbers game. In this game, Kenny has found what works – and he stuck with it.
As I close this out, credit should also go to the Management of CPK in Lenox. They gave Kenny the leeway to find what works and do it his way. Apparently, they just said, “You have to show the dessert menu to everyone” and let him go for it. Micro-management never works – but new manager’s, in their exuberance to excel, typically micro-manage their employees, and in the process kill morale.
Kenny has enthusiasm to spare. If you are ever hungry and near Lenox Mall in Atlanta, I recommend CPK’s. While you are there, look for Kenny and watch a master at work.