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Last Update: Friday December 13, 2019

Key Idea: Up Sell

Customer service and sales people at Tejas Office help customers get what they want and need.

Key Question:

A: 

When we think of office supplies, we think of paper, pencils and paper clips. To Lupe, office supplies are all the products the office needs.  Most offices have coffee machines, so they need coffee cups. Many offices have kitchens, they need dish washing detergent.

Q:
It's important to "think outside of the box". Just because you've never sold a particular product and/or service doesn't mean it's not a great fit for you and your customers. What opportunities do you have in your business to sell additional products and/or services to existing customers?

A:
It's harder to attract a new customer than to sell additional products to existing customers, a lot harder. As you visit your customers, look around, see what they are buying.

Are they buying something from someone else that you are currently selling? Look at what they are buying that you are not selling, make a list. Do this for your top twenty customers, cross check the lists. Note any commonalities. How difficult would it be you to expand your product/service offerings to include these commonalities? What ancillary costs would be involved? What are the benefits to the customer of single source procurement? Go through this exercise, see what turns up.

Consultants call this horizontal and vertical integration, but those are just fancy terms for taking your existing customer base and your existing infrastructure and expanding profit opportunities for your business.

Think about it

What could you or should you be selling to your customers that you are not now selling? When was the last time you added a product or a service?

Clip from: Tejas Office Supply is all Texan.

Houston: Texans are resilient and resourceful, and people of deep faith.  When Hurricane Ike struck, they began turning to each other to  pull through thiat  storm together.  Pictured above is Lupe Fraga.  He came with his family to Houston as a young boy and grew up as a Texan.

He captures the spirit of this part of the world.

In 1962 Lupe Fraga left his bookkeeping job to buy an office supply business but steady profits did not come quickly. Today, over 150 employees turn $40 million a year making Tejas Office one of the largest minority - owned businesses in the greater Houston area.
 
He borrowed some of the start-up capital from Irene, his girl friend; and, the owner financed the purchase. He married Irene -- "the best thing I ever did in my life" -- and then he learned  profits do not come easily.

This is a family business. Michelle is their first born; and the day we met her, she was busy teaching a new manager and leading a customer service training session. Alisa, the middle child, handles human resources and says that caring can be measured on the bottomline.  Stephen, the youngest Fraga says that they all wear many hats. Stephen followed in his father's footsteps and graduated from Texas A & M. Rather than coming to work at Tejas Office right from school, Lupe encouraged him to work for a large company which he did for two years before joining Tejas in 1998.

Named by Governor Rick Perry to the Texas A&M Board of Regents and currently Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank Dallas-Houston, Lupe also volunteers for the Greater Houston Partnership and The United Way.

Tejas Office

Lupe Fraga, Owner

1225 W. 20th Street
Houston, TX 77080
7138646004

Visit our web site: http://www.tejasoffice.com

Office: 7138646004

Business Classification:
Office Supplies

Year Founded: 1961

Up Sell

HATTIE: You're on their team.

LUPE: You're on their team, yes. We may sell $10 less of paper, but we may get, you know, coffee, you and insulated paper cups.

HATTIE: Cups. But see, when I think of office supplies...

LUPE: Yes?

HATTIE: ...this is not my first thought.

LUPE: I know it.

HATTIE: This is not my first thought.

LUPE: And that's a misconception.

HATTIE: So what you're saying is your customers say to your salespeople--or your salespeople say, `Hey, I notice you have coffee. Can we do that for you?'

LUPE: Yes, it's our salespeople.

HATTIE: They go in there and they see they use Styrofoam, `So we'll supply that.' Is that when you started to buy this because your salespeople say we need to supply that?

LUPE: Yes. And also, Hattie, one very important thing. These corporations nowadays are saying, `We don't want 500 vendors.' People want to say, `Look, why don't we just buy everything from you?'

HATTIE: `What does it take to run our office? And we want to buy it from Tejas Office.'

LUPE: Exactly.

HATTIE: And you have Palmolive because you know that everybody has a little kitchen.

LUPE: Exactly. That's what I'm talking about.

HATTIE: How did you decide that Palmolive's the product that people would buy from you? Why not Joy? Why not Ivory Liquid?

LUPE: Again, by customers' preferences. We asked them, you know, which one they want. I mean, they tell us.
 
 

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