No, this is not a post about the state of education leading to a generation of kids whose only qualifications are to end up working in fast food or retail for the rest of their lives – although sometimes it sure seems that way to me.
No, this post is about what the retail biz calls “upselling” and I was wondering if it could be applied to the school library/librarian. Upselling for those of you who may not know is a sales technique used to persuade a customer to purchase more than they intended. For example, cell phone companies try to get you to by accessories for the phone: earbuds, chargers, protective cases.
How do we “upsell” in our libraries?
In my experience as a bookseller, to increase sales we would “push” bookmarks, giftcards, or say thing like “I see you are purchasing John Grisham, have you tried Scott Turow?” and then go into how they both write legal thrillers, suspense, etc. This technique naturally transfers to the library setting. We do this already with booklists and recommendations.
I’ve also found myself recommending supplemental materials related to books. For example, I’ve had a bunch of students who are loving Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. I make sure I tell them about the author’s blog, Tommy’s Blog – My So-Called Undeath, and the Generation Dead Forum. (Unfortunately, all of these are blocked at school, so students have to wait until they get home to explore. *sniffle, sniffle*)
For teachers, like all good librarians, I “upsell” by offering services for teachers who don’t initially collaborate with me. When they sign up for library time (usually meaning the computers), I try to find out why they are coming to the library and offer to pull resources and create pathfinders. I will also monitor the visit and make suggestions for next time – which will hopefully lead to a true collaborative effort next time around. These are services that the teachers may not have been expecting, but ones they should expect from us.
These are some of the ideas I came up with – how about you? Anything you’d care to add?
FlicrCC Photo Credit: “fries” by House of Sims