Educate Staff to Sell Incremental Cash Products to Home Accessibility Customers

Posted on in Business Operations

By Rob Baumhover, Director of VGM Retail Programs, and Mary Avenanti, Program Director, VGM Off the Shelf Marketing

One of the opportunities most often missed in our industry is the lack of incremental (or add-on) sales. For example, a home accessibility customer comes in for a stair lift, and there are several other products this person could use to stay safe and independent in their home – grab bars, mobility products, ADLs, bath safety, etc.

Many customer service people feel uneasy with upselling, and don’t want to be seen as a “pushy” salesperson. In reality, upselling is about being of service to your customers by offering information about other products and services that will help keep them safe in their homes or on the road. Here are some educational tips for getting your customer service staff on board with selling incremental cash products. 

Get Employee Buy-in

Before making new product additions, get your employees’ feedback or insight. It may seem unnecessary, but by asking for their input, the employees are more likely to be excited about the new products and will be more willing to promote them. Your staff who works one-on-one with customers every day are more likely to identify the customers’ potential needs.

Give Employees the Opportunity to Test

As soon as the products arrive at your store, allow your staff to test out the items themselves. This will give them a chance to touch and feel it, and there’s also no better sales tactic than experiencing something first hand. Your staff most likely does not use many of your products personally (for example, reachers or a rollator), and by testing them out, they can better understand and explain the functionality.  

Get the Vendors Involved

Set up a time when the product vendor can give an in-store education session on all features and benefits of the products. This visit is good for a few reasons:

  1. It allows employees to receive proper instruction right from the experts themselves.
  2. It allows time for questions and answers.
  3. It builds excitement around the products.

Use Educational Marketing Material

There are guides and brochures available that can help employees become familiar with the home accessibility assessment process and can arm them with valuable knowledge about the different categories of products available. These same guides and brochures can then be used as discussion starters with a customer and open their minds to additional equipment options for their homes, without any hard sell tactics needed from your CSRs.

Incentivize and Set Expectations

Conduct a staff meeting where you clearly lay out the expectations around new products and the rewards for reaching those expectations. This way each employee, and the entire team, knows exactly what’s expected from the start. There is no bigger let down to an employee then finding out later that they should be selling X quantity when they were under the assumption that Y quantity was great.

Educate Continually

Set up an ongoing education program for your entire sales staff. This program should be a mixture of online videos, webinars, educational courses/forums, and live role-playing or classroom training from either vendor partners, internal staff, or other external experts.

Role-playing is a cheap, easily implemented, and highly effective form of instruction. It is often not a favorite out of the gate because it pushes employees out of their comfort zone; however, it is one that will give them the closest thing to real-life interactions. When looking back, employees will be glad they were able to practice certain conversations with colleagues before going live with customers.

Having your staff fully knowledgeable about all of the products on your sales floor will allow you to increase your sales and develop happy, safe, healthy and loyal customers for the long term.

Rob Baumhover is the director of Retail Programs with VGM Group Inc. He is the creator of the VGM Retail Program, which assists VGM members to diversify their HME businesses through improved retail operations.

Mary Avenanti manages VGM’s Off the Shelf Marketing Program. She is the author and designer of the “So, you want to stay in your HOME” guide and has created more than 40 other educational print pieces to help Members promote their businesses to consumers and referral sources.


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