Would you like fries with that?

Marketing for Solar Thermal Installers

Would you like fries with that?  That may be the most powerful question that's ever been asked in the history of the American marketing. It has produced billions of dollars worth of revenue.  It has spawned thousands of other up-selling questions in the same industry. ("Would you like a combo" is the second most powerful.) Everything goes from whopper to jumbo (which typically matches the belly of the person ordering them).
 
Every one reading this column has been asked the question "Would you like fries with that?" and has answered yes. (Some more than others.)
 
I don't know who created this question. But it is not just an example.  It's a lesson.

McDonald's has been asking this question for more than 20 years.  They have learned the power of up-selling or "add on".  They have a tactical advantage when asking this question because the people they are asking are hungry.
 

The Solar Thermal Industry

What about our industry? We're providing heating, plumbing and mechanical services to the same people who answer YES to McDonald's. Are they not as hungry for what we offer? Or don't we have anything for up- sell? What could be our "fries"? Green energy and technology is the answer.

Today's heating and plumbing business is in a rush to become green, to be an alternative energy equipment manufacturer, supplier, contractor or installer. For those who did RE & RE (remove and reinstall) for years and their suppliers now is the time to learn new skills and new technology. And for many of us who are already selling alternative energy equipment, now is the time to advance, because we won't be alone for long.
 
 "Would you like fries with that?" is not just a power question. It's a powerful question.  And now that you know that, my challenge to you: What questions are you asking that will differentiate you from your competition?  What questions are you asking that will make you appear to be an expert in your field? 
 
"Would you like to monitor your solar heating right from your iPhone ?" is a good one.
 
What's yours?