Looking for ways to increase your overall sales? Maybe there’s a way to increase the size of each sale you already make. One effective technique is suggestive selling, which fast-food restaurants do exceedingly well. “You want fries with that?” “Would you like a drink with that?” They don’t do it to annoy you; they do it because it works!

But suggestive selling doesn’t have to be annoying. Handled cleverly, it can even tell customers that you really understand and care about them. I remember reading about a fine dining restaurant that dramatically improved its per-customer sales in a simple, yet effective, way.

Restaurants love to sell desserts because they add a lot of profit to the check. They tend to break even or sometimes lose a little on entrees. Most make their money on beverages and extras like appetizers, which is why servers at major chains always push them.

This particular restaurant’s owner recognized that diners who turned down desserts usually cited diets or other health issues as the reason. So when his servers presented that almost-irresistible tray of desserts and heard, “Oh, no, I really can’t,” they then pointed to a bowlful of fresh raspberries or other luscious fruit and offered it as a tasty alternative. He sold a lot of that healthy fruit at a healthy profit.