Upsell is not a dirty word—it’s actually a great strategy for serving customers and growing revenue.
For many small business owners, the word upsell almost seems taboo, as if it somehow evokes reverse advocacy for clients. However, when done right, upselling can help drive customer retention and client satisfaction.
Unfortunately, many employees believe they are taking advantage of clients and the relationships they’ve built by attempting to sell more to existing customers. If your sales attempts are truly based in the best interest of the client, then you will not lose trust or ruin the rapport that your team has spent months cultivating. Amazon attributes up to 35 percent of its revenue from cross-selling.
The key is to educate your employees on how your products and services complement each other to better serve the client.
Cross-Sell vs. Upsell
The word upsell can be defined as trying to persuade a client or customer to purchase a more expensive item or service. For example, if you have an existing client wanting to buy an entry-level car, you might try to offer a higher-end model that has more options instead.
Cross-sell, on the other hand, can be defined as trying to sell a related or complementary product or service to an existing customer. An example of cross-selling might be selling high-end video cables to a customer who just bought a new TV from you.
Notice, in both scenarios, the one constant is that a relationship already exists. In almost all circumstances, it will take less energy and fewer resources to increase your organization’s revenue by upselling existing clients than by acquiring new business through prospecting.
Consider incorporating upselling into the workplace culture to make it a little less taboo. Set a goal of annually increasing the revenue generated from existing clients.
The highest-performing companies invest heavily in developing new products and services, not only to increase sales, but to generate better results for their clients. Cross-selling is a great way to introduce these new offerings to existing customers. I would argue that a business is providing poor customer service if it neglects to tell clients about new solutions that will advance their businesses.
It’s OK to Ask
Make sure your company’s culture emphasizes the importance of upselling and cross-selling. Start teaching this on Day One, through your new-hire orientations.
Remind employees that it’s OK to ask for a sale. Train all your associates about the company’s entire offering of products and services. Each employee should be able to advocate to your clients when opportunities occur during normal conversations, scheduled client calls and in-person client strategy sessions. Below are three tips that work for my team during a pitch.
Be confident // Never hesitate. Show confidence that you’ve identified a product or service that will truly help your client.
Be clear // Prepare to explain why you believe your customer should spend more money. Pricing, statistics and numbers that show their projected ROI will help.
Be flexible // Sometimes a client will not move forward with any new proposal regardless of the benefit—never argue. Instead, move on and attempt when another opportunity arises in the future.
To be effective at upselling and cross-selling, your employees must be ready for any opportunity. Consider the travel industry, where 59 percent of hotel guests and 48 percent of airline travelers are interested in upgrades or additional services. Can you afford to miss this added revenue? When conversations change or when customers start to speak about business issues, you want your employees to be ready with solutions.