How to Succeed at Upselling & Cross-Selling
If you’ve worked close to sales at all, you probably have seen the terms upselling and cross-selling, often used interchangeably. However, they are distinct selling techniques. While they are similar, it is important to know the difference between the two. That way you can use the best sales method for every situation you encounter. Don’t forget the number one rule of upselling and cross-selling, focus on delighting the customer. With this in mind, you’ll be able to hone your selling skills and maximize profits for your company.
An upsell is an attempt to convince your customer to buy a more expensive product, upgrades, or other add-ons in order to make the sale more profitable. This usually happens during the sale. For example, if a customer comes to a car dealership with no preference in make or model, the salesman could suggest a luxury coupe at the top of the customer’s price range. Even if the customer has a specific car in mind, the dealer might tout the added benefits of satellite radio, heated seats, and other whistles and bells to try to get a more profitable sale. Both of these situations are upsells.
In order to execute a successful upsell, you need to understand your customer’s background and budget constraints. With this knowledge, you’ll know you far up you can sell them, and what product or add-on will give them exactly what they’re looking for. Be careful not to push the sale, or say anything untrue, as this can easily cause ethical dilemmas. Not only that, but if your customers sense anything off about what you tell them, they may bolt in a split second. There’s a reason they say honesty is the best policy.
Don’t underestimate your customers. Most are savvy enough to know that “you may also like…” or something similar is an attempt to upsell them. Instead, speak to their common sense. Don’t flood them with a ton of different upsell options or toss them an upsell idea from the blue. Make one thoughtful suggestion that you’ve put a bit of time and effort into, and your customer will be delighted.
Cross-selling is very similar to upselling. Cross-selling is attempting to persuade your customer to buy a similar product in addition to the product they are already purchasing. A common example of cross-selling is the well known Amazon feature, “Customers who bought this item also bought…” that shows customers similar products to the one they’ve just added to their cart. These methods have worked for Amazon, who claims to receive as much as 35% of their sales from cross-selling. Like upselling, cross-selling is popular because it increases the profitability of a given sale.
Many of the same rules from upselling apply to cross-selling as well. Honesty and transparency are key. Let your customers know that you’re trying to sell them other products, and be clear about what the prices are. They will see that you are trying to bring more value for them to the table and will likely appreciate your candor. Remember—your main focus should be delighting the customer. It’s not just about maximizing profits, it’s about getting them the products that will give them a great experience.
Now that you know the difference between upselling and cross-selling, you should have a good idea of when to use each technique. Sometimes, using both methods together will yield even better results. It all depends on the situation.
What They Do For You
The most obvious benefit of these two selling techniques is the increase in revenue. A more expensive product, or more products sold, means more cash in your pocket. However, that isn’t the only benefit of these techniques. As long as you’ve got a killer product or service to sell, you want to increase awareness of your products. If you’ve done your job right and focused on delighting the customer, then they’re bound to come away with a positive experience. Your delighted customer is likely to boost your business by word-of-mouth, as they’ll let their friends know how satisfied they are with your product. Even apart from the immediate profits, upselling and cross-selling can pay dividends miles down the road.