The second sale, cross-selling, the sale after the sale – are you making the most of each customer interaction? It takes less time and effort to sell more to a customer you already have than to find and keep new customers. Market studies prove that between 30% and 60% of customers who are already committed to a sale will make another last-minute purchase when offered.
“When offered” is a key part of these statistics; you can’t expect your customers to know the benefit from that additional item or product upgrade if you don’t inform them. And telling them at the wrong time or in the wrong way will leave both you and your client unsatisfied and missing an opportunity. Given the potential returns of upselling or cross-selling, can you afford to miss an opportunity for additional revenue that only takes a few seconds to create?
What is Upselling?
Upselling is defined as “a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.” (Wikipedia definition). What this definition doesn’t explain is that upselling should offer something that your customer needs or will consider worthy. If you suggest adding an appropriate product or service, you are increasing customer service and improving customer satisfaction.
The restaurant industry utilizes upselling every day, and is the most well-known example of this sales technique. “Do you want fries with that?” is a question that we expect with every fast-food transaction. Similarly, “Would you like to super-size that order?” is a well-known example. But you don’t have to be in the restaurant industry to make the most of upselling to your customers.
- Construction: You are completing a home addition – “Our painting crew could save you time and hassle if you would like us to schedule that for you”.
- Photography: As you complete your portrait session – “Would you like to order a digital cd of your images as well as the prints?”
- Banking: A customer comes in to open a checking account – “Would you like to start a savings account at the same time, or add overdraft protection?”
- Auto repair: A customer requests a brake repair – “Do you want us to go ahead and do an oil change while you are here?”
- Hotel/Resort: When a customer books a room – “Would you like to upgrade to a suite for more room and comfort?”
- Snow removal: You are finishing plowing a customer’s driveway – “Do you want us to salt your walkway so you don’t slip?”
- Farm/local produce: A woman with her child is purchasing a bag of apples – “Do you want a fresh peach for your little one?”
- Office supplies: Someone comes in to purchase ink for their printer – “Do you need printer paper today?”
Upselling the Wrong Way Can Cost You Customers
No one wants to be sold something they don’t need, and customers don’t like to be pushed into an upgrade. Encouraging an additional item that has nothing to do with the original purchase would only succeed in irritating the customer, and show them that you don’t understand their needs. The focus of the sale should be on the customer, because customer service is key in any industry.
The number one way to upsell wrong is by not doing it at every opportunity you get. If you don’t offer, you won’t sell! And even small upgrades can produce a big return for your business. Make sure that you have identified which products or services would qualify well for an upsell, and that all of your employees are trained to complete this type of sales transaction effectively.
The Rules of Upselling
Not sure how to upsell or cross-sell successfully? Here’s some tips to make that second sale, and do it the right way.
- Offer products or services that will benefit the customer – avoid offering an unrelated service.
- Only suggest items that you can personally recommend or see the value in.
- Upsells should be a fraction of the cost of the original sale, and be a discounted price when paired with larger sale than when offered individually.
- The best time to offer an upsell or cross-sell is when the major sales decision has already been made but before you complete the transaction – don’t wait until that wallet is back in its place!
- Use a “by the way” attitude when presenting the opportunity.
- Some upsells, like super sizing, are self-explanatory and should be presented as a simple, casual question. However, describing why the customer needs an additional product or service can be useful when done right. Example: You want to sell a dessert, but if you just say “Did you want dessert tonight?”, you will likely fail. Instead, try “You don’t want to miss our delicious cheesecake tonight – the chef only makes it once in a while and you will love the fresh strawberry topping!”.
- Recognize the difference between an upsell that adds value to the original sale and your desire to make a bigger sale. Keep the focus on the customer.
- Don’t be pushy! If a customer declines, there is no real time or effort lost.
- Don’t miss opportunities! If you offer up-sales irregularly, you will be losing practice as well as money.
- Be consistent! If a regular customer is offered an upgrade on one transaction and not the next, they will leave feeling underserved and unhappy.
Are You Making the Most of Each Sale?
Does your business practice the sales technique of upselling? What are the challenges you face with upselling? How do you ensure that all of your employees upsell consistently? Share your experience and knowledge here with us on the Phelps Chamber Blog!
Become an Enhanced Chamber Member Today!
Are you a current member of the Phelps Chamber of Commerce? Have you considered upgrading from a standard membership to an enhanced membership for a small difference in your annual dues? The benefits of upgrading are huge, with increased marketing of your business to over 5000 Facebook followers and an opportunity to be featured in a spotlight blog on the Chamber website, which sees hundreds of new visitors a day! For more details about enhanced membership, please visit our Membership Info page.
(Is the above an upsell? Yes, because we know you will appreciate the value of an upgrade!)