How to Upsell and Cross-Sell

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Upselling and cross-selling are both beneficial for any industry for one simple reason: more revenue.

But you must be strategic in how you approach your customers or they will see right through the “You may also like …” sales pitch. To really see success with your product suggestions, you must strive for the ultimate goal: customer delight. When you can convince your customer that your suggestions are for their benefit, then you can master the art of upselling and cross-selling.

Keep reading to learn how to use upselling and cross-selling to your advantage.

Upselling vs Cross-Selling

Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary purchase more expensive. Cross-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything in conjunction with the primary product. For example, it would be upselling to offer the purchase of batteries with a camera, but it would be cross-selling to offer the purchase of a scanner with a printer.

Helen Campbell‏, founder of business coaching and training company Jazz Cat, advises her clients to tailor their offering to the client’s specific needs. “By upselling or cross-selling your services appropriately you can help your client achieve their goal, for example, more time, peace of mind, or a solution to a problem,” she says. It is all about adding value, and the difference between ‘selling’ something to someone and adding value is huge. “The key skill is to listen, hear your client’s needs and offer innovative and practical options,” says Campbell.

It’s worth keeping in mind that upselling can be 20 times more effective than cross selling, probably because once they have a specific purchase in mind customers don’t want to be distracted by something else. However, something that makes their first purchase better has far more chance of encouraging them to buy.

One of the golden rules of upselling is to ensure that it is highly relevant or complementary to the current purchase. “It’s the jewelry, the cardigan, the shoes to go with the dress. It’s the better gadget with more features,” says Marie Brown, founder of Beyond the Kitchen Table, which works with small businesses to help them grow. “It might be ‘we also have this gadget that can also do X, therefore saving you time or the purchase of another gadget’,” adds Brown. “I recently bought a more expensive printer on the basis that the ink would cost me a lot less over three years.”

And upselling and cross-selling is not just for retail. It can trickle into other businesses…for example, travel agencies. Pam Smith, leisure manager at Frosch Mann Travels in Huntersville, North Carolina, notes that “Travelers have a tendency to default to the product they’ve done before. If they’ve cruised before, for example, and enjoyed it, they might assume a cruise is best for their next trip. But that’s not always the case—we need to have those conversations about what they want to see and do to figure out the best option.” This is the heart and soul of travel professionals—using your expertise to point travelers in the right direction towards their best possible vacation.

Just like any retail business, Smith pays careful attention to her clients’ feedback on previous trips to see where there might be an open window to sell a more premium travel experience. She says, “My favorite is ‘We loved the trip, but the hotel could have been a little nicer or the transfers better.’ Then I know there’s an opportunity to go for something more upscale.”

She also listens carefully to the origin and background of a vacation idea to see what add-ons might be appropriate. For example, she recalls working with an older couple who was going to go on a river cruise in Europe. “They told me they didn’t anticipate ever being able to go back to Europe after this,” says Smith. “To make the most of their time there, I also suggested a guided vacation for after the river cruise. They loved the idea of seeing more while they were there.”

Opportunities for upselling and cross-selling exist in every realm of business; you just have to be aware and ready when they arise. By using your knowledge and expertise to identify the right experience for each client, you will create a loyal client base and continually grow your business.

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