Upselling: Helping Your Customers Win

“Helping your customers win” is how Jeffrey Gitomer, internationally-acclaimed sales guru and New York Times best-selling author describes “Upselling.”

Selling more to current customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones so building a marketing approach around upselling makes sense. Key to upselling is helping your customer solve a problem or improve his return on investment.

Len Markidan, head of marketing at online marketing CRM firm Groove HQ, explains, “If you can make your customer feel like an upsell is helping them win, then you’ll both win.”

So, when used properly, upselling isn’t a race to line your pockets at your customer’s expense… successful upselling can bring you closer to your customers and increase their success, while improving customer retention. On board so far? Let’s take a look at making upselling work for you.

The Three Biggest Mistakes in Upselling:

1. No attempt is made to upsell.
2. The salesperson comes across as being pushy.
3. The upselling is made in an unconvincing manner so the customer generally refuses.

To remedy missing out on the chance to upsell, sales training expert Jeff Mowatt suggests going into the presentation with a group of related products in mind or a “good, better, best” scenario. If a customer is purchasing golf umbrellas for a client golf outing, suggesting that they add golf towels and logoed golf balls at a package price makes sense. If you’re providing work wear, don’t miss the opportunity to discover if your customer needs hi vis, safety glasses or hard hats.

Pushiness and an unconvincing delivery can both be dealt with by utilizing what Mowatt describes as an “assumptive manner.” If you’ve asked the right questions and have a solution to a need, you can safely assume that the customer will be interested in your recommendations.

Perhaps your customer is purchasing items for an annual company picnic; assume they’ll want the best for those people who make their business tick all year long – making it the perfect time for suggesting related products from shirts to bags filled with sunscreen, sunglasses, tumblers, etc., all with your client’s logo.

“The best part of upselling is that it’s practically effortless,” Mowatt says. “Since it’s done after the customer has decided to go ahead with a major purchase, the hard part of the sales conversation has already been done. You’ve already established rapport, identified needs, etc.”

Following are upselling strategies gathered from distributors, Members, suppliers and marketing experts.

Make the upsell relevant to the customer’s original purchase. If you know your customer, it’s easy to make sure that what you suggest is relevant addressing that customer’s needs. Sometimes that’s as simple as presenting Good, Better and Best and briefly explaining the ROI. You sell paper and soap; suggest aircare. You sell polos: present no fade or moisture wicking both of which deliver better performance and comfort at a small additional spend.

Make your upsell discounted. “Customers can smell an upsell,” says Patel. “They are going to think about the upsell from one main perspective: How much does it cost? If your upsell is too expensive, they won’t bite. If, however, it’s a discounted upsell, they will be more interested.”

Sell something that solves a problem. This is a case where not only upselling, but also cross-selling, comes into play. Perhaps you’re selling logoed coolers:
Suggest logoed bottle openers or koozies.

Lose the fear. Think of yourself as a consultant looking for ways to help your client build business and get the best products at a very fair price. Approaching Upselling from this point of view almost always guarantees you’ll find that Upselling is fun as well as profitable for both your customer and you.

Pleased customers: That’s the name of the game. Add upselling to your skill set, and you’ll see that it’s an effective way to generate smiles – and profits – all he way around the table.

Excited about upselling? Don’t miss Members Stuart Fligel of North Carolina’s and Harvey Klein on this topic at Leadership16. Click Here for a complete rundown on the Conference!