Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

Dec 2, 2009

We are a buying society that usually moves with the speed of business. And while we’re moving about we buy, are up-sold, and cross-sold most everyday with products or services we may think we need but are sold on the notion we’d be better off with the more expensive or add-on product or service.

Up-selling and cross-selling is illustrated in a variety of situations and the end result is the seller making more profit from the buyer. You may ask; where does the benefit fit? You might also ask, is the product aimed at fulfilling my need? Qualifying the buy is a mental process instrumental to getting to OK. After all, who wants to be in error about any decision they make?

If you place yourself as the business owner or company representative you’re actually in a extremely strong position to build more company profits while actually building a positive relationship with your customer. People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold…or do they? Human nature is that creature of habit that’s in all of us. And I’m sure you’ll agree buying is human nature.

Most of us don’t like the term, “being sold,” but the term has a double meaning. We usually don’t like to be sold to but we like to buy and thus we’re being sold usually on features and benefits. While selling is providing information the essence is that we are in a constant daily buy mode for one thing or another.

The first way to really recognize the techniques utilized by another in the sales process is to put yourself in the position as the buyer as well as in the selling position mentally. Note the approach to the product, the questions of the buyer and the seller, and the communication that transpires as part of the exchange of information. This avenue or pathway of the sale is an action for both parties to mirror each other mentally whereby you actually become one within the conversation and the agreements are recognized.

The mental issues are absent because the obstacles are broken down through the course of positive communication. Communication is a give and take method of whereby the customer is placed in a favorable mood and thus likely to flow in a positive way with the knowledgeable sales person. Thus the effect is addressing the solution by understanding the immediate need or problem and then pin-pointing the extra features and benefits that usually up-sells the buyer into another more advanced widget.

The reality of business is that customers want to be sold. They love to buy for their own reasons. Not manipulatively bombarded with sales pitches or indiscriminately pressured with endless offerings, but intelligently informed, guided and suggested with related, logical and natural purchases that further their goals.

The Technique: UP with Selling

Remember up is vertical and usually considered a plus.  Up-selling and cross-selling are two sales techniques used by professional sales and service staffs to increase sales and thus add to the profit line. Are you making the most of your suggestive selling?

Up-selling refers to situations where your customer buys a product or service, and you encourage them to spend more for additional features or packages. They are increasing the amount they are spending, albeit for more or better services or products.

Consider the customer seeking a point-of-sale solution for handling audio component upgrades that are standard, yet opts to purchase a deluxe mega-watt system for more money when learning of additional capabilities and flexibility.

Assume you have SUV with no additional power perks for improved performance. The salesperson informs you that there is a combo package that will enhance your SUV that includes both an ignition chip and exhaust upgrade. The rep further states that the features and benefits will enable you to pull more power while actually improving your fuel mileage. And adds it can be financed with their shops exclusive in-house finance program. The buy then becomes simple because the rep articulated the features and benefits. This is an example of clear and direct communication whereby the rep develops the up-sell and cross-sell while improving the customer and shop relationship.

Sales Crossing Ahead

Cross-selling refers to situations where a customer buys a product or service, and is simultaneously sold related items that often complement their purchase.

For example: A customer buys a intake manifold and is then suggestively sold a carburetor and the rep further recommends new throttle linkage. Ditto when a person buys a trailer hitch and sold suspension upgrades. While we think of these as advanced sales techniques, they are actually rooted in the power of suggestion.

People, once they’ve decided to buy, are naturally swayed by more and better options, additional value, and the excitement following their initial purchase. Many customers don’t know about additional items or options, or how well they complement the initial item they bought. Up-selling enhances their initial purchase, making them more powerful, capable and effective. Cross-selling similarly enhances their purchase, often maximizing its impact on their business.

Quite frankly, we’ve been up-sold and cross-sold every day. And it’s not necessarily a manipulative process.

Consider the following examples:

  • “Would you like fries with that order?”
  • “For just 49 cents we can super-size that for you.”
  • “When you buy 2 you get 1 Free!”
  • “Would you like to purchase our extended warranty coverage on this? It’s only….”

Pairing Your Products; String Your Services Together

Take a new look at the products and services you’re selling. For each, what is an up-sell? What can you cross-sell with it? Make sure your salespeople know the migration paths so they can suggestively up- and cross-sell with ease. It is a natural pathway to improved sales growth while actually vastly improving your bottom line. After all you are in the business to do business resulting in profits.

Performance retail stores are recognizing that they provide a type of entertainment that translates to purchasing product. And the quality and extent of the retail floor is improving. In the continuing quest for higher sales per square foot and, consequently, better profits, retailers have started offering services complementary to their merchandise such as isle-way catalogs, computer assisted product searches, more store personnel and even coffee.

Enabling your customer to feel like it’s his store is a measure in behavioral appreciation as well understanding that up-selling and cross-selling is profitable. This is not an easy task but a process of ongoing communication. Building confidence with your customer is an additional way for their building confidence in your product knowledge. The result is your bottom line. Also, this is a trend that is aimed to boost store sales which is a key retail measure for business growth. Such growth tactics carry high margins because the gains are made against fixed costs. The obvious result is keeping your door, not cracked but wide open.


Service Through Sales

When you up-sell and cross-sell:

  • You are making informed suggestions as a knowledgeable rep
  • You are apprising customers of options they may not be aware of
  • You are often anticipating future needs
  • It’s a way to further help your customer…to be more powerful, to enjoy more benefits, to maximize the usefulness of the products or services they’re acquiring.

Remember this, when you are the rep who is selling and serving:

  • You are in the business of solving problems, generating solutions and making customers happy, or even happier.
  • You are the subject matter expert when it comes to the products and services you are representing.
  • You are apprising customers of options they may not be aware of.
  • To the extent you listen and understand the situation of your customers or constituents, you are ideally suited to provide solutions, recommendations and remedies.
  • To withhold this from others would be selfish, and poor service.
  • Any time you can fulfill more needs, address more issues or solve more problems you are easing your customer’s life. After all, they already trust you, like you, and are doing business with you.