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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

How to upsell and cross-sell effectively: 5 Top Tips from sales-i


Date: 01-Apr-2019

When you’re looking for ways to grow your business, you could do worse than using tried and tested upselling or cross-selling techniques.

I know. You hate to hassle your current clients, but you cannot ignore the benefits. The cost of upselling to existing customers is so much lower than going out on the hunt for new business.

Conversion rates to existing customers are up to 16x higher. Plus, even if they don’t buy anything additional, your call will have value as account management.

So, with that in mind, read on for 5 cross-selling tips and upselling techniques. A five-point plan to boost your bottom line with zero chance of offending your current clients.

First things first: What is Cross-Selling?
Cross-selling techniques are ways of selling different products or services to a customer who has already bought something from you. Alternatively, upselling techniques are about convincing current customers to consider a higher cost item. The focus should be moving customers up the product offering to more profitable items.

Why cross-selling/upselling works 
Firstly, you already have an established relationship with your clients, meaning they’re far more likely to buy into your recommendations and understand the value of your service.

  • The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. (Source).

Ultimately, if a client trusts you already, the sales cycle is shortened and you’re already halfway towards success.

Have a good offer
It may seem obvious, but the first step of any upsell is to have the right product for the right client. After all, you aren’t going to upsell shampoo and conditioner to the client who has just visited your salon to have their bald head polished.

To ensure you start out on the right track with your upselling and cross-selling techniques, you have to pick something that will actually help your customer.

Key to this is your customer’s past purchases, challenges they have discussed with you and your industry insight. With these three pieces of information, you can show the value of your offer to them personally and make it harder for them to refuse.

Cross-selling and upselling techniques
Here’s our pick of the most effective cross-selling and upselling tips that won’t have your clients running for the hills.

1. TEST YOUR PITCH ON YOUR MOST LOYAL CUSTOMERS
One of the benefits of building up great working relationships with customers is that you can help each other out. This is one of those times. Work out what you’d like to offer your customers in terms of a cross-sell or upsell offer, and then try it out on your trusted few. Get valuable, honest feedback about what you’re offering and then you can adjust accordingly.

2. OFFER AN INCENTIVE OR DISCOUNT
It may be the oldest trick in the book, but people love to feel they’re getting a bargain.

Upselling example offer: 12 months for the price of 10 if the customer moves up to the next level of service when their contract renews.
The cost of the higher-level service should still deliver a profit for your company. This may be aggregated across the likelihood of the customer reducing their service level after the initial offer. Ensure that you base these predictions on historical data and not your gut.

Cross-selling example offer: Buy product A to get product B at a reduced rate.
Product A may be a line you need to reduce, and product B may have a stronger profit margin to be able to enable the offer.


It goes without saying that if you’re going down this route, you must make sure the numbers add up to keep your financial controller happy. You don’t want to damage your profit margins with discount incentives.

3. LET THEM SEE FOR THEMSELVES
Sometimes the best way to convince a customer that they need your latest offer is to give them a trial. Let them have a go for themselves, so they can test it and see how it works for them. This can work well for online services, as time-limited access can be easily granted. Feedback on their experience of the trial will also prove valuable to you as you approach your next customer.

4. SHOW THEM OTHERS LIKE THEM
By this I mean get into the business of writing case studies to share the success stories of other clients who have gone before. You can then use these to gently persuade your current clients that the next level of service, or another product, will work brilliantly for them too. This type of persuasive cross-selling technique can often feel a lot more comfortable than the hard sell.

5. INCENTIVISE YOUR SALES TEAMS
Often when you’re thinking about how to cross-sell effectively, one of the best ways is to incentivise your sales teams. Provide training to teach upselling and cross-selling tips and then provide targets, with high achievement rewarded in some way – money, a ‘star of the week’ medal, or even chocolate, can all work well. If you emphasise the importance of these techniques as a growth strategy, your sales teams may very well do you proud.

If you nurture your relationships, know your customers and their goals, you can upsell or cross-sell them services they want. And when you believe in these benefits and sell them with knowledge, passion and honesty, the additional cost will become a no brainer for them.

How can you spot the upsell and cross-selling opportunities?
We’re glad you asked because that is why we get out of bed in the morning. Everyone at sales-i works to develop and deliver award-winning software that does exactly that.

We connect up the dots and give your team the inside scoop on which customers are dropping in value or not taking advantage of all of the products or services you offer.

Plus, we do it in one interface with proactive alerts, simple data drilling, and mobile and tablet access to information when you are out in the field. This results in every member of your team having the data they need. As a result, they can better direct their sales conversations and offer customers the solutions they need.

See how your team can sell smart with sales intelligence from sales-i.

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