The Principles of Upselling a Customer
November 10, 2019
Image from https://www.flint.com/blog/4-tips-for-effective-upselling/
Whether you’re selling drinks as a bartender, software as a salesperson, or cellphones as a retail associate, the strategies for upselling a customer can apply to a range of business situations.
What is upselling? It’s getting a customer to make a bigger purchase than they originally intended to. This is usually done by getting them to buy an upgrade or other related products or services that might supplement their original purchase. It’s the classic question: “would you like fries and a Coke with that?”
Upselling is important because it’s where the big spending happens with customers. Whereas you might have a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect, your chances of selling to an existing customer are 60-70%. There’s also ample evidence it’s much cheaper to sell to your existing customers than new ones.
That said, here are four principles for communicating an upsell to almost any customer.
Know your customer
If you don’t know your customer, you won’t know how to upsell them. Find out what the customer wants to gain from your product or service. Ask them what they want to accomplish? What kind of experience, taste, or solution are they looking for? Which problem are they trying to solve? Not only do you build trust with a customer, but once you know what you’ll upsell them, you’ll be able to explain how the new purchase will benefit their overall goals.
Choose the right upsell
Choosing the right upsell is arguably more important than the upsell. There are two things to remember here: first, make the upsell relevant to the original purchase. If the customer is buying shoes, sell them a shoe cleaner. If they’re buying software, sell 24-hour support. If they’re buying a computer, ask if they’ve got a case for it.
The second point here is to keep the upselling recommendations limited. The more options, the more you confuse the customer. If you stick to communicating two or three well-targeted recommendations, you increase your chances of successfully closing the sale.
Provide social proof
Social proof is one of your greatest upselling tools because it lets your customers know that others in their situation found the product or service recommendation worthwhile. Amazon does this very effectively by showing you other products people looked at or purchased. But local coffee shops do this effectively too when they ask if you’ve tried one of their popular pastries. The key is to show your customers that others have found value in the upsell you’re offering.
Don’t be pushy
Upselling is a great driver of revenue, but you don’t want to overdo it. Stick to a few products or services that are targeted to your customer’s wants, needs and preferences, but don’t be pushy. Otherwise, it’ll sound like you’re trying to line your own pockets and you might lose your customer’s trust long-term.