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A Sales Pro’s Guide To Cross-Selling And Up-Selling

We Americans love an up-sell. And for that matter, we enjoy a good cross-sell, too.

Cross-selling and up-selling strategies are used by organizations to earn more revenue from existing customers. It can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one. That’s why cross-selling and up-selling opportunities can provide a huge return on investment for organizations.

Current customers are easier to sell to—by a long shot: You’re 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer, compared to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect. So if your company isn’t cross-selling and up-selling, you’re just leaving money on the table.

A company’s sales reps and Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are in a great position to cross-sell and up-sell clients. The sales team and account managers have the inside scoop on customers’ current needs, as well as their potential future needs.

So, what is the difference between a cross-sell and an up-sell?

Upsell Definition:

A sales technique used to encourage a customer to spend more by buying an upgraded or premium version of what’s being purchased.

Up-sell Examples:

Example: “Would you like to supersize your order?”

Example: Getting upgraded from a hotel room with two double beds to a room with a king-sized bed at a higher price.

Cross-sell Definition:

A cross-sell offers additional products or services outside of what you originally purchased.

Cross-sell Examples:

Example: You’ve stuffed yourself with food at your favorite restaurant, and your waiter asks if you’d like to add a dessert. Yes, please!

Example: You’ve purchased a mobile phone. What is the next thing the sales rep asks you? Would you like to buy a screen protector and protective case for your smartphone?

Here are 5 strategies to help you with cross-selling and up-selling your existing clients:

Get to know your audience

Effective cross-selling and up-selling starts by truly understanding your customers’ needs. Teach your sales reps to ask good questions throughout the sales process, to identify the right products and services for them, as well as the right cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. The goal is to establish a long-term relationship and build strong customer loyalty.

Build out customer journeys

You can provide your salespeople with effective product maps to help them choose what services and products to offer to which customers—at every level of the customer journey. Analyze the purchase history of your current clients, and then categorize by customer which products or services to offer. In addition, your sales reps, account managers, and customer service reps should all be familiar with the services your offer and/or your product catalog.

Understand client needs

If you try to up-sell or cross-sell without knowing where your customer is in the sales cycle, it may come across purely as a sales pitch. It’s important to tie what you’re offering to the customer’s needs. Present the sales offering in a way that puts the customer and his or her needs first. For instance, a couple comes into your office to updated their homeowner’s insurance and auto coverage. The sales rep knows that the family just had a baby recently. The rep check on the well-being of the new family member and mention that now might be a good time to think about life insurance coverage for the new child.

Keep offers simple

Bombarding clients with too many offers for additional products or services can backfire by creating confusion and diluting the customer’s attention. Get a clear idea of common challenges your customers face, and decide which products might provide a solution for your client. Teach your sales reps to limit their cross-selling and up-selling efforts to only a few items that provide clear benefits to the customer.

Know which products bundle well

Over time, sales reps will learn which products or services naturally fit into the sales process and when is the best time to offer them. Create a cheat sheet for your sales team to help them streamline the process. At the same time, look for opportunities to dig deep and identify a customer’s unique needs.

Practice active listening

You may need to come up with cross-sell or up-sell opportunities for clients on a phone call or via email. Make sure to hone your listening skills to recognize when a customer might be ready for an offer from you. For example, if a customer mentions a need for expanded capabilities or a desire to reach a goal faster, you may want to explain how your products or services can get them there.

When selling, timing is everything. Customer opportunities need to be offered at the right time and be relevant to the customer’s needs. When done properly, cross-selling and up-selling can ramp up revenue, spur repeat patronage, and bolster customer loyalty and satisfaction.

READ MORE: 6 Compelling Reasons To Digitize Your Sales Process

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