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Super Sales Strategies: Quick Tips for Upselling And Cross-Selling

By Jerry Low, writer
May 12, 2015
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock
> Marketing

Congratulations! The battle has been won—you've made a sale.

But in reality, the battle has just begun. Making a sale is one thing, but what comes next? Hopefully more sales, and that's where upselling and cross selling come in to play.

These popular sales techniques help drive more sales from already converted customers, which are proven to be easier sales to make.

Upselling is something we're all well aware of, but for review, it's when a sales technique in which a salesperson is able to entice a customer to purchase more expensive items or upgrades in order to make a more profitable sale. According to Marketing Metrics, "the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%." Cross-selling involves selling additional products and services to an existing customer based on their initial purchase. 

Read on for five quick and easy upselling and cross-sellling techniques that will help drive site revenue.

1. Keep upselling recommendations limited

When it comes to upselling, more options do not necessarily increase the chances of a sale.

It is important to keep in mind here that more choices simply generate more confusion and often overwhelm consumers.

Successful upsells begin with a solution to their problems. Not more confusion and questions. Therefore, it is a wise idea to keep things simple. When it comes to offering cross-selling recommendations, for example, don’t offer 27 different possibilities.

Stick with just a few, well-targeted recommendations to maximize your shot at a successful sale. The example below shows how GoDaddy limit their upselling items to just three. When a customer orders a domain name, the system will ask if the customers are interested in domain privacy, web hosting, or email hosting.

 GoDaddy Upselling

Related Article: Circle Back Like A Serious Pro By Automating Sales Follow-Ups

2. Try bundling

Bundling encourages both upselling and cross selling. Therefore, it is always a wise idea to package items together into bundles.

For example, you can sell WordPress templates, plugins, and logos all together in bundles as opposed to separately as standalone items.

The chances that a consumer will purchase all three of these items increases dramatically if he or she can do so with one single purchase, as opposed to three separate purchases. This, in turn, boosts your company’s revenue.

3. Know your customers

Comprehensive audience research is critical to successful upselling and cross selling. Make sure you know your customers and that you understand their wants, needs, and preferences.

Think about a waiter in a high-end restaurant for instance. An effective waiter would likely pay attention to the preferences and tastes of regular customers. If the same couple comes in several times a month and always orders the same bottle of Argentinean Malbec, a good waiter would take note of this and eventually recommend a more expensive bottle of Malbec suited to the customers’ taste, a move that would likely impress the customers and boost the restaurant’s revenue.

Amazon is yet another great example of a company that effectively upsells and cross sells based on knowledge of customers.

The company tracks customers’ orders and makes purchase recommendations based on past orders. If you have ever bought a book from Amazon, you have probably noticed that the company tracks your book orders and recommends other relevant reading materials based on what other shoppers who also bought that book purchased. See screen captured for example - I just bought one of Pete Egoscue's books not long ago and the system is recommending more of his books to me when I log in. 

Amazon book recommendation based on my past purchase

Related Article: Persuasion Techniques: How to Get People to Say Yes to You More

4. Don't overdo it.

Both cross selling and upselling are excellent sales strategies. But don’t overdo it. Stick to pitching a few items that are well targeted toward your customers’ wants, needs, and preferences.

5. Always keep the rule of 25 in mind.

As a general rule of thumb, you should never try to upsell or cross sell items that are more than 25 percent of the original order. That means that if a potential car buyer walks onto a car lot with the intention of purchasing a Honda, the car seller probably shouldn’t try to upsell the buyer a Porsche. In this situation, he would only want to try to upsell the buyer a car that costs less than 25 percent more than the Honda.

The same principal applies to cross selling. Let’s return to that high-end restaurant example. Imagine that the couple settles on a $100 bottle of Malbec, and the waiter attempts to cross sell the couple white Italian truffles, which would pair beautifully with the wine. The problem? An order of white Italian truffles will typically run around $250 for a 500-gram serving, meaning that it is probably out of couple’s price range. The waiter shouldn’t try to cross sell anything that costs more than $125, or 25 percent more than the original order (the bottle of wine).

By sticking to the rule of 25, you will avoid making outlandish suggestions to customers and boost your odds of successful sales.

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Jerry Low
Jerry Low
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Jerry Low is a geek dad who enjoys building web assets. He regularly writes about blogging and web marketing. Learn more by following him on Twitter or subscribe to WHSR’s newsletter.
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