10 Best Practices for Cross-Selling and Up-Selling
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Top 10 Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Strategies for Your Sales

Sophia Williams
Sophia Williams
November 9, 2022
Last updated on:

November 9, 2022


Read time: 6 mins

Companies are always on the lookout for effective methods of increasing their sales volume without actually having to increase their budget for marketing. Consumers too are reducing their spending which is making it tough for companies to increase their average order size. In these pressing circumstances, companies should consider incorporating cross-selling and up-selling strategies, which has a huge potential of bringing in new customers and keep existing customers happy. Taking the help of an expert in sales and acquisition outsourcing services would provide you with the guidance to tackle cross selling and up selling.

Cross selling refers to the method of enticing the customer with a complimentary item in addition to the item which the customer is already interested in, whereas up selling is the practice of offering an upgraded version of a particular product. A research conducted by an e-tailing group has shown that companies, which have actively taken up cross selling and up selling, have been able to generate 10% additional revenue.

Both cross selling and up selling are considered to be aggressive sales behavior and in most cases customers find it irritating and annoying In the long run this technique can alienate the customers. Therefore, for sustained positive user experience, a user centric approach rather than a company centric approach must be followed when it comes to cross- selling and up selling.

Companies can add  considerable to the customer’s purchasing journey through cross selling and up selling and this can be done by following some best practices as stated below:

1. Ultimate Aim Should be to Provide Maximum Value:

Customers usually look for products that provide the best value for their money. Therefore, it becomes highly essential that for cross-selling or up-selling to be successful the value of the sale must be demonstrated to the customer. To quantify this value, the customer must be made to focus on the bigger picture. It must be made clear to the customer that a product’s value cannot be judged by its sticker price but by its reliability, wear and tear, and most importantly, depreciation.

2. Timing and Context is Extremely Important:

Knowing when to skip or delay is one of the most difficult features of cross selling and upselling. Timing is everything. The customer’s immediate needs should always be given the highest priority. If a customer calls with a complaint and is visibly frustrated, the last thing they want to hear is a customer service representative (CSR) trying to cross sell or up sell an item to them. A study by Achieve Global has found that 40% of customers get annoyed when CSRs try to cross-sell or up-sell products during customer service interactions.

The best time to cross-sell or up-sell is at the end of the conversation when the customer’s issue has already been resolved and their trust and goodwill has been earned. The key here is to be able to gauge the situation and act accordingly.

3. Build Credibility:

Citing specific recommendations from industry experts or professionals is an excellent method of cross-selling or up selling any product. This increases the credibility and trust of those items in the eyes of the customers. Amazon generates more than 35% of its revenue through cross-selling activities.

4. Stay Relevant:

The CSR must abstain from trying to cross-sell items to customers, which they do not need. This will only distract the customer from purchasing their item of interest. The biggest disadvantage is that the recommendations, which are true to the customer’s liking, might lose its credibility. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the recommendations as relevant as possible.

5. Exercise Restraint:

You do not want to bombard the customer with suggestion after suggestion. This method of cross-selling will only confuse the customer and dilute their attention. You must keep a limit on the number of item suggestions.. By exercising restraint and suggesting, only a few items will serve to increase the customer’s attention span and your conversion ratio.

6. Entice Loyal Customers with Exclusive Offers:

This is one of the most effective methods of up-selling items to your customers. Early bird discounts, friends & family vouchers and loyal customer pre-sales are some of the methods of achieving this. This not only helps keep your current customer base happy, it also has the potential to bring in new customers as your current customers may refer you to their friends or family. Smart Money has found that, if done properly, more than 15% of customers would like to hear about up-sell offers. For example, you can provide your existing customers with a referral discount code which they can share with their friends thereby providing your company with new customers.

7. Special Events:

The personal details of your customer such as birthday or marriage anniversary can be used as an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell a product. On their special day, you can approach them with special offers on different products which might be within their zone of preference. This method of offering personalized experience based on customer preference has a huge potential to increase customer loyalty as well as revenue.

8. Listen and Respond to the Customer Appropriately:

Here you have to go beyond your written script and the past purchases of the customers to get an idea about their interests. You need to actively listen to a customer, to gauge their needs at that moment and upsell an item that will satisfy their needs. It is not about what the customer says but about what he implies, that you need to understand to upsell the right product. For example, a customer who calls in with a problem regarding his printer may not be aware of the fact that the particular printer is only suitable for home use whereas he has been using it for business purpose. This is an ideal opportunity for you to upsell another printer which will suit his needs even though you were not planning this.

9. Bundled Discounts:

Providing huge discounts while trying to cross sell or up sell is a successful tactic to entice customers to purchase more than one item. Bundled discounts on complimentary items are usually more effective when the advantages are put forward to the customers. Make sure to provide detailed information on the discounted bundled items to provide the customers with a clear picture of the benefits of the items you are trying to cross sell or upsell.

10. Low Margin Items vs High Margin Items:

Low margin items are usually the ones which do not require much explanation to be done for the customer and they are already aware of its details. Your goal must be to put forward your higher margin product suggestions which the customers might be more interested in and have a higher probability of purchasing it. These are the items which the customers might have heard about but did not have in-depth details to go ahead with the purchase.

While all these ten practices will certainly invigorate your sales and acquisition campaigns, leading to increased lead  captures, an easier, cost-effective and time-saving method would be to outsource your sales requirements to an effective purveyor of cross selling and up selling services . This would ensure that you are able to focus on your core business goals while allowing an expert to manage your lead capture and conversion.

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