The Secret of Upselling: 5 Tips For Making More Money From Your Clients

Unless you are extraordinarily lucky, or perhaps have a niche business in a sector that no-one else is in, you need to be continuously thinking about new customers. How to find them, how to get them to buy from you, and buy again, and keep them buying.

Upselling, alongside cross-selling (which I’ll be covering in a later blog) is the answer; in its simplest form, this is the process of selling additional items, upgrades or more expensive services/products to current clients/customers.

Finding new customers costs money and, as business owners, we’re all very keen to keep our costs to a minimum. We definitely don’t want to lose them once we have them, so alongside ensuring that our offer is on point, we also need to make sure that our customer service is the best it can be.

With all that in place, and clients/customers bought in to what we do – how can we upsell successfully and capitalise on our current customer base to its maximum?

Here’s my five top tips:

1.       Put yourself in your customers shoes: what do they really need? In every business I’ve had, I’ve always looked at my offer – and my offer development – from the point of view of my client. Why do they want to buy from me? Once they’ve bought from me once, why would they (or should they) buy from me again? And what else do I have that I can sell them – or develop to sell them? When you understand your customer thought processes, and how you can lead them to other products or services as a result, it becomes much easier.

2.       Upsell as part of your normal sales process. For instance, if I’m working in a café, and a customer has bought a morning coffee, I might ask if they’d like to buy some cake to go alongside it, or if it’s getting close to lunchtime I might show them our specials and ask if they’d like to stay for something to eat.

3.       Use excellent customer service and absolute honesty. I have experienced great success in upselling over the years, based on customer service. Firstly, if a customer/client has enjoyed working with me once, they’re likely to come back when they need my services again – and then it’s much easier for me to sell them something that’s more expensive because they trust me, and they know that my offer is up to scratch. Now, I need to be very clear here: selling on the back of excellent customer service requires a high degree of trust. NEVER try to upsell a client because you want more money out of them – ONLY ever sell in that way because you believe it’s the right thing for your customer.

4.       Online checkout upgrade. If you sell via a website, you can upsell by making product suggestions when a customer goes to checkout. If you’re selling flowers, for instance, perhaps you could suggest a different flower arrangement that they may not have seen, a bottle of champagne or cuddly toy.

5.       Check they actually need what they want to buy. I promise I’m not suggesting that you should talk every potential customer or client out of buying from you (although, ethically speaking, if they don’t actually need what they’re buying then you should maybe suggest that – and I have, and it brought me four new clients and a different sale from that customer in the process); I’m suggesting you should talk about why they’re buying what they’re buying. Why? Because there may be a chance to upsell to something more appropriate and/or more comprehensive.  

That last point is the key – in order to successfully upsell, you need to understand your customers motivations and needs. Do that, and upselling becomes a walk in the park.

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