Upselling – the “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

Regardless of the industry, every business wants to boost sales and drive larger profits in today’s economy. Even if you’re already making solid sales, there’s always potential for improvement. One of the most effective techniques is upselling, whether an upgrade or add-on is offered to an existing purchase. If you’ve ever been asked if you would like fries with that – you have experienced this technique first hand. To be an expert at upselling there are some tips that we should all be respectful of:

Up Selling Do’s

Be Prepared

Be an expert on your product and offerings. To maximize your conversion rate, have a basic script planned out ahead of time and know how exactly how each product or service can be up sold. A sales rep from an electronics store might suggest purchasing additional RAM when someone is buying a computer or an extended warranty. Knowing ahead of time which upgrades or add-ons are logical for a product or service will streamline the process and show customers you are knowledgeable, and assure them that they are dealing with the right person to help them with their need.

Good Timing

Another integral part of up selling is offering the up sell at the perfect time. The best time is typically as soon as the customer decides to purchase, but before checking out. This is when they are ready to buy and are most open to suggestions for product or service enhancements. Asking a few questions to assess their needs should help you decide the ideal time to up sell.

Demonstrate Value

The customer knows how you will “win” with an upsell – get more money from them. But to effectively upsell you must demonstrate how a customer will benefit from the up sell you offer. You need to tell them what they “Win”, and don’t be shy about recommending items of value to the customer. In the instance of additional computer RAM, they would benefit from faster web browsing and more network capabilities. Or – perhaps they would be better off purchasing a higher priced computer that has more RAM and a better warranty. Clearly explaining the problems that the up sell will solve or how a customer’s life will be made better and easier, should increase the likelihood of conversion.

Limit your recommendations or bundle

Do make recommendations – you are the expert and after all, the customer is asking for your help. But don’t get carried away with too many. No one wants customers overwhelmed and confused with too many choices that might cause them to back away slowly without conversion. One up sell at a time is always good advice opposed to a “Pushy” sales technique.

Another option could be to bundling products together if that makes sense with the items you are selling. Don’t sell tennis racquets, balls or sweatbands in separate transactions. Make it convenient for your customers by packaging all these three items and selling them at a price lower than the sum of the individual items. Customers love integrated offerings because they can get everything they want with minimum of hassles.

Up Selling Don’ts

Going Overboard

A common mistake employee sometimes make is trying to up sell to the point where customer would be making another big purchase. Being too greedy and trying to drain customers for everything they’re worth is counterproductive and can even create resentment. A suggested upsell should increase the original sale by a maximum of 25%. Realistically someone looking for a Kia rarely walks out with a Mercedes no matter how good the salesperson is helping them.

Closed-Ended Questions

Another mistake is trying to up sell by asking yes or no questions like, “Is that all for you today?” or “Would you like anything else?” Instead, guide the conversation and make sure a customer is aware of the possibilities they have. You might say something like, “Let me show you (product) that will perfectly complement the product you are about to buy.”

Being Overly Pushy or Aggressive

While a reasonable number of customers are receptive to up selling, some aren’t. For this reason, use discretion when making suggestions and recommendations. If a customer is in a noticeably bad mood, it’s probably not smart to push your luck and pound them over the head with upgrades and add-ons. Just be respectful and understand when no means no.

Mastering the art of the up sell takes time, practice, and intuition. Although your conversion rate might not be outstanding initially, some diligence and perseverance should optimize your ability and increase your odds for success. Once you get the hang of it, you can expect to increase the average sales from each customer considerably. Besides this, the added value customers receive from up sells can build rapport and lead to repeat sales and great reviews!

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