If you’re in sales, learning how to upsell is essential to increase your income. There are two basic ways to earn a higher sales commission with each interaction: either sell more items to a customer or sell more expensive ones.

Cross-selling is a type of upselling focused on selling more products or services by offering additional ones related to what the customer is already purchasing. The most famous example is probably, “Do you want fries with that?”

But selling products of higher value is often the more efficient and cost-effective way to go because fewer sales need to be made to increase commissions. For example, if you’re looking to net an extra $100, selling widgets with a profit margin of $1.00 each requires 100 sales. In contrast, selling gizmos with a profit margin of $20 each requires only five sales. As long as the sales cycle for selling gizmos is not more than 20 times longer than that to sell widgets, you’re ahead of the game.

Benefits of Upselling

Three major benefits of upselling include:

  • Higher client satisfaction
  • Faster overall business growth
  • Increased sales commissions

When your client feels like the upsell is a personal win, you both win! The only way to effectively sell the win is to focus on value. If buyers value you and what you bring to the table, they’ll buy and buy again. A great example of a win-win situation would be, “Our premium package gives you an extra month of service absolutely free.”

Understand the Value of Your Upsell

To better understand the value of your upsell, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the results, benefits, and solutions provided by the upsell?
  • Why do our clients buy from us now?
  • Why are they willing to pay what they pay?
  • What might former clients be willing to purchase now?

Upselling isn’t just a sales tactic; it’s a client satisfaction strategy to help you build deeper relationships with customers by delivering more value. Offering upgrades, special deals, and free gifts (e.g., three for the price of two) is a great way to convince clients to spend a little more while getting something for it.

Corporate decision makers expect you to be conversant about their company if you want them to hear about yours. Consider what matters to them. Always focus on the value your product or service offers their business.

Upselling Is Easiest with Existing Customers

Getting repeat sales from existing clients is the fastest, most profitable way to increase business year after year. According to Marketing Metrics, “The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be}. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70{db95e0fd77ae6d141d4535e2bf7b464d98e4151322120f553d7786be9a7303be}.”

Never underestimate the importance of existing satisfied customers. It costs less to sell to them than to find new buyers. What’s more, if you’ve built rapport, they tell you what you’re doing right and wrong, they refer other business to you, and compared to new customers, they’re less price-sensitive.

Have you ever stopped to consider the value of a client over the long term, say five or 10 years? Their value is not limited to periodic replenishment. Spend time thinking about other products or services that may be beneficial to their operation. Often, a client will test the waters by purchasing a lower-priced item and upon satisfaction be open to higher end products.

Mining Your Client Base for Upselling Potential

Think about the following as you focus on existing customers who might want upgraded or additional products or services:

  • Who are your most satisfied customers? When is the last time you contacted them? Make sure you’re not always just trying to sell them; provide free content and offers of value.
  • Your customers don’t know your products and services as well as you do. Most people are focused on one problem/solution when they make a purchase. You’ve probably heard “I didn’t know you did that!” from a customer at some point.
  • Take advantage of every customer touch point to show them what you can offer. Also, send occasional emails about new products and special offers.
  • Following a sale, a courtesy call is a good opportunity to offer other goods and services.
  • Incentives can be the best way to achieve extra sales.
  • It’s very effective to bundle together related products or services in a package deal.

Become Your Customer’s Advisor

Another key to upselling is to become more than just a sales rep by becoming a trusted advisor. Do so by not only highlighting the value you offer, but by creating new value with each interaction. Bring your clients new ideas and insights about their operation. Share pertinent information, be up on latest trends, and be the best resource for knowledge and expertise.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Figure out current and potential problems faced by the customer’s business
  • Educate yourself on their company and industry
  • Contribute valuable ideas and information
  • Quantify the difference your products or services can make
  • Speak conversationally with clients as peers and avoid the sales pitch
  • Ask questions that demonstrate your expertise, not your ignorance

Maximizing the upsell requires you to think about your client’s business from a different perspective. Know more than your competitors about the market, processes, future trends, and your client’s specific business goals and objectives.

Constantly think about how you can help your client expand and improve their business. Once you learn to leverage your expertise and offerings to meet your client’s challenges and goals, your sales efforts will be more productive and you’ll get more business.

Knowing How to Upsell Is a Key to Sales Success

Upselling increases commissions and client satisfaction while promoting fast business growth. It’s not limited to new business, and is in fact most effective with existing satisfied clients. Improving your team’s upselling skills helps you surpass year-end sales goals and keeps your company on top.