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Understanding Upselling: Get Farther Without Going Too Far

Learn how to get more business out of a customer without pushing them away.

The word “upselling” may bring to mind the titular salesperson, but the truth is that everyone can benefit from this sales technique.

Upselling is a method of encouraging customers to spend more by adding additional items or upgrades to their purchases. An upsell can bring in increased revenue. However, just as you might imagine the cliched salesman to be, going about this the wrong way can come across as pushy. That’s why it’s important to learn techniques to upsell without pushing customers away.

Though the threat of coming across wrongly seems risky, the benefit of upselling can be well worth it. There are lots of reasons why it might actually be crucial to a business. For example, if a customer is there for sale items, or if a frequently bought item doesn’t net much positive, getting that customer to add more items to their order might become the bulk of that business’s income.

Let’s look at where the line is drawn between maxing out business and driving business away.

Learn more about the customer

Making assumptions about the customer can come across as pushy. If you’re jumping to conclusions, insisting on what’s best for the customer, that’s where you’ll lose them.

Instead, find out more information first before making recommendations and attempting an upsell. Follow up with questions. Actively engaging with the customer in this way will make them feel more valued, too.

Tailor your offers to the customer

With more information about the individual customer, you can tailor your suggestions to their specific needs. It also helps to know where a particular product has seen the most success, as this knowledge can be applied to make better offers.

Throwing out random offers at a customer can be off-putting and feel pushy. Talk slowly and be patient. You don’t want your customer thinking that you’re just trying to get the sale over with to move on to the next.

Don’t argue – reach an agreement

Though you may think you know what’s best for the customer, being overly insistent will push them away.

If the customer objects to an offer, work to understand where they’re coming from. Once again, getting more information may help to come up with an offer that might better fit their needs. This also creates the opportunity to better educate the customer on what there is to offer.

Know the products

Knowledgeable staff have an upper hand in upselling. They will be ready with appropriate suggestions for the customer.

Apply cross selling to encourage customers to purchase more items related to the product they first intended to buy.

In addition to general product knowledge, pay attention to what past customers have bought together. Having this information can help you to predict what future customers will be interested in adding to their order.

Know when to stop

It’s very important in the discussion of upselling without pushing customers away: know when to stop pushing.

Listen to the customer. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. If a few attempts haven’t gone over well, let it go.

If you’re at the point that you’re attempting an upsell, that means that you already have a customer that’s planning to buy. That’s still a success. Pushing too hard might drive that customer away, and business could be lost.

Upselling doesn’t have to be left up to a salesperson. It’s something that everyone can do. When upselling is naturally built into the routine, it can come across less aggressively and yield more success.

Being a good upseller comes down to being knowledgeable and having the right attitude.