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Sales Strategy
Nov 25, 2010 | Jim Domanski

The easiest way to increase sales dramatically is to sell more to someone who is already buying. How many times have you gone to a store or made a call with a specific purchasing mission in mind, but ended up spending more, for whatever reason?

How many more french fries does McDonald's sell every day by simply asking, "Would you like fries with your burger?"

It's simple: if you're not now taking advantage of opportunities that show up every day, you are MISSING potential sales.

Here are some tips for profitable cross-selling and up-selling.

1. Never, ever attempt to up-sell or cross-sell until you have all the information necessary to fulfill the first order.

In our rush or excitement to up-sell we sometimes forget that the customer has an order to place. Selling additional items too early in the call might turn the customer off.

You could lose the original sale.

2. THE RULE OF  "25."
The value of an add-on sale should not increase the overall order by more than 25 per cent. For example, if the original order is $100, you should be cautious in your attempts to exceed that order by $25.

Despite the fact that people are motivated to buy, they still have a mental limit as to the amount they will dispense. 

For whatever reason, that figure rarely exceeds 25%. Generally, going above that value is only marginally successful.

This is more of a management, rather than a salesperson decision,  but the whole point of the exercise is to make money.

The item(s) you choose must make enough profit to at least cover the cost of the additional time you spend on the phone.

You're in business to make money so you must show a profit on each add-on sale.

There is, on occasion, the urge to use cross-selling and up-selling to move unwanted inventory.

This in itself is okay provided the customer isn't saddled with useless or defective products. If you are clearing stock that won't be replaced, let the customer know.

If it is a discontinued line, don't hesitate in letting the customer know. If you don't, you'll be sorry later.

Your goal is to give your customer value, not to be cleaning out your warehouse of 'stuff' you can't sell.

You'll make a sale today, but lose a customer tomorrow.

Limit your choice of add-on items to those that clearly relate to the original purchase. 

If a customer were buying a blazer he has seen in a catalogue, suggesting a shirt and a tie makes sense. Suggesting a goose-necked garden hoe, however, does not.

The more familiar your customer is with the add-on item, the more likely he or she is to buy. Cross-selling and up-selling is not the time to introduce a brand new product, unless the price is unusually low (Refer to #3.)

New products take time to sell using features and benefits.

This will take additional time. The purpose of the up-sell is to increase the order while the buying motive is strong.

Introducing something unfamiliar will only confuse the customer.

Again, likely a management issue, but your life will be much easier if the program is well planned and implemented.

For instance, not only must you decide which products to sell, you must determine what product(s) they relate to. So, if you are going to up-sell with ties, you've got to decide, in advance, which blazers they will match.

Ensure that you are trained on the products or services offered.

Make sure you understand them. Rehearse the skills necessary to get the customer to say "yes."

One catalogue firm spends 40 hours on training designed to demonstrate how a particular add-on applies to and benefits the customer.

Okay, another management issue that you might want to make your manager aware of. Test your cross-selling and up-selling with your best people.

They have the drive and initiative to work out any of the kinks. Introduce the cross-selling and up-selling program to the rest of the sales reps only after you are sure of the test results.

10. E=MC2
Your cross-selling efforts (E) will be directly dependent on how motivated (M) you are. Cross-selling and up-selling takes additional time and effort.

If there is no reward ... if you are not motivated ... chances are the program will not be a rip roaring success.

Compensation (C) is always a critical factor in selling and perhaps more so when you are asking for that little extra with each sale.
The other C stands for Control. Whether you are a sales rep or a manager, the ability to control the direction of the cross-selling and up-selling activities will determine success.

In other words, measure your productivity, your performance and your profitability.

If there is something lacking in any one of these areas, make changes.

These 10 tips give you some good guidelines for profitable cross-selling and up-selling.  Start practicing these on your very next incoming order and you WILL increase your sales.

About the Author:

Jim Domanski is the author of the new book, "Add-On Selling: How to Squeeze Every Last Ounce of Sales Potential from Your Calls

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