When customers arrive at a store, whether online or in person, to purchase a product or service, they usually have a general idea of what they want, but not necessarily an exact product or plan in mind. A well-trained sales team can use this as an opportunity to educate them on what options are available and suggest alternative products or services, sometimes of a higher monetary value, that will benefit both parties.
Convincing a customer to upgrade or buy a more expensive version of a product or service is called upselling. In very general terms, it aims to generate more revenue by asking the customer if they’d like to purchase a higher-priced product than they had originally chosen. There is a fine line between pushy selling and making practical recommendations that have genuine value to a customer. By pushing too hard, you run the risk of turning customers away and making no sale at all. It can also mean customers are turned off from doing business with you as they associate it with pushy sales tactics where little or no value to them is identified.
However, when done right, upselling can be a great tool to help grow your business while providing value to your customers too. In a service business like cleaning, lawncare or any contract work, you get to know your repeat customers well and this is where upselling can become even more efficient than winning new business. Successful upselling comes with really understanding what your customers want and need.
Here’s how the right upselling techniques will help deliver value to your customers:
1. Personalizing the customer experience
Customers like to feel their business is valued. Where businesses can customize experiences, products and services, people are far more likely to actively engage with them. Contractors that operate within the construction industry, for example, are increasingly finding that the more they can offer personal levels of communication, the more satisfied their customers end up being.
This can manifest itself in several different ways and doesn’t necessarily have to mean it takes more of your time to achieve. Smart technology is revolutionising the way business can offer a personalised service and proving it can be simple, quick, and easy. Software from companies such as Jobber can be integrated with your CRM system to provide all customer data at your fingertips. From here you can send personalised ‘on my way’ SMS messages and updates relating to any work you are doing effortlessly. (1)
If you maintain accurate records about your customers and what you have done for them, you are in a much better position to understand what challenges they might be facing that you can help with. This will enable you to recommend suitable upgrades or additional products or services that will add practical value to them. By recognising what their needs are you’re your ‘upselling’ technique will be far more subtle and appreciated. This also helps to foster trust and loyal customers who return to you as someone they feel understands them. (1)
2. Offering different levels of services
A common upselling technique is to clearly show customers the difference between different levels of services or products offered. This technique is called the good, better, best pricing––where customers get more value for a better price when they upgrade. (2)
Upselling in this way presents several different plans that clearly specify what service or product is offered for each. Customers are free to choose if they want to upgrade to a higher plan and it is obvious the greater value they’ll get if they do so. This technique doesn’t usually require a salesperson to explain, and therefore doesn’t feel pushy for the customer. (2)
3. Customers leverage a complete solution
Sometimes it’s better to take a step back and view a product or service more holistically. Taking the example of the construction industry, a customer might be thinking one solution might suit them best, not realising other alternatives are available that might suit them better. As the expert in your field, you can take this opportunity to explain this to them. Viewing products and services from a bigger perspective can help customers make better informed purchasing decisions. (1)
At other times, customers can upgrade to get all their items from one place rather than sourcing them from a number of different places which can be time-consuming and inconvenient.
On the whole, if you are able to upsell products or services of genuine value to customers, they will thank you for it and trust your business to a greater degree. (1)
4. By placing them in exclusive membership
People enjoy having exclusive membership to things such as a loyalty program. You can consider offering this to customers if they spend a certain amount of money, for example. Once they have signed onto something like this, they are far more likely to repeat their custom with you. (3)
A loyalty program could be a good fit for your business if you want to foster a personal and engaged service. Members can be offered discounts or be the first to learn about new offers and products. So, while you’re getting more customers to spend more or upgrade, you also provide more value and incentives, which is a win for both parties. (3)
5. Provide add-ons
Convincing customers who have already made a purchase can be challenging unless you show them what extra value they’ll get from upgrading. So, one technique you can use to upsell to them is by using add-ons whenever they agree to purchase an item. However, this should be made available before the customer gets to the checkout, which helps them to discover products naturally. (3)
Ideas for add-ons can be anything from additional features, bonus products, or sample size products. If you are a lawncare contractor for example, you could consider adding an additional service at a discounted price, if the customer chooses a high-tier plan. That way, customers know that although they’re paying more, they’re also getting additional value. (3)
6. Addressing their original problems
If you’re in the service industry such as plumbing, and a client calls you about a problem they are having such as a burst pipe, the best upselling technique is first to identify and solve the problem, then make any suggestions you feel would benefit them. As the expert in your field, your judgement will be trusted if you feel that there is a wider problem or associated issue that should be addressed. In this way, you are not coming across as pushy, but rather educating your customer on how to make more general improvements for their benefit. (2)
Upselling can have many benefits to your business, such as a higher customer retention rate and greater revenue generation. There’s always a risk of appearing pushy when upselling items to clients if not done in an authentic and genuine way. The best way to be successful at this is to make customers feel connected to your business and like they are getting real value from the items you are upselling to them.
- “5 Benefits of Cross-Selling and Upselling for Every Kind of B2B Business”, Source: https://www.newbreedrevenue.com/blog/cross-selling-upselling-benefits
- “UPSELLING TECHNIQUES: HOW TO UPSELL SERVICES WITHOUT BEING PUSHY”, Source: https://academy.getjobber.com/resources/articles/upselling-techniques-service-business/
- “9 Ideas for How to Upsell Your Customers and Increase Sales”, Source: https://www.sellbrite.com/blog/how-to-upsell-your-customers/