Improve your Sales with Up Selling


“Would you like fries with that?” – We have all heard this while ordering burger at a fast food place. How many times have you answered it with – “sure”? Well, this is the power of up selling. In its simplest form, it is just a matter of asking customers if they want to add more items to their order. In a more subtle form, it could be something like placing a complementary item to the one that you intend to purchase in a grocery store and enticing you to buy it.
If you are not taking advantage of up selling and cross selling opportunity in your business you are probably losing 20-30% of potential sales. Some companies have really mastered the techniques of up selling by making customers buy additional items at a high price. For example, Ford has increased the average selling price of its cars by making customers want and pay for the extra options in their basic cars. When Apple introduced its next generation of iPad on March 3 it also showed a screen cover that will be sold for $39 for basic model and $69 for leather version. Can you imagine what their profit margin is on these items?

The reasons for up selling are simple – it helps you improve your sales as well as profit margin. In most cases, the items you up sell are ancillary to main product and have higher profit. Think Pepsi that you order with your burger!
While the benefits of up selling are clear you have to do it the right way. Otherwise you risk annoying your customers and may be even losing them. Below we show several tips on how to do it well.

  • Make it easy for customers. You need to develop the product and customer experience such that all a customer has to do is say yes to your question on up selling. Think about the question we posed in the beginning of the post.
  • Accessorize. The items you can up sell are usually the accessories that complement the main product you are selling. Always be on the lookout for these types of items you can add to your portfolio.
  • Offer wide selection. Having wider selection will ensure that the customer will find at least something he will like, thus improving your chance of success.
  • Don’t be too aggressive. The customer should not feel that he is being pushed into buying more. Always ask for permission before you offer an additional item. For example – “may I interest you in something that will complement what you just bought very well?”
  • Ask all employees to sell. Make sure your employees know they are expected to up sell. At the same time, train them well so that they don’t turn off the customers with wrong tactics.
  • Focus on customer needs. Many business owners will offer just about any item for up sell without giving consideration to the needs of customers. Put yourself in their shoes and ask the question – “would I want this product if I am purchasing other items?”
  • Give hands-on demos. The success rate of customer buying a product increases significantly when they see it in action. We know from personal experience. Just ask us about the $400 blender I bought from Costco few months ago after looking at a demo.
  • Group similar items. By grouping similar items you are able to offer them at a discount; while at the same time improving your average sales. This is a win-win for both you and the customer.

I am sure you can use some these techniques to improve sales for your business. Let us know how it goes and happy selling.

Image Courtesy:   pointnshoot

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