Customer Service / Upselling

Why is upselling important for your small business?

Laura Dolan

Updated: Nov 27, 2019 · 3 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

why is upselling important

The antiquated way of looking at an upsell is associating it with selling a customer something they don’t need just so the salesperson can make a higher commission.

It’s time to change that way of thinking and define upsell as something that benefits your business and your customers, but always keeping your customers’ best interests in mind. This way, you’ll be selling a product in which your customers can find value that will have them coming back for more.

So let’s learn how to upsell in a way that helps you make the extra effort for your customers. Once you understand what their needs are, sometimes upselling occurs organically.

Upselling and other methods

Upselling shouldn’t be perceived as a vehicle to push a certain product, but as an opportunity to enhance relationships with customers.

What would help is knowing the difference between upselling, cross-selling, bundling and downselling. Let’s break them down:

Upselling: the seller tempts the customer with more expensive items, upgrades or add-ons.

Cross-selling: when an additional product (or products) is sold in relation to what was originally bought.

Bundling: combining several products that may be sold as one unit at a discount.

Downselling: offering a lower-priced option that highlights important features still conducive to your customer’s needs.

How to upsell

Consider the variety of products you sell and your experience with them. You’re already familiar with the main item, now you need to get comfortable pairing it with supplemental products that would make the most sense to your customer.

Once you’ve established that, you can decide whether to upsell, cross-sell, bundle, or downsell and which will add the most benefit to the customer’s buying experience. Each buying situation is unique so it’s important to gauge how customers will be using the products.

Timing is everything, so it’s crucial that your method of upselling doesn’t discourage or frustrate the customer who is already making an initial purchase. You don’t want them to suddenly back out of the sale.

The best time to suggest an add-on is during the conversion process, whether they’re signing up or checking out. If they’re buying a computer, offer them an opportunity to add a mouse or a set of headphones. If they’re buying a pair of stilettos, suggest some shoe cushions for extra comfort.

Solve their problems

If customers are coming to you, they already have a product in mind that will fulfill a need or solve a problem. Take the opportunity to educate your customers about a product when they need clarification about a feature. An upsell may be just the answer they’re looking for if they weren’t aware that a more advanced product existed.

Keep them happy

Customers who have had a good buying experience tend to be more open to upsells when they’re satisfied with their overall purchase. They trust that you’re steering them in the right direction so perpetuate their positive state of mind with value-add sales.

Transaction confirmation

Another effective method of upselling can occur when you’re in the process of thanking customers for their purchase. When you send an automated message, whether it’s an email or text of their receipt or invoice, present another opportunity to make an additional purchase, as transaction confirmations tend to have a higher open rate.

An example: “Thank you for your purchase. Your new set of oil diffuser bracelets are on their way. Did you remember to buy essential oils? Click here for 5 reasons to use Turmeric.”

Upselling is a delicate sales tactic–customers usually see right through it and retort “no” before you even finish asking your question. Be subtle and approach the situation with empathy and understanding rather than forcing the issue. And if you don’t sell that upgraded item, that’s OK. Just take “no” for an answer and move on rather than pressuring them. There is always another time.

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