Business growth strategies will, in most cases, look in detail at sales and marketing strategies which focus on building a bigger customer base, and look at the cost of recruiting in those new customers.
But it costs more to attract and sell to a new customer, than to sell more to an existing one. Satisfied clients of yours are already ‘sold’ on you as a company and interested in what you have to offer.
Getting your customers to spend more with you shouldn’t mean pushy sales tactics. It’s a delicate balance between encouraging customer loyalty by caring about your buyer’s needs, and making sure you don’t put them off by driving too hard for each and every sale.
What’s the difference?
Up-selling means enhancing the original product or service choice for the customer. This could mean encouraging the customer to consider an upgrade on their product, offering more features for a higher price. For services, up-selling often involves proposing longer terms – for example signing a customer up for a 12 month contract rather than a 6 month contract by ensuring there are obvious benefits to the consumer for doing so.
By contrast, cross-selling involves offering a related product or service in addition to the original purchase. Practically, this can mean recommending the services of other departments in your business – for example a marketing agency discussing their events, search engine optimisation or social media teams while also selling media buying services.
For product-focused businesses cross-selling can be even easier, with a very simple example being selling batteries alongside an electronics purchase.
Make it easy
Some sales people can avoid cross-selling and up-selling because they feel it might be awkward. If you’re in the process of closing a sale it can be tempting to just rush through to the end.
The best way to encourage everyone in your organisation to participate is to make cross-selling and up-selling easy, for both your sales people and your customers.
Ensure any propositions made as part of the up-selling and cross-selling process have obvious benefits so that the customer can clearly understand why they should be purchasing the better product, the extras, or signing up for longer.
If the benefits are obvious to the customer, then your team will want to offer them the more enhanced products or services as they genuinely believe they offer better value. The customer will feel like they’ve had the best deal and the salesperson will feel that they’ve looked after their clients.
Listening is vital
Listening to your customers from the very start of any discussion will help you to adjust your offer to make it truly fit with the customer’s needs.
Concentrate on being helpful, rather than on the extra cash. Listen so that you can help your client with a better solution to their problem. People buy from people, so be the right person to help your customer, rather than just having a static sales pitch for them.
As well as offering value for your customers, it’s also important to be honest and make sense in the cross-selling and up-selling opportunities for them. If you’ve listened to a customer and believe that their original purchase is the best possible option for their needs, then stick with it. Don’t try to sell them something they don’t need, or you could lose them as a customer altogether.
Keep in touch
For both product and service relationships, there is a huge benefit in keeping in touch with your client after the initial sale. Depending on the initial purchase method (online, phone, face-to-face) and the type of purchase, you should tailor your regular communication so that your clients don’t forget about you.
Again, balance is important. The customer should feel appreciated and looked after, not bombarded. Listening remains essential in these situations and so you shouldn’t try to sell at every interaction, only with cues from the client (whether they’re verbal or behavioural) that they have a requirement for something, and that your business could help to solve their problem.
Fostering a positive long-term relationship with your customers should be the goal, and will be much more beneficial in the long-run.