What is “upselling”, who needs to do it, and why. Are you a business owner looking for growth and expansion, a store manager trying to find a way to motivate your team while increasing annual revenue and profit, or simply the technician who does it all and just wants to add a little bonus to his or her weekly paycheck? In each instance, you should be upselling. Here’s how it will benefit you.

First, let me clarify what upselling is and means. Upselling is the active selling or encouragement to purchase additional service/services on top of the initial agreement or purchase. Think of it as an add-on sale that was missed in the initial sales pitch or conversation, something that solves an additional problem in direct correlation to the original problem. Here’s a few familiar examples: “Would you like fries and a drink with that?” or “We recommend changing your air filter with this oil change, which allows you to get better efficiency out of your vehicle while it’s on the road.” These two examples have become such an industry standard that we’re almost appalled when they don’t try to upsell us these. This is more than a sales pitch; it’s a recommendation by an industry professional that makes your customers feel informed and appreciated. Remember, customers love to buy but hate to be sold. Show them the value it provides, problem it solves, and happiness or relief it can bring. I say all of that to say this—you should never upsell/sell anything to your customers that doesn’t accomplish at least one of those three concepts.

As a business owner, upselling should be at the top of your priority list when trying to run a growing company. Why? Any successful business owner knows that in order to grow or expand, you need to make more money than you’re spending. Basic, I know, but nonetheless true. This is often accomplished through massive amounts of spending on marketing, increasing territorial outreach, and/or adding new services—all things connected by the common denominator, money. But what if you don’t have any left to spend? How do you create more money with what you have now? As my good friend Lance says, “Why don’t you grab the low hanging fruit now while you figure out how to make it to the top of the tree for the rest?” In reference, he’s implying that we grow internally by upselling our additional products and services to those whose trust we’ve already won. In essence, you will generate additional revenue/profit by maximizing your current customer base, and that new profit can be used to fuel the expansion efforts we mentioned earlier.

How can you motivate your employees to push this new product or service? Reward them for rewarding you. Imagine taking a small portion of your current marketing budget and turning it into an incentive for the employees who are upselling your product or service. If you’re only paying your sales rep a commission, then they will be the only ones who attempt to sale anything for you. If you can find a way to get everyone involved, then you’re more likely to have more people selling for you. Offer a small sales incentive or “spiff” to the techs out in the field, or the customer service rep scheduling appointment times and regular maintenance appointments or follow-ups. Now they have a reason to mention it to your customers; it benefits them, and that’s the harsh reality of employees in this world. It’s the “what can you do for me?” attitude. Give them a reason to take that extra step, don’t just expect it of them. Money seems to be a pretty good motivator in the workplace for most employees. Take professional sports for example; if you pay the right athletes well enough, they’ll stick around and produce a championship for you. I say this with confidence, because I have been in both corners of the fight (employee & employer) and that is exactly how I felt. With this burst in sales, your manager can focus on more important tasks such as training, team building, marketing, and/or customer service issues.

Now your team is creating new sales opportunities, but how will that effect your current customer relations? Hopefully the employees have learned that being likeable is a huge plus in closing a sale, so the customer experience is bound to improve if they want to be successful at upselling.  Happy customers generate great reviews and recommendations. This is where adding a customer referral fee is a great opportunity for you to create a free team of referral-based salesmen and women who will market your amazing product or service. When you’re choosing a new service provider, statistics show that 7/10 people will go with a company they were referred to by a friend or family member.

In the long run, you’ve created a bunch of upselling monster and increased profit per customer without spending more on marketing while rewarding the most important people in your company (customers and employees) by paying them spiffs/referral fees for all their extra efforts. This will result in increased annual profits, higher payout for deserving employees, improved quality of work, and an internal culture for the company. Remember: happy employees produce quality work, which generates a better overall customer experience and relationship. Happy customers increase the odds of being referred, referrals result in profit, and profit results in growth.

So… tell me again why “upselling” isn’t a top priority in your company?


***Come back next week for my latest blog and I’ll give you some ideas on how to motivate your team   from within by creating a better internal culture for your team members. I’ll also be suggesting alternative incentive ideas that improve your upselling efforts, as well as exploring the meaning of internal culture and how it directly correlates to running a successful business.

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