One of the most simple sales rules in any business is this: That there are only two ways for you to make more sales. You can either keep finding more customers or sell more to the customers that you’ve already got. In practice we tend to find that many businesses do a
mixture of these two (as we will naturally lose clients through attrition – people move etc). However one of the biggest ‘missed opportunities’ I find when working with businesses actually lies within their own database of past customers. (The worst case scenario is any business that doesn’t even keep an up to date database of their past customers!)
Now you may have heard that it costs approximately six times more to keep finding new customers than to keep in touch and sell more to the customers that you already have.
This is because the hardest sale you will ever make to a prospective customer is your first sale. Following that first transaction, as long as you continuously deliver an outstanding service to your clients, you will also have established an ongoing relationship that will make it much easier for you to sell to them. In practice, 95% of businesses have massive room for improvement in this area.
Building this ongoing rapport and trust with your database of clients, if done in the right way, will normally also give you two additional bonuses:
- They regard you as trustworthy and reliable – and are much more likely to refer you to friends and family (a very cost effective marketing strategy for you).
- They will have few (if any) reasons not to consider buying from you again.
Assuming this is the case, we can then introduce a number of strategies that will give you the opportunity to ‘up sell’ to your existing clients.
It’s generally at this point when I introduce ‘up selling’ as a strategy into a businesses that the sales team and / or business owner recoil in horror. This can be due to a number of factors:
- Certain beliefs around ‘selling’
- Peoples own comfort zones in the area of ‘up selling’.
- As it may be something ‘new’ there may be the belief that ‘ah yes, but this won’t work in my business!’
This is where we need an open mind to trial new things in our businesses and measure the results.
So, just in case you’re slightly dubious at this point, and maybe thinking along the lines of 3) above let me illustrate the power of up selling with a couple of simple results gained by working with two very different businesses recently:
Business 1: The introduction of one simple up sell question to the sales team (included basic sales training) increased the retail sales profits of this particular company overnight by 20%
Business 2: The introduction of sales scripting / including an up selling strategy to the sales team tripled the profits a particular item sold over a previous item with this company within one month of implementation.
What Up Selling is not:
To clarify some of the understandable objections business owners may have around up selling, it is not to sell as much as we can regardless of whether the customer needs it or not. This type of up selling will then turn into ‘pressure selling’ and you are pretty much guaranteed to lose clients on a regular basis if this happens within your business.
Why you need to be up selling in your Business:
Ethical up selling means you will be helping your customer to buy a little extra over and above their chosen purchase. Here’s the proviso: it will also be a further benefit to your customer and will enhance their purchase. In simple terms, it’s more widely known as the “Do you want fries with that?” technique (the simplest, highest profit generating up sell question of all time by the market leader of the fast food industry).
Up sells tend to be smaller ‘add on’ purchases that can add great value to the sale for your client. They can also be extremely profitable for your practice.
Although there are many approaches to up selling, here are three simple things you may want to try:
Add incentives for additional purchases. Once you’ve gained that first sale (and your client is feeling delighted) why not offer a discount on the second purchase? As an example you could send a thank you note that also includes a special, time limited offer.
Note client purchasing patterns. If clients are buying a certain accessory with other products – then check through your database to see how many past clients you could additionally sell this accessory to via a simple mailer / letter.
Measure and test price points and special offers. If clients don’t go for a special offer – it doesn’t mean they won’t buy. What would happen if you changed the offer or added a further combination that may make the offer more attractive? Remember – everything we do in marketing and sales is measured and tested to continuously improve your results.
The main benefit of up selling is that, if it’s carried out at point of sale, it doesn’t necessarily require much further effort. However it can make a massive difference to your bottom line profits over a twelve month period.
One of the biggest barriers with any business is to try it in different formats and then realise how powerful this simple strategy is,
Why not give it a try?
To Your Success,