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March 3, 2016

How to Know When to Up-Sell a Client

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Whether you are shopping for shoes or updating your computer, it’s likely you’ve been asked if you’d like an upgrade. Although these requests can be irritating, up-selling is a beneficial move if done correctly. Knowing when and how to up-sell a client can improve your sales approach and make you a more successful negotiator.

When to Up-sell Clients

Up-selling clients, or getting them to agree to an upgrade or a more expensive version of your item, is a delicate process. It requires tact, negotiation, and good timing. The first step to successful up-selling is knowing exactly when to up-sell your client.

One of the easiest times to up-sell is when a customer has already bought a product similar to the one you’re trying to sell them now. Many clothing store owners do this when customers are coming in or checking out. They remind them of current sales or “buy one, get one free” specials. Bookstore owners often place bargain books or “buy one, get one free” books on the same shelves so that customers will be enticed to buy an extra product while shopping for the one they intended to buy.

Busy seasons are also great times to up-sell clients. The Christmas season won’t be here for another two months, but most retailers are already taking advantage of its approach. Many stores currently offer prime Christmas items at cheaper prices than normal when a customer makes a Halloween or Thanksgiving purchase. Similarly, a hotel might up-sell you a continental breakfast at $20 cheaper than normal if you book during November or December.

Reading Clients’ Needs

Up-selling is a type of negotiation. As with other negotiations, a successful up-sell depends on how well you can read the clients’ needs. Let’s say you are a website designer and a client purchases your basic package. This could be the design of a homepage plus three additional pages at a set charge. Perhaps you want this client to buy your logo design services as well. You will be more likely to make the sale if you already know what their logo needs. You could say something like, “I see your store targets elementary teachers, but your logo looks like a university. I can help you redesign a logo that better reaches your target audience.”

Finding New Clients

If you’ve noticed your sales numbers falling, it might be time to consider up-selling clients. Many business owners shy away from up-selling because they don’t want to be pushy. The truth is, the right up-sells can bring more customers to you. You might be an independent bookstore owner who is worried about what chain stores will do to your client base. However, perhaps you also have a loyal group of customers who come in for books and coffee every weekend.

Offer those existing customers up-sells, such as a free book with every tenth purchase or discount pastries and cupcakes on a designated Family Day. To make the most of such offers, use corporate sales training and determine what types of offers are best for you.

Learning the Art

When you up-sell, you must do so with confidence and warmth. If you’re feeling unsure about up-sells or want to refine your skills, ask us about our negotiation training. It can help you keep existing customers, find new ones, and make great sales.

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