Many early stage businesses that offer more than one product or service can do a much better job of educating customers on the different solutions they deliver. This type of cross selling can be a highly effective tool for a small business.
When you cross-sell, you offer the customer a product or service related to whatever they are already buying. It can be as simple as the waiter asking if you want a salad to go with your main course. Up-selling positions higher priced products in a good/better/best progression. Both methods of encouraging clients to spend a little more can dramatically boost your sales.
But maybe you worry about irritating them with too many sales pitches to buy more. Don’t. Surveys show that most buyers appreciate being told about additional products or services that might better meet their needs or about new items that were not offered in the past. It’s a way of demonstrating that you are aware of their needs and care about their satisfaction. Here are some ideas to help you improve your cross selling success:
Ideas to improve your opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling
- Let nature take its course. Many cross-selling opportunities arise naturally. If you are selling tennis racquets, for example, you can also offer a bag, balls, lessons and accessories. To gain the extra sale, you might simply have to mention that the other products or services are available.
- Stay relevant. If you overload customers with too many unrelated cross-selling suggestions, you may blow it. Offering socks with shoes is certainly a good fit. But if your attempts to cross-sell are not closely related to the original purchase, they are far less likely to succeed.
- Post expert recommendations. One way to facilitate cross-selling and up-selling success is to state specific recommendations from professionals, experts or other customers. This could be a chef’s recommendation on a menu, a doctor’s recommendation on a mailer, or lists of related items that other customers have purchased on a website. When you buy a book at Amazon.com, for example, the site automatically lists other books purchased by people who bought the same book you just ordered.
- Train employees in cross-selling techniques. The approach must be built around serving the customer, not just selling more stuff. For example, you might describe how the additional products or services would complement the original purchase and further solve the customer’s problem.
- Timing is important. Cross-selling and up-selling can occur at different times, depending on the products and services you are selling. In some cases, the best time is while a customer is trying something out. If they are looking at a low priced digital camera, for example, but seem disappointed in a lack of features or performance, they may really want a higher priced model. Or you could suggest a belt to go with a pair of pants while the customer is trying them on. Other items are more appropriately offered once the initial buying decision has been made, such as an extended warranty.
- Leverage the cross-selling potential of your website. Position cross-sell and up-sell items throughout your site in places where they can help educate shoppers on the depth and variety of what your business offers. Try mixing and matching different items to see what works best.
- Offer a range of prices. If you suggest three items to complement a product, try to offer a mix of price points. The lowest cost items are most likely to be picked up as impulse buys. But other items that meet the customer’s needs can also sell at higher levels.
- Try product or service bundles. Bundling has long been used as a way to entice shoppers to buy not just a single item, but an entire group of items that go together. Offering a price break on package deals will help close the sale.
Our Bottom Line:
The key to successful cross-selling and up-selling is to focus your efforts on meeting the customer’s needs, rather than simply pushing more products and services. This is one area of startup marketing where you may need to do a little experimentation in order to find just the right balance, but you need to make cross selling a key component of your list of sales techniques.
© 2005 BizBest Media Corp.