Cross-sell and Up-sell Existing Customers
Your current customer is your best customer. If you’ve worked hard to ensure that each has a positive experience doing business with you, then winning repeat business is easy.
But to take that concept a step farther - what about trying to sell them more, and possibly something different, on top of their normal reorder?
There are two strategies to consider: up-selling and cross-selling.
Up-selling is providing a better product (or a higher priced version) than the customer is already using. Your cable company may provide 100 channels for $30.95 per month. But they might be able to up-sell you to $34.95 per month for their upgrade: digital service.
Cross-selling is when that same cable company tries to sell you related services, like a digital phone connection or high-speed Internet. Getting the customer interested in complementary items is a proven selling technique, especially when your customer has an affinity to you, your business and what you offer.
Think of it this way — in any given selling opportunity, you might be ripe to make a bigger deal by up-selling a higher profit-margin product or service contract. And you might be positioned to generate brand-new revenue by cross-selling related items. You should always try to identify and explore these options with customers you think would be open.
An up-selling/cross-selling tip: provide a financial incentive, a “bundled price,” if a customer commits to a much larger order.
Get Partners to Sell for You
Consider forming alliances with other companies that are willing to sell what you offer along with what they offer.
There’s a new term afoot, “stream of commerce,” that refers to the point in a transaction – let’s say on your Web site – when you can immediately refer customers to another site offering their own products. It’s like cross-selling, except the selling is done by the other business and you get paid a commission. You might, for example, have a retail Web site and offer people a deal on magazine subscriptions immediately after finishing a transaction with you. At that point, they click over to the magazine subscription site and you get a cut of any business they do there.
This is different from ordinary “affiliate” programs, because you’re highlighting it as a service to your customer rather than placing a banner ad on your site to fish for click-through revenue.
Beyond stream-of-commerce opportunities, explore basic incentives with complementary businesses or entrepreneurs. Let them know you’re excited about your business and how it can enhance their offerings. Look how the Geek Squad aligned with Best Buy — the rest is history!
And to get the most of this opportunity, make it a two-way street. Be willing to promote and sell what your partnering company offers as well.
Follow Up (with Thanks) After the Sale
It’s a lot easier to keep a current customer than to find a new one.
So why wouldn’t you thank them for their business?
Keep in touch with your current cadre of clients. A thank-you card is a simple, but high impact, gesture. Give special gifts to people who send you referrals — a $20 tin of gourmet popcorn is cheap, but fun.
Salespeople can get so caught up in the next deal that they forget those who just put money in their pocket. Keep your face and name in front of them so, when they’re ready to spend more, you’re the first one they call.