If you shop, you have probably interacted with a salesperson who was upselling or cross-selling a product.
For instance, upselling is when you are at the cash register at the shoe store, and the sales associate points out a pair of socks that would go great with your new shoes.
We have all become accustomed to this type of sales technique. And, I understand the benefits and why it is so important – if done right.
I’ve been in stores where I have spent a lot of time searching for a product to no avail.
And understand the frustration that comes with not being able to find what you are looking for.
Sales associates are there to help the customer find what they are looking for and make them aware of products that they may not know are available.
If done right, this sales technique can improve and expedite the customer shopping experience.
However, if done poorly, it can run a good customer out the door – never to return.
What Is Upselling?
Upselling is “a sales strategy where the seller will provide opportunities to purchase related products or services, often for the sole purpose of making a larger sale.”
For example, I went to a bookstore the other day and was slightly annoyed at how much pressure I felt to purchase merchandise that I did not want.
As I wandered through the store, a kind gentleman asked me if he could help me find something.
I was looking for a particular type of book for a child, and he pointed me to the right section of the store. I was grateful.
However, as I began to look at each book, knowing in my mind what I was looking for, he continued to show me products that didn’t match my criteria.
What started out as being very helpful quickly crossed the line into annoying.
He tried to convince me to purchase a book (that was more expensive), but it was not exactly what I was looking for.
After a fair amount of conversation, I finally convinced him that I wasn’t interested in his suggestion.
We then went to the cash register where he began the upselling process all over again.
First, it was to donate to a cause that the store was supporting, and then he went into one of their newest book collections.
By this time I was done.
I really do try to be polite when I decline such suggestions, but I wanted to run out the door by the time I finished the sales transaction.
And, quite honestly I will probably not go back to that store.
4 Tips for Sales Upselling and Cross-Selling - That Enhance the Customer Experience
1. Identify a Searching Customer
I’ve had many experiences when I was in a store looking for a product, and a sales associate was nowhere to be found.
This can be frustrating.
Train your salespeople to be watchful of customers who seem to be looking for something. It is usually pretty obvious.
This is the time to show the customer the different product options.
2. Read the Body Language
I understand that salespeople are taught to be resilient, and not to take no for an answer.
However, they should also learn to be sensitive to customers who are not interested in listening to a sales pitch.
Body language is usually pretty clear.
If the customer is not making eye contact and giving a one-word answer to questions, that generally means they don’t want to be bothered.
Salespeople should read the customer, take the hint, and back off.
Backing off can mean the difference between a positive customer experience and one that leaves the customer annoyed and possibly never returning.
3. Be Available
Customers want to know that someone is nearby to help them if needed. But not necessarily following them around and making them aware of every available product option.
A salesperson becomes annoying when they don’t allow the customer to explore merchandise selections and continually presents new purchase suggestions.
No one likes to be annoyed.
4. Know the Products
Salespeople should be trained on all available products and be able to answer any customer questions.
Consumers expect to interact with sales associates who can help them find what they are looking for and answer questions about the product or service.
Upselling and cross-selling is a great way to increase revenues and improve the customer experience by educating the shopper on available products and product features that can enhance the user experience.
Training for this type of sales technique needs to be thorough and appropriate to ensure a positive buying experience.
This results in loyal customers that want to return to purchase more.
Rather than creating an annoying experience that makes the customer want to run out the door – never to be seen again.
And oh by the way. You will probably never even know it!