Upselling is one of those techniques that every small business owner needs to know, but which only a fraction are aware of – with an even a smaller percentage actually implementing upselling techniques.
In a nutshell, upselling is the process whereby you present your customers with another product or service just before they’re about to make a purchase of a product or service, with the intention that the product or service being offered to them is also purchased.
Most people will have heard of upselling when it’s explained and the chances are you’ve been upsold a product yourself. For instance, if you’ve ever been into a store where they sell CDs and DVDs at Christmas, you’re likely to have got to the counter and seen an array of festive DVDs on offer at a particularly low price.
Fast food outlets are also great examples of where upselling is used – how many times have you been asked “Is that a large meal?” or “Would you like fries with that?”?
While upselling may be easy to understand in its basic form, it can be a little trickier to actually implement and the following points explain how you should upsell your products or services to the customers of your small business.
Make it a good deal
As the customers who are going to be presented with products in an upselling way are going to make their decision on whether they want the product or not in a second or two, you need to make certain that the product you’re offering is a good deal, so that their impulse reactions take over.
You obviously need to ensure that you don’t make a loss on any product, but if you’re simply presenting a product at its full retail value to the customer, you’re not going to get as positive as a response than if you were to go down the route of “As you’re purchasing this product today, we’d like to offer you this product with 25% off the listed price!”.
Advertisement: Your content continues below.
Ensure the product or service is relevant
When you’re deciding on which products you’re going to offer as part of your upselling strategy, you need to make sure that they are all relevant to the products that they’re going to be upsold alongside or are of use in a related way to the customer.
For example, if you’re a baby product retailer, you don’t want to be upselling a pushchair if the customer is currently in the middle of buying one. Similarly, if you sell home and garden products, it wouldn’t be advised to try and upsell a lawn mower to a customer who’s buying a set of kitchen pans – OK, you might get lucky occasionally, but it’s going to be a low success rate overall.
Never make the process a complicated one
One of the main theories behind upselling is that it’s a spur of the moment purchase and therefore if you make the process of buying the upselling product or service a complicated or time-consuming one, you don’t just risk having the customer stop looking at the upsold product, but there’s a very good chance they’ll cancel their order altogether.
Upselling is a process that can take a long time to fully understand and it’s going to take months and months for you to be able to match products or services together so that you’re upselling the most suitable items.
By following these points, however, you can ensure that you’re doing your most to get the ball rolling with upselling, a process that can see your profits rise and your business flourish.
This post was originally featured on May 3, 2011.