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The Art of UpSelling: Three Tips to Generate More Sales Effortlessly and 3 Ways People Blow It

Kelly O'Neil
Jul 13, 2008
Here is the good news. The hardest sale you will ever make to a customer is the first one. With the first sale, if you deliver on your promise to the customer, you establish a mutually-beneficial relationship. The customer gets what he or she wants, and you get what you want. Also, once you have received a "yes" commitment from a customer, it's easier to continue the positive pattern of continued "yeses". The customer finds it hard to break the affirmative sequence. You then will have the opportunity to Upsell them.

Upselling refers to when you help a customer decide to buy a little extra or "up-grade" slightly the final purchase. A car dealer, for example, might inform customers at the time of ordering about upholstery protection and undercoating. A shoe salesperson might suggest that when you buy a pair of shoes that you also use some weather protectant spray. These are usually small purchases that the buyer doesn't have to put a lot of thought into. The bonus is they can be extremely profitable for you as the sales person and for your organization.

Following are three key tips to effectively upsell your customers.
  1. Up-sell where it makes sense. Say a customer purchases an e-book from your website. Instead of trying to upsell your customer on a $3,000 seminar, ask if he'd considered purchasing a $97 teleclass that teaches the work from the e-book.
  2. Use sales incentives. Once you've received the first sale, offer a discount on the second item. Give the customer a 10% discount off their first teleclass. Sometimes a very small price break is enough to get that extra sale.
  3. Identify buying patterns. Take note of how many customers who purchase e-books also buy teleseminars. This kind of information tells you what items to pitch and when. Your grasp of market research will impress potential buyers as well: telling consumers that 90% of the people who buy e-books from you also buy seminars might tip them towards making that extra purchase.
The best part of upselling is that it's practically effortless. Since it's done after the customer has decided to go ahead with a major purchase, the hard part of the sales conversation has already been done. You've already established rapport, identified needs, summarized, presented benefits, asked for the order and handled objections. Upselling is just presenting the information in a "by-the-way" assumptive manner.

Also, make sure that you include an upsale opportunity in your autoresponder within your shopping cart. For example, someone buys an e-book. In your autoresponder, thank them for their purchase and ask them if they would like to register for the teleclass on the same subject for a discount.

So if it is so easy, you might be asking, how can I go wrong?

The 3 biggest mistakes in upselling:

1. No attempt is made to upsell.
I can hear it now as I write this article. "I hate to sell", "I don't want to bother people", and the ever popular "They are probably going to say no". This upselling business might all sound a bit contrived, but let me introduce another perspective to look from assuming that you only provide top notch products and services that can make your customers life easier and more enjoyable.

If you had information or a product that could help people improve the quality of their life, wouldn't you actually be doing a disservice to them to not offer it. You would actually be withholding valuable information from them. And here is the thing... they do have the right to say no. AND you are in business. If you don't offer or 'sell' your services or products to prospects, you won't have a business much longer and then all the people who need you won't have access to you.

2. The salesperson comes across as being pushy.
How can you avoid this? Being assumptive is the key. You've got to assume that the customer will naturally want your product or service. Begin the upsell with a brief benefit, and then if possible, add something unique about what you're selling. To avoid sounding pushy, particularly if the upsell requires some elaboration, ask for the customer's permission to describe it.

3. The upselling is made in an unconvincing manner so the customer generally refuses.
This issue really links back to the objects made in number one, which is you don't feel comfortable 'selling', so you don't really make an effort. If you believe in your products and services, let the buyer see your passion. If you don't...it is time to go back to the drawing board.

Copyright © 2008 UpLevel Strategies
About the Author
Kelly K. O'Neil, Chief Strategy Officer, UpLevel Strategies

Business & Marketing guru Kelly O'Neil is passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed in business through her Business Mastery Success System. She is the lead author of "Visionary Women Inspiring the World: 12 Paths to Personal Power" (Skyward, 2005) and is writing her second book Guerilla Business Strategy with mega-marketing genius Jay Conrad Levinson. Kelly's company received several awards for her exceptional work including the PR Compass award for outstanding Public Relations, The ADDY Award for Branding and recently received the Purple Cow Award acknowledging her company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in America by best-selling author Seth Godin.

For more information, or to subscribe to O'Neil's Arrive! E-newsletter filled with countless tips and resources for creating more profit in your business, visit http://www.uplevelstrategies.com. Please contact UpLevel Strategies at (408) 615-8150 for a Complimentary 30 Minute Strategy Session.
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