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Upselling & Cross Selling the Key Impacting the Bottom Line

Aug 17, 2007
Many people assume that customer service professionals have little involvement in the sales process besides dealing with service issues, however their role is very instrumental. The reason they can frequently more easily increase sales is that they aren't viewed as sales staff. A customer's "guard is down" when speaking with a customer service rep because they aren't expecting to be sold, merely provide them with information. So, what are a couple methods that can be used to encourage staff to do upselling/cross selling on an everyday basis?

First, an important part is to remove the thought pattern that reps are selling. Most often, customer service reps want no part in the sales process, if they did they would be sales people. Try to get reps to think of the process as just offering additional services, not selling otherwise they are going to resist the process. A simple but creative way to get around this is to have an information gathering contest. Tell them that whoever is able to find out the most information through the use of questioning about their clients will win. This will get them into the mindset of thinking of the sales process as information gathering instead of selling.

Second, a great suggestion is when they are looking up information for a client, they can mention, "while we are waiting for my pc to come up, what are you currently using for your (product) needs?" Or, they could even make a suggestion such as "I notice that you mentioned an interest in purchasing a new vehicle and you do have your mortgage with us, what are your plans to finance that purchase?" Then, go ahead and suggest some of the different options that your organization offers should there be an interest.

Third, upselling and cross selling strengthens the relationships that you have with customers. When a customer support representative offers a suggestion or an ancillary service that could benefit the customer, the customer feels that someone is looking out for their best interests. Thus, creating a better relationship and future sales for the company down the road. It is a win-win for both parties.

Finally, ensure that reps are asking good questions when they are talking with customers and prospective customers. Open ended questions that begin with "what" and "how" will enable them to have more success in adding additional products and services to the sale. The more they are exposed to the process, the more comfortable they will become. Never, ever discount the value of a good customer service rep, their position can be critical to the success of the organization.
About the Author
Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress LLC, builds programs to help organizations increase sales. He has 21 years of experience helping both small and large size organizations increase their bottom line. He can be reached at http://www.SalesProgress.com or 262-240-1077.
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