Win-Win Upselling (1,133 words)
by Mary Ann Falzone
The art of upselling and cross-selling on the telephone has one absolute golden rule: The customer must win. When the benefit from your add-on sale is both tangible and instantly understood, such a program will work every time. If it takes a stretch of the imagination or a leap of faith to grasp how the customer could possibly profit by the exchange, the upsell or cross-sell just won't fly.
Sound like common sense? It is. Yet, that doesn't stop many marketers from focusing on what they need to sell instead of what the customer needs to buy and why they'd want to buy it.
Another key variable in crafting a successful add-on program is determining how much you need to know about prospects and their past purchases before offering a particular up/cross-sell or choice of add-ons. A host of factors may affect this decision, including: whether the targeted prospect is a business or consumer; the complexity of the sale; the length of the buying cycle; the length of time since his or her last purchase; the availability of similar products or solutions on the market; the level of purchasing authority; and whether the contact is responsive (they call you with an immediate need) or not (you've called a customer with whom you have some level of relationship).
Let's explore some examples.
Outbound business-to-business—computers and peripheral equipment to home-based businesses:
• Pluses: The decision maker is easily identified and usually accessible.
• Minuses: Computer equipment is quickly outdated, readily available from any number of retail or direct outlets and highly price competitive. Even if you have sold them computer equipment in the past (and have a somewhat warm relationship), prospects are not expecting the call and not likely to be thinking about their computing needs at that moment—unless, of course, the system is down or the prospect is having trouble using it—in which case you've inadvertently opened a can of worms.