Want Fries with Your Burger? The Fine Art of the Upsell

Restaurants do it beautifully.  “Did you leave any room for dessert or coffee?”

At least one car rental company my client just visited did it obnoxiously.  “Did you want insurance, gas, a GPS, or a toddler seat? Who will be responsible for the car if something happens to it? Oh by the way, it’s extra now for the steering wheel.  And if you want it to go in reverse from 4PM to 5PM, that’s an extra charge, too.”

The All-Important Upsell

How does your company rate when it comes to the all-important upsell?  Is it smooth like a restaurant waitress who smiles while she delivers her line? Or could it be improved?

While you don’t want to anger your current customer, you do want to fully serve their needs in a way that helps them and boosts your revenue.  Here are five tips to perfect and track the all-important upsell.

1. Make sure you are upselling.

Once people have chosen to do business with you, you have their trust.  They’ll want to know what else you have to offer.   Sometimes we may feel like we’re bugging the client, but it’s really cheating your client not to let them know what else you can help them with.

Don’t be afraid to add upselling to your communications with your client in a number of places.  If you don’t upsell, you’re leaving precious money on the table, and most of all, you’re under serving your clients.  A small percentage of your customers will always purchase what you suggest.

2. Get the timing right.

Add an upsell option immediately after a prospect has landed in your funnel.  For example, if they signed up for your free newsletter, offer them your entry product or service on the landing, on your Thank You page or in your first welcome email to them.

If your product or service is relatively small in dollars, add an upsell option immediately after any small purchases. Do this right after the shopping cart has processed their order.  Some carts have an automatic feature built in to do this; all you have to do is select the product you think the buyer would like.

Don’t upsell right after you’ve agreed on a large proposal, but do upsell at the end of that engagement.

If you meet a client periodically, such as monthly or quarterly, always schedule the next appointment before you leave if possible.

3. Get the product right.

Gradually move your client up in price.  If they purchase something for $100, offer them something for $500, but not for $5,000.  If they buy a $5,000 contract, they might be ready for a $10,000 service next year.

4. Create the right language.

Never put your customer in a position where they feel forced to make a decision or feel wrong for not taking the service, like my client did with the rental car.   (Try your upsell line on your spouse or friend before you try it on a prospect to be sure of this.)  Use language that is benefit-focused when you explain the options, and always let them know that you appreciate their business and the decision is theirs to make.

5. Package your offerings right in the first place.

Services that should be included in the base price, well, should be included in your base price.  Don’t confuse upselling with what should have been in your package in the first place.  That’s how most customers feel cheated during upsells.

Tracking the Upsell

There are a couple of ways you can track your upsell results.  If you offer every client who bought “x” the “y” product, you can compute a conversion ratio based on your sales of x and y, assuming you keep them in separate buckets in your accounting system.  You can do that for every upsell you have at the service line or product line level.

Another more general way to track upsells is to compute revenue per client on a monthly basis and see if it’s on the upswing.  If you need help calculating either of these methods or setting up your services and products correctly to create the upsell tracking you want, please let us know how we can help.

Upselling is a vital part of every business.  Fine-tune your processes with these tips and watch your sales increase and your clients become better served and more loyal.

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