Tag Archive: sales_pitch

Sell Me Something I Don’t Know: Tips for Cross- and Upselling Customers

Sell Me Something I Don’t Know: Tips for Cross- and Upselling Customers.by Robert Lerose.

Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant and been asked by the waiter if you’d like a salad to go along with it? Or, just as you’re ready to buy a 42-inch flat screen TV, the salesman informs you that for just a few dollars more, you can get the 50-inch model? And, oh by the way—how about a deluxe surge protector to go along with that?

If you answered yes, then you were the subject of two well known, but infrequently used sales techniques: cross-selling and upselling.

PQ_SellMeSomething.jpgSimply put, cross-selling offers a product or service that is related to the original purchase (the salad). Upselling moves the customer to a higher-priced transaction. And both can add substantial revenue to any business.

Best leads: your existing customers

Since you’ve already spent time and money to build your house list, cross-selling and upselling to previous buyers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. You can leverage their loyalty and your established credibility.

“Your customers are your most valuable asset, no matter what size your business,” says Pat Friesen, who runs a Kansas City-based business strategy and copywriting agency. “Someone who knows and trusts you is more likely to buy again, buy more, and buy more often.”

For those who think that these techniques are only effective during flush times when businesses have excess capital to spend, Friesen disagrees.

Over the last couple of years, while some companies chose to hunker down and wait out the recession, a lot of smart marketers turned to their list of lapsed or inactive buyers and went after leads that they had not converted yet.

As an example, she found that insurance companies who pursued all their inactive policyholders (including lapses, cancellations, and unconverted prospects) generated handsome returns. Moreover, since they already owned the names and weren’t working from cold lists, their prospecting costs were lower.

“They’d already paid for these customers/leads. There was already a relationship of some sort established, even if it was minimal,” Friesen says. “If people were going to spend money during hard times, they wanted to make sure they trusted the people getting their money.”

Dispelling the myths of cross-selling

Businesses that are reluctant to embrace these techniques often fall back on outdated excuses about their suitability. A big misconception is that a business will come across as pushy, trying to coerce a sale that the customer doesn’t want.

“The benefit in the long run is that you can help your customer by offering additional services and products that they may not be aware you have,” says Kelley Robertson of the Robertson Training Group, an Ontario, Canada-based sales training and coaching company.

Robertson practices what he preaches by offering a CD or a book whenever he does a training session. It’s another way to stay on a customer’s radar screen and earn extra income for his own small business.

Another myth is the fear that businesses will over-communicate and turn off their customers.

Not so, says Robertson.

He will typically send out weekly emails over the course of three weeks to announce a new product or service, changing only the subject line. Even though he may turn off some subscribers, he has found that he more than makes up for it with new revenue he generates.

“As long as you continue to provide some type of value to your customers, they’ll listen to your sales letters or your sales pitches,” Robertson says.

Put a program in place

Often, sales people stop selling prematurely. One way to counteract this is to put a sales training system in place that makes it easy to learn from successes and failures. To lay the groundwork for an effective cross-selling and upselling culture in a company, Robertson recommends a simple, three-step plan.

First, create a checklist of add-on products and services. Then link them to other relevant offerings in your inventory so your sales team can see the potential universe of additional sales.

Next, instill the idea that upselling or cross-selling actually benefits the customer as well as your small business. Your customers get solutions and you generate extra revenue.

Lastly, ensure your sales people are asking enough questions to find out the goals, objectives, and problems of your customers. Once they have that information, they can better match your products and services to their situation. Hidden opportunities can often be uncovered with some targeted probing.

Robertson experienced this serendipity himself recently. During a casual conversation with one of his clients, he mentioned that he had a particular expertise that the client was in need of—and unaware that Robertson provided.

“It was one of those things that I hadn’t thought about because we had never had a conversation about that,” he recalls. “Don’t underestimate what your customer might be looking for. Take the chance. Make that suggestion.”

Whether your small business sells plumbing supplies or time management software, there are a number of ways to start the conversation:

“Mention what the customer has bought in the past, especially if there is a direct tie between the original product and what you are now offering,” Friesen says. “Also thank your customer for his/her past business. Thank you is a great way to start a letter.”

Bundle different items into one package (think McDonald’s Super-sizing) and offer it at a price that is lower than the combined price if purchased separately but more than if the customer just bought one item.

Use expert recommendations to influence behavior and drive sales. Amazon uses this method extensively, which is one reason their revenues surged over $10 billion in 2011.

Set up an auto-responder program or pop-up window on your website that automatically offers cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Sell Me Something I Don’t Know: Tips for Cross- and Upselling Customers

Sell Me Something I Don’t Know: Tips for Cross- and Upselling Customersby Robert Lerose.  

Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant and been asked by the waiter if you’d like a salad to go along with it? Or, just as you’re ready to buy a 42-inch flat screen TV, the salesman informs you that for just a few dollars more, you can get the 50-inch model? And, oh by the way—how about a deluxe surge protector to go along with that?

 

If you answered yes, then you were the subject of two well known, but infrequently used sales techniques: cross-selling and upselling.

 

PQ_SellMeSomething.jpgSimply put, cross-selling offers a product or service that is related to the original purchase (the salad). Upselling moves the customer to a higher-priced transaction. And both can add substantial revenue to any business.

 

Best leads: your existing customers

Since you’ve already spent time and money to build your house list, cross-selling and upselling to previous buyers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. You can leverage their loyalty and your established credibility.

 

“Your customers are your most valuable asset, no matter what size your business,” says Pat Friesen, who runs a Kansas City-based business strategy and copywriting agency. “Someone who knows and trusts you is more likely to buy again, buy more, and buy more often.”

 

For those who think that these techniques are only effective during flush times when businesses have excess capital to spend, Friesen disagrees.

 

Over the last couple of years, while some companies chose to hunker down and wait out the recession, a lot of smart marketers turned to their list of lapsed or inactive buyers and went after leads that they had not converted yet.

 

As an example, she found that insurance companies who pursued all their inactive policyholders (including lapses, cancellations, and unconverted prospects) generated handsome returns. Moreover, since they already owned the names and weren’t working from cold lists, their prospecting costs were lower.

 

“They’d already paid for these customers/leads. There was already a relationship of some sort established, even if it was minimal,” Friesen says. “If people were going to spend money during hard times, they wanted to make sure they trusted the people getting their money.”

 

Dispelling the myths of cross-selling

Businesses that are reluctant to embrace these techniques often fall back on outdated excuses about their suitability. A big misconception is that a business will come across as pushy, trying to coerce a sale that the customer doesn’t want.

 

“The benefit in the long run is that you can help your customer by offering additional services and products that they may not be aware you have,” says Kelley Robertson of the Robertson Training Group, an Ontario, Canada-based sales training and coaching company.

 

Robertson practices what he preaches by offering a CD or a book whenever he does a training session. It’s another way to stay on a customer’s radar screen and earn extra income for his own small business.

 

Another myth is the fear that businesses will over-communicate and turn off their customers.

 

Not so, says Robertson.

 

He will typically send out weekly emails over the course of three weeks to announce a new product or service, changing only the subject line. Even though he may turn off some subscribers, he has found that he more than makes up for it with new revenue he generates.

 

“As long as you continue to provide some type of value to your customers, they’ll listen to your sales letters or your sales pitches,” Robertson says.

 

Put a program in place

Often, sales people stop selling prematurely. One way to counteract this is to put a sales training system in place that makes it easy to learn from successes and failures. To lay the groundwork for an effective cross-selling and upselling culture in a company, Robertson recommends a simple, three-step plan.

 

First, create a checklist of add-on products and services. Then link them to other relevant offerings in your inventory so your sales team can see the potential universe of additional sales.

 

Next, instill the idea that upselling or cross-selling actually benefits the customer as well as your small business. Your customers get solutions and you generate extra revenue.

 

Lastly, ensure your sales people are asking enough questions to find out the goals, objectives, and problems of your customers. Once they have that information, they can better match your products and services to their situation. Hidden opportunities can often be uncovered with some targeted probing.

 

Robertson experienced this serendipity himself recently. During a casual conversation with one of his clients, he mentioned that he had a particular expertise that the client was in need of—and unaware that Robertson provided.

 

“It was one of those things that I hadn’t thought about because we had never had a conversation about that,” he recalls. “Don’t underestimate what your customer might be looking for. Take the chance. Make that suggestion.”

 

Whether your small business sells plumbing supplies or time management software, there are a number of ways to start the conversation:

 

  • “Mention what the customer has bought in the past, especially if there is a direct tie between the original product and what you are now offering,” Friesen says. “Also thank your customer for his/her past business. Thank you is a great way to start a letter.”
  • Bundle different items into one package (think McDonald’s Super-sizing) and offer it at a price that is lower than the combined price if purchased separately but more than if the customer just bought one item.

 

  • Use expert recommendations to influence behavior and drive sales. Amazon uses this method extensively, which is one reason their revenues surged over $10 billion in 2011.
  • Set up an auto-responder program or pop-up window on your website that automatically offers cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

5 Secrets of Sales Superstars

While I have done my share of sales, like I’m sure you have, I would never call myself a “sales superstar.” Fortunately, in my line of business, I get to meet many people who do in fact fit that description, begging the question, what do they have in common?

Let me suggest it is five things:

Sales Superstar Secret #1: Language is Vital: Brian Tracy, maybe the world’s best salesman, tells the story of how his first sales job was selling soap door-to-door to earn his way to YMCA Camp. He heard rejection after rejection until he oh-so-slightly rephrased his sales pitch. Instead of asking, “Would you like to buy a box of soap?” he said instead that he was selling soap, but that “it was only for beautiful women.” Thereafter he says, getting to camp was a breeze.

Your choice of words is critical, Tracy says.

Secret #2: Know the Most Important Question to Ask: In his great book, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, author and master salesman Jeffrey Gitomer says there is one question to ask a customer that is critical to sales success:

Ask: “When I say [name of your product], what one word comes to mind?” This tells you what the customer’s hot button or pain point is and allows you to deal with it.

(Gitomer also says that one of the dumbest questions you can ask is, “What will it take to get your business?” You should know.)

Secret #3: Build Rapport: Rapport, once established, will make your sales almost effortless. Once you create rapport with someone, he or she begins to trust you, and with trust, walls and reasons melt away.

There is a sales strategy that suggests that if you quietly mimic your customer’s intonation and physical movements you will subconsciously create rapport. This may or may not be true, but it sure does seem sneaky. Consider instead building rapport the old fashioned way: By being your best self, finding things in common, and being friendly and helpful.

One way to do this is to ask questions, and then actually listen to the answer. Sales king Tom Hopkins says that, “The human body has two ears and one mouth. To be good at persuading or selling, you must learn to use those natural devices in proportion. Listen twice as much as you talk and you’ll succeed in persuading others nearly every time.”

Secret #4: Go the Extra Mile: Because it costs so much more to win a new customer than it does to keep an old one, it behooves you to foster your relationships with your current clientele. Part of that is doing your homework and keeping up to date on where your customers are and what they need. A little extra effort into learning about a customer, for instance, by studying trends in their industry or knowing a bit about a competitor, can go a long way towards impressing that customer and keeping him or her around.

Remember this too – it can takes up to six interactions to close a sale. Going the extra mile means being willing to see a potential customer again and again, continuing to build rapport, until the sale is made.

Finally, going the extra mile also means following up. Sending thank you notes, checking in to see if the product is working out, and that sort of thing builds rapport for future sales.

Secret #5: Sales is Like Golf: If you have ever played even a little golf you know that the harder you try, the less successful you are. But when you ease off the throttle a bit and trust your natural abilities, when you stop trying so hard, that is when the great shots appear.

Well, to a certain extent the same is true in sales. It is a paradox: Just as you make the great golf shot by not caring about the great golf shot, so too can you get the sale by not worrying about the sale. A customer can sense when a sale is your priority, and will back off accordingly. But once he is convinced you are more concerned with helping him solve his problem, rather than being more concerned with selling, you will birdie the sale.