Tag Archive: cross-promotion

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.

Master of Your Domain (Name): 8 Ways to Tune Up Your Company Website

As the president of Author Marketing Experts Inc., Penny Sansevieri has a way with words, especially when it comes to web design. “Our website was so bad,” recalls Sansevieri, “it looked like a dog had designed it after a tequila bender.”

But all that’s changed since Sansevieri overhauled the San Diego-based marketing and publicity firm’s online brand more than a year ago. Today, visitors to www.amarketingexpert.com can find compelling content, and a vastly-improved user interface.

Sansevieri joins a growing number of small business owners who are recognizing the power of a well-crafted website. In fact, according to a September 2011 survey of small business owners by ORC International, an Infogroup company, when asked to rank the importance of marketing techniques in an effort to grow one’s business, 32.6 percent of respondents ranked “company website” as the “most important” strategy while a mere 9.1 percent similarly listed Facebook.

“A company’s website is one of the main building blocks of a small business’s marketing plan,” says Lourdes Balepogi, president of Miami agency Chispa Marketing.

Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to create a website that promotes your products, draws traffic, and ultimately drives revenue. The best part: Small business owners need no longer invest thousands of dollars in marketing agency fees and high-tech bells and whistles to attract eyeballs. Rather, by following the eight simple steps below, you can ensure your website doesn’t go to the dogs, intoxicated or otherwise.

Make it action-packed. According to Sansevieri, adding brief and straight-forward video clips to AME’s website that explain the firm’s services helped “change our conversion rates drastically.” Long gone are the site’s meandering “tire kickers.” Instead, Sansevieri says video clips draw “a lot of traffic” from “really serious buyers”—a change that’s helped AME boost its online conversion rates to nearly two percent.

Plan ahead. Before you start tearing down your existing website for a new-and-improved version, take the time to figure out what you wish to accomplish. Warns Balepogi, “Small business owners often spend money on a [web design] vendor that makes them all these great promises when they really don’t have any idea what they’re signing up for.”

Go mobile. As of December 2010, 302.9 million Americans reported that they own a mobile device, according to the wireless telecommunications trade group CTIA. Yet many small business websites aren’t optimized for mobile devices. That’s a huge mistake, says Kevin Zicherman, president of Brick&Mobile, a Toronto-based mobile web provider. “Most small business websites are built in Flash which doesn’t work on an iPhone. So if I’m a customer visiting a website and it’s a Flash site, it’s literally a blank screen,” warns Zicherman. A firm specializing in mobile web optimization such as Brick&Mobile, however, can ensure a website is built for a small screen, features the right search words for a high search engine ranking, and delivers the best end-user experience possible.

Cross-promote for maximum impact. Many small businesses lay claim to a website, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook profile. The trick, however, is “you’ve got to integrate them,” says Sansevieri. “You really want to use your website as a hub and link your Twitter account, Facebook page and blog together so that it’s all part of the same family.” Balepogi agrees. “Social media is an effective way to communicate and can easily be integrated into your website,” she says.

Add a personal touch. Whether it’s complementing your website with a blog, or putting yourself front and center in every online video, a personal touch is critical to winning over website visitors. Says Sansevieri, who stars in AME’s own videos, “A blog really personalizes your website. In a world where we’re being inundated with so much stuff, we still really want to feel connected with the people we’re doing business with.”

Showcase your customers. Rather than post customer testimonials that always “seem very fake,” Jonathan Kay, Ambassador of Buzz at Grasshopper, “thought it would be awesome if we took a page and just highlighted our customers for who they are.” Today, many of the Needham, Mass.-based virtual phone system provider’s clients are profiled on the site’s ‘Happy Customers’ page—a feature that he says has boosted the site’s conversion rate.

Update often. From new product launches to emerging market trends, it’s easy for a website to fall behind the times. That’s all the more reason to update your online presence on a regular basis. “I have someone on my team make sure that every time our firm is mentioned in the news, it’s put up on our website immediately,” says Sansevieri.

Know your audience. Video might spell success for AME’s bookish customers but, in the case of Grasshopper, Kay says, “we found that while some people spent more time on the page, the bounce[-off] rate was pretty high.” So today the 20-second videos are gone, replaced by a few clean—and motionless—illustrations.