Intelligent Help Desk Blog

Tips for Effective Upselling

Posted by Meredith Estepon Tue, Oct 11, 2011 @ 12:33 PM

describe the imageUpselling is not restricted to the sales department any longer; in fact, customer service representatives are often in a better position to understand the needs of a customer and the products or services that might benefit.

Sure, upselling is useful to a company's bottom line, but it can also be perceived as high quality service when it is done right. We have four tips to help you help your customer service representatives upsell effectively.

Know the Difference between Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling and cross-selling are two different processes that require slightly different approaches to be successful.

Cross-selling is the act of offering a complementary product or service to the original item purchased. For example, McDonalds is famous for asking customers if they would like fries when they order a hamburger or a milkshake.

Upselling is actually asking the customer if they would like to upgrade the current product they are purchasing. Using the McDonalds example once again, a customer might order a medium drink and then be asked if they would like to size up to a large for just 10 cents more.

Understand the Importance of Service in the Sales Process

When employees think of upselling, they typically see it as a job for the sales department. After all, those are the professionals who have been trained to get customers to purchase products or services.

However, in the case of upselling or cross-selling, the customer service representatives are actually in a better position for success. These are the people on the front lines who work directly with customers to understand their specific needs. What better way to fill those needs than with a bigger or better item?

Restrict the Sale to Customers Already in a Transaction

Cross-selling and upselling are only used with customers who have already decided to make an initial purchase. If you try to sell additional items before a customer has made up their mind on the original product, you just might turn them away from the sale completely. On the other hand, once a customer decides to buy from you, more than half the battle is already won, and they may be much more open to the additional purchase.

Because customer service representatives are trained to actively listen to customers and identify specific needs that require solutions, these are the employees who are equipped to match an upsell to the need of the customer as well.

For example, your service rep might know that a customer shopping for a vacuum has a number of pets and might be open to the idea of an upgraded vacuum model that can handle the additional hair and debris that ends up on the floor.

Upselling is an essential part of the sales process, but it should not be overlooked as a part of customer service when applicable. With these sales tips in mind, your service staff will be prepared to meet customer needs more efficiently and boost your bottom line at the same time.


- Meredith Estep

Topics: Upselling, meredith estep, intelligent help desk, Help Desk