For most sales teams, the prospect of increasing revenue at a rate of 10 to 20 percent year over year is a definite win. And if they’re able to do it with the clientele they already have, it most definitely is a win-win situation.

That’s what many companies are increasingly discovering by embracing upselling and cross-selling as part of their sales and marketing strategies.

Take JetBlue, for example. By extending an upsell option to its passengers — more comfortable seats and additional leg room — the airline was able to boost its revenue by 12 percent year over year, resulting in $190 million in additional passenger revenue in 2014.

Other companies, like Amazon, are taking advantage of cross-selling techniques by presenting complementary options to items prospective buyers already have perused or selected to put in their cart. For example, if a buyer selects a book on marketing, Amazon will post additional books that may be of interest to the buyer.

Amazon reports that as much as 35 percent of their revenue is from cross-selling  Tweet This!.

To make the best of upselling and cross-selling, consider the following tips:

  1. Present an option that makes sense – When upselling, avoid presenting a much more expensive option. For example, if you’re in the business of selling automotive insurance, it makes sense to present an option that provides more comprehensive coverage at a slightly higher rate. No one would question the benefit of seeking more protection. Or, if you’re selling SUVs, a customer may be interested in upgrades like leather seats or surround sound systems if they can be added for $1,000 to $2,000. In other words, don’t try to sell them a luxury model if they’re in the market for an economy vehicle. If you’re operating in the B2B realm, you can suggest ways that a more robust package could pay off in dividends in the long run. Just avoid presenting an option that would go far beyond the client’s budget or the amount they had anticipated spending.
  2. Use other clients as examples – You can take the Amazon route, by suggesting options that other customers have selected. However, make sure you’re able to provide an example or a case study on the results the client received with the additional items, if necessary.
  3. Avoid a hard pitch – Never push a prospect to the point where he feels discomfort at turning down the upsell or cross-sell option. Be informative, presenting the other items as option for consideration. By allowing the prospect the option to simply say ‘No,’ you’re building a good customer relationship that could eventually lead them to purchase the additional features or items at a later date if they choose to do so.

P.S. If you DON’T have a mobile sales tool already, then trying FatStax for Unlimited Users right now is by far the lowest hanging fruit you can do. 30 minutes of work = should give you answers in as little as 4 weeks!

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.