Upselling: Helping Buyers Enjoy More Value

I was facilitating a conversation with various professionals about how their companies might increase revenue by applying the concepts of cross sell and upsell. One participant, a proud financial advisor, spoke up to say “We never upsell.” His tone made it clear that he considers upselling to be an undesirable characteristic of pushy sales people and unbecoming to high value providers.

Hearing his response prompted the group to explore more fully the idea of upselling. We agreed we’re familiar with the most obvious application of this idea: simply “get the customer to buy more.” Many online providers have programmed their websites to give you screen after screen of other products to buy before you can finally checkout. We’ve all experienced this from suppliers such as domain registries, printers and, in bricks and mortar stores, car dealers and McDonalds (“ Do you want fries with that?”)

I define upselling quite differently. It is to always be thinking about new and more value a buyer would benefit from. It is letting buyers know your company can provide that value. It’s the opposite of being a “best kept secret.”

Better, not More

Upselling is about ‘better,’ not simply more. Better quality, better service, better customization, better access to limited supplies, better benefits from the deepest expert, better status.

My approach to this is expressed in my GO Curve. As your company moves a buyer from Tester to Regular to Enthusiastic Fan, the buyer is exposed to offerings that are Exceptional. You know that testers aren’t interested in that value, but you must be sure that your Enthusiastic Fans know about the availability of your Exceptional offerings.

When you do this, you’ve created a high value circle: a buyer has become an Enthusiastic Fan because they’ve felt good about buying common and uncommon offerings. They are excited by the Exceptional offerings which reinforces their position as an Enthusiastic Fan. It’s your obligation to continue to create and offer exceptional offerings to retain that buyer at the Enthusiastic Fan level.

That’s the ultimate outcome of upselling: a long time, Enthusiastic fan who eagerly purchases your high value offerings at prices commensurate with the value.

Three Steps

Take these three steps to increase revenue by upselling:

  1. Segment your buyers and align each segment with the appropriate offerings
  2. Clearly articulate the increasing value of your offerings, from common, to uncommon to Exceptional.
  3. Make a deliberate and concerted effort to market your Exceptional offerings to your Enthusiastic Fans.

Mindset Matters

It’s sometimes hard to get the distasteful connotation of a concept out of your head on your own. If you’re eager to increase revenue from your Enthusiastic Fans, and to move some of your Regulars up the GO Curve, let me know and I’ll be happy to help. 703-790-1424.

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