upsell customers to make more money

by Travis Farnes

Are you maximizing profit with every customer by upselling? If you’re not, you’re leaving money on the table — potentially a lot of money.

What is upselling? 

According to Wikipedia, “upselling (sometimes ‘up-selling’) is a sales technique whereby a salesperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale.”

If you think about it, you will find that you are being upsold everyday. I can easily remember the last few times it happened to me. Last week I stopped in at Carl’s Jr. and ordered a 6 dollar burger. The employee asked if I’d like a cold drink with that “for only $1.” At first I was going to say “no thanks” but then I thought, “Only a dollar? Sure, I’ll take it.” They made $1 more on a high profit margin soda with a single question that only took about 3 seconds to ask. Similarly, while I was at Target recently I was asked if I wanted to open a Target charge card. I declined on that one, but I’m sure a lot of people say yes.

So why should you upsell customers? Because it works. It’s a quick and easy way to make more money. As consumers, we respond to upselling almost as if we don’t know what we really want or what is best for us. And sometimes that’s true: do you think your customers truly know what best for their home? They probably don’t — but you do. You are the expert.

Think about it. Imagine a customer calls you to come over and install a kitchen faucet. You get there and begin the work, then notice that the valves and water lines look old. You could easily say, “Ya know, now is a great time to replace these valves and water lines. They are looking pretty shabby and may fail soon. I can replace them with new ones for just a little more than you’re paying me for this faucet job.” This sentence takes just a few seconds to say and I bet you’d close more than half your customers with it. Your customer will also appreciate the recommendation — she believes you’re looking out for her best interests. She’s spending more, but feels like you did her a favor. (Make sure you stock extra parts for common upsell jobs so that you don’t have to make a trip out just to get them.)

When you begin to think about it, you will realize that almost every project done in a house can be upsold in some way. The trick is to do it in a “by the way” sort of manner. “By the way, your plumbing under the sink looks like it’s in need of repair…” Make sure that you don’t come off as pushy, and only make recommendations that really benefit your customers.

It takes little practice to get in the natural habit of upselling. But once you incorporate it into your business, you will see sales increase. You’ll see that with good upselling you’ll be able to reduce your reliance on having to keep getting new customers to make more money. You can easily take care of your existing customers and still increase your profits.

As I write this, I can’t help but think about the many customers over the years that I didn’t upsell. Not only did I leave money on the table, but I also could have genuinely helped many of my customers by offering them something that would increase their peace of mind. Don’t leave money on the table: practice upselling today.

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