The easiest way to increase sales dramatically is to sell more to someone who is already buying.  How many times have you gone to a store or made a call with a specific purchasing mission in mind, and ended up spending more, for whatever reason?

How many more french fries does McDonald’s sell every day by simply asking, “Would you like fries with your burger?”

It’s simple: if you’re not now taking advantage of opportunities that show up every day, you are MISSING potential sales.

Here are some tips for profitable cross-selling and up-selling:

1.  Sell First and Tell Later

Never, ever attempt to up-sell or cross-sell until you have all the information necessary to fulfill the first order.

In our rush, or excitement to up-sell, we sometimes forget that the customer has an order to place.  Selling additional items too early in the call might distract the customer, or turn them off.  You could lose the original sale and that which you were attempting to add to the transaction.

2.  The Rule of  “25”

The value of an add-on sale should not increase the overall order by more than 25%.  For example, if the original order is $100, you should be cautious in your attempts to exceed that order by more than $25.

Despite the fact that people are motivated to buy, they still have a mental limit as to the amount they will overspend their anticipated purchase.

For whatever reason, that figure rarely exceeds 25 percent.  Generally, going above that value is only marginally successful.

3.  Make a Profit

This is more of a management than a salesperson decision, but the whole point of any transaction is, after all, to make money, isn’t it?.

The item(s) you choose must make enough additional profit to at least cover the cost of the additional time you spend to make the additional sale.

You’re in business to make money so you must show a profit on each add-on sale.

4.  Don’t Dump Junk

There is, on occasion, the urge to use cross-selling and up-selling to move excess, surplus, or unwanted inventory.

This in itself is okay provided the customer isn’t saddled with useless or defective products.  If you’re clearing stock that won’t be replaced, let the customer know.  Let them determine the value.

If it is a discontinued line, don’t hesitate to let the customer know.  If you don’t, you’ll be sorry later.

Your goal is to give your customer value, not simply cleaning your warehouse of ‘stuff’ you can’t sell.

You’ll make a sale today, but lose a customer tomorrow.

5.  Limit and Relate

Limit your choice of add-on items to those that clearly relate to the original purchase.

If a customer is buying a blazer he has seen in a catalogue, suggesting a shirt and a tie makes sense.  Suggesting a goose-necked garden hoe, however, probably does not.

6.  Familiarity Breeds Success

The more familiar your customer is with the add-on item, the more likely he or she is to buy it.  Cross-selling and up-selling is not the time to introduce a new, unfamiliar, or unrelated product, unless the price is unusually low (Refer to #3.)

New products take time to sell using features and benefits.  The profit only occasionally warrants the extra effort

This will take additional time.  The purpose of the up-sell is to increase the order, and so the profit, while the buying motive is strong.

Introducing something unfamiliar will only confuse the customer, and delay the sale.

7.  Plan, Plan, Plan, and Plan Again

Again, likely a management issue, but your life will be much easier if the program is well planned and implemented.

For instance, not only must you decide which products to sell, you must determine what product(s) they relate to.  So, if you are going to up-sell with silk ties, you’ve got to decide, in advance, which blazers they’ll go with.

8.  Train to Avoid Pain

Ensure that you are trained on the products or services you offer.  Make sure you understand them.  Rehearse the skills necessary to give the customer sufficient benefits to want to buy.

A well-known catalogue firm invests in over 40 hours of training per employee, designed to demonstrate how a particular add-on product applies to and will benefit the customer.

9.  Test With the Best, Then Roll With the Rest

Okay, another management issue that you might want to be (or make your manager) aware of.  Test your cross-selling and up-selling with your best salespeople.

They have the drive and initiative to work out any of the kinks.  Introduce the cross-selling and up-selling program to the rest of the sales reps only after you’re sure of the test results.

10.  e=mc2

Your cross-selling efforts (e) will be directly dependent on how motivated (m) you are.  Cross-selling and up-selling takes additional time and effort.

If there is no reward…if you’re not motivated…chances are the program won’t be a rip roaring success.

Compensation (c) is always a critical factor in selling and perhaps more so when you’re asking for that little extra with each sale.

The other (c) stands for control.  Whether you’re a sales rep, a manager, or an owner, the ability to control the direction of the cross-selling and up-selling activities will determine your success.

In other words, measure your productivity, your performance, and your profitability.

If there’s something lacking in any one of these areas, make changes.

These 10 tips provide guidelines for profitable cross-selling and up-selling.

Start practicing these on your very next incoming phone or sales call and you WILL increase your sales.