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Best Practices for Cross-Selling and Upselling

Research shows conclusively that your existing customers are your best chance at increasing your overall sales. Closing a deal with a potential new customer is tricky and doesn’t actually happen all that often—even if your sales team are virtuosos of the craft. Statistically speaking, you’re much more likely to find success selling additional products and services. That’s where upselling and cross-selling come in. Unfortunately, people hear a lot about these kinds of tactics, and it’s easy for them to switch off if you take a poor approach. What exactly are these tactics, and how can you employ them effectively?


Know the difference

Firstly, we need to know what upselling and cross-selling are. Both are tactics that can be employed near the end of the sales process in an attempt to increase the value of the sale—and both are great ways to increase your business profits. Upselling means selling a customer a more valuable version of their primary purchase. It could be a larger size, a more valuable version of the product, or add-ons to the primary purchase.

Cross-selling is suggesting other, related products to add to the primary sale. This has a far lower success rate than upselling, but depending on the customer, it can pay dividends. It can be quite successful in hospitality businesses—would you like a drink with that?—but it’s also a relevant strategy on a larger scale. For example, telecommunications firms realised early on that the customers who paid for their landline phone services would likely want them to also provide their internet access.

 Learn to ask good questions 

If you’re trying to upsell or cross-sell a customer, it pays to know what their specific wants and needs are. Otherwise, you could be wasting your energy— no matter how good your sales team is, they won’t have much luck trying to sell people things they have no need for. So, how do you find out who wants and who needs what?

Finding the right information requires developing personal relationships with your customers and asking them probing questions that will give you the answers you need. A lot of these will focus on the problems the customer or their business face, and the kinds of solutions they are looking for. With a clearer idea of these two things, it’s easier to know which of your products will be useful to them. You might also try to ask about how much their problems are costing them and what kind of budget they’re working with. It’s best to try and upsell customers on the most valuable product you have which is in their price range.

Develop a rapport

You don’t have to become best friends with your customers, but developing a good rapport will support your ability to ask questions and find out the information you need.

People are different, and as such, they require different approaches. Some people prefer a no-nonsense, direct approach to selling, while others prefer small talk. Being able to adapt your sales tactics to different kinds of customers is a valuable skill, and it should be a focus of your sales training. With this focus, you’ll find that a lot more upselling and cross-selling will happen organically—it’s just a natural result of your people being able to identify their customers’ needs better.

Demonstrate the value you can add 

When your customers can see evidence that your products and services are adding value to their life or business, they will be much more open to the prospect of adding value to their purchase. You should get familiar with the concept of the ‘quick win’ first. This means that you provide the customer with outcomes very early on—it doesn’t have to be anything very significant, but it should be clear to the customer that something has changed for the better.

Upselling and cross-selling become a lot easier once the customer is on board with the fact that your business is giving them an advantage they didn’t have before. Again, this is quite an organic thing—you are genuinely providing them with value, so it’s only natural that they will be quite receptive to see what else you have to offer.

Open up new opportunities for your business

Upselling and cross-selling can increase your business profits significantly. On the other hand, the vast majority of businesses operate below capacity, and you’ll usually have excess stock or service capacity that simply can’t be sold at any given time. So, why not open yourself up to a scheme that connects all sorts of businesses like yours and allows you to barter your excess goods and services on an exchange? Bartercard opens up new opportunities for your business that no other service can, so contact us to get started today.


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Access Bartercard for 1 month complimentary* to see if it is the right fit for your business growth.

*Membership fee may apply. Transaction fees will still apply for any trades that occur within the first month. Monthly membership: $49 a month + T$10 + T$10 DRF.