What do you think of when you hear the word “upselling”? Probably a sleazy salesman who is trying to sell you things you don’t need.

But when used in the right way, upselling can help you engage your customers and make them loyal for life.

How so?

Upselling versus cross-selling

Let’s start by defining upselling and cross-selling. People often confuse the two.

Both of them are sales techniques that you can use when a customer has decided to buy a product from you.

Upselling means giving them the option to buy the updated or premium version of the product. You’re asking: What if you bought this instead?

Let’s say that a customer is looking for a gaming PC, for $2400.

After choosing the PC, you ask if they are interested in a better graphics card. You are trying to upsell the customer to a more powerful version of the PC.

Cross-selling means offering your customer other items that go along with the product. You’re asking: What if you also bought this?

So after the customer agrees to buy the better version of the PC, you could show them a second gaming monitor to buy in addition to the PC.

This may come as a surprise, but upselling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling. It’s pretty obvious why. When customers have a certain product or service in mind, they don’t want to be distracted by something else.

Let upselling be your biggest strength

Instead of chasing numbers, focus on getting to know your customers better, and connect with them. Knowing what your customers need is more than enough, don’t pressure them to change their minds.

Don’t make a sale only to make a sale. Let them be in charge and make the final call. Their satisfaction comes first.

Don’t push a sale

You need to make sure that your customers have a reason to upgrade.

For example, you can send them a friendly reminder like Dropbox does. When you use up all of your storage, they send you an email telling you that you can always upgrade to more space.

At some point or other, we all get this kind of email. You’ll find at least one upselling email in your inbox for sure.

Be honest about the price

When you try to sell your customer a better version of a product, things can get tricky. Because, of course, it is going to cost more than what they had in mind.

Don’t try to hide that. Talk them through it. Show them that ultimately you are saving them money.

The upgrade might cost a bit more, but it comes with extra features. Isn’t that so much better than a product that won’t last as long and will have to replaced?

You see where we’re going with this.

If you make sure that the upgraded version of your product is actually better fit, it will increase the customer’s satisfaction. And next time they are thinking of buying, they’ll come to you first!

Limit the options

If there are too many options to choose from, customers can become overwhelmed. They might decide not to buy anything at all. Offer one or two options at the most.

Mix things up

Blending upselling and cross-selling can be a good idea. Both techniques have the same goal: help your business and make your customers happy. It’s a win-win situation :).