As an honorable business owner, your goal is to be as profitable as possible … without selling your soul.
The upsell—a sales pitch to move a customer from an average selection, moderately priced to an outstanding selection at a premium price—can boost sales and profits.
But does selling up simply mean pushing customers to buy a higher priced trinket? If you answered “yes,” you may be trying too hard. And you're most likely missing opportunities to make the connections that invite trust and enable the genuine upsell that happens without even trying.
So, what does this honorable and effortless sales interaction look like? Follow these seven tips, and you'll be upselling in no time.
1. Be willing to forgo a sale. The right type of upsell, the one void of pushiness, happens when you're more interested in helping the customer than closing a deal. Genuine willingness to forgo a sale—not just acting disinterested—reveals to the customer that you can be trusted.
2. Listen to your customers. You may think you're listening to a customer, but you might be categorizing her instead. Through deeper engagement, define the customer’s needs as well as her hopes and dreams. As a result, you're more likely to make a spot-on recommendation, which may be a higher priced item. Plus, by listening intently, you’ll have the information to articulate the product benefits most relevant to the person standing in front of you.
3. Be a product expert. If you're recommending a higher priced item, make sure you can discuss the product features that differentiate the premium item from its plainer counterpart. If the only difference is its price tag, most customers will opt to purchase the lower priced product. However, a customer who understands why a product is superior or better suited for a specific application is likely to pay more. Even a value shopper appreciates greater durability, reliability and performance and will opt for the higher priced item if the budget allows.
4. Out-of-stock alternatives. You should carry the items that your customers expect, need and want. But sometimes you run out of stock, despite your best efforts and most earnest intentions to manage inventory levels.
At these times, offering viable alternatives that meet and exceed a customer’s specifications can be helpful. However, don't trick the customer by advertising an item that is not available, then try to sell them a pricier one.
5. Carry better lines. To sell premium and higher-priced products, you need to carry them in your merchandise offerings or list of services. They should be in stock or readily available from a trusted vendor. Customers may ask for these items or the product line should come to mind during conversations.
6. Sell premium features that are designed into products. A feature that's central to the design of a product (not just a premium add-on or heavily promoted attribute) compels the customer to buy this incomparable item, typically on the top tier price-wise.
In such a scenario, the average product in its category doesn’t satisfy the customer at all. The fitting solution is the one created to fulfill a unique purpose, aligned with rigid specifications and benefits that the customer had envisioned.
7. Show off your expertise. Your expertise is most likely built on a foundation of product knowledge and firsthand experiences. Plus, you have skillfully guided customers in considering their needs, exploring their options, making choices and field-testing your recommendations. You know what works and what doesn’t, and how customers either shine or stumble in their purchasing decisions.
Share the depth and breadth of your real-world background, not just the vendor training sessions you attended or the starred reviews you read. Weave the stories into your presentations, finding what resonates with each customer, who will recognize how her situation is similar to one you describe.
Such interactions build trust and help the customer navigate selections. She may land on the simplest, least expensive option but is also likely to spend much more.
Becoming knowledgeable and experienced, being perceptive to customer’s nuanced requirements, and gaining the ability to articulate key features are difficult. But naturally using these characteristics to take care of your customer lets you sell and upsell with little extra effort.
Julie Rains is a senior writer at Wise Bread, a leading personal finance community dedicated to helping people get the most out of their money. Get daily money tips by following Wise Bread on Facebook or Twitter.
Looking for more tips and advice on increasing sales? Read more sales articles.
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