The Importance of Cross Selling and Up Selling

Sometimes businesses make the mistake of focusing their sales force purely on new leads in their efforts to expand their business. Take a look at your own organization. What if there were ways that you could capitalize on the existing customer base you already have, while selling more with a lower investment than it takes to generate new leads?

Cross selling and up selling can achieve exactly that. Following up by differentiating your offerings, and providing ongoing customer support can help you to retain customers well in to the future. Sustainability is just as important as growth. By growing business from existing channels you will build a sustainable operation that allows for growth more naturally in the future.

Upselling Adds Value While Increasing Revenue

Your business should always aim to upsell and cross sell with existing customers. The process doesn't need to occur with the initial sale. It can be used as a follow up to add further value, or to provide a solution to a customer's growing needs.

Upselling and cross selling should be approached carefully because the value to the customer should always be considered first. Simply pitching products or services that don't meet or are not relevant to the customer's needs will not only be more difficult for your salesforce, but could damage the relationship that you have with the customer. An upsell that adds value does the complete opposite and not only generates revenue, but it strengthens your brand in the eyes of the customer.

There are three key rules to keep in mind when considering your up sale or cross sale opportunities:

1) Wait Until the Time is Right: Businesses don't need to ambush their existing customers with options right away. Both up sales and cross sales can come later down the track. The most important thing is to build the initial trust with a customer that will facilitate further business at an opportune time.

2) Meet the Customer's Needs: An up sell is not all about revenue. To maintain sustainability and integrity in the eyes of a customer, up sells should be relevant to a customer's needs. This can be achieved by filling an obvious void that their current products or services have, or cater to a completely separate need unrelated to the initial sale.

3) Maintain Customer Records: This is critical for future up sells and cross sells. Businesses need an efficient CRM system to maintain customer details, purchasing history, and a basic customer profile. This will help to time and target opportunities towards existing customers.

Excellent Service Ensures Follow up Business and Generates New Leads

Competition in business can be fierce, and with so many options available, creating value for an ongoing relationship between you and your customers is essential. Aim to differentiate from your competition on service, and use this superior service to add value to your brand.

Existing customers already have a relationship with your company and are starting to build a perception of your brand. From the moment you do business with a customer it's important to continue to build a relationship with them. Provide follow up services whether this be in product training, tips on using a product or service that they have previously purchased, or even in offering additional products that might be suitable to their needs.

Additionally, how you deal with a customer when something goes wrong will also help to strengthen the relationship. Warranty returns, faulty installations, or products that didn't meet the needs of the customer in accordance with the sales pitch should all be addressed to meet a satisfactory outcome for both parties. Taking effort in the early stages of your business relationship will go a long way in cementing trust.

Customers are not just valuable for the business that they bring now, but also in the way that they become valuable marketing assets. Keeping every customer happy as if they are a living breathing endorsement for your company should be high on your list of priorities.

Customer service in general can be used as an influential differentiator. It can be easy for a business to forget about real customer service as they get caught up in other aspects of their business. This is especially true when a business gets too caught up on simply pitching their products and services. The fact is though customer service will go a long way towards maintaining a relationship with your customer, improving the face of your company, and increasing the chances of follow up business.

Utilize Multi-channel Marketing to Engage Customers and Drive Further Sales

Multi-channel marketing is a massive part of any marketing strategy, but it's especially important in driving up sells and cross sells. As a business builds a client base, they can start to network with these customers on many levels. One of the easiest ways to do this is with opt-in communications after the original sale. There are many options for multi-channel marketing today.

*Newsletter mailing lists.
*Social Media marketing through Facebook likes, LinkedIn shares, retweets etc.
*Membership to valued customer programs.
*Physical catalogue sign up (this won't be appropriate to all businesses).

The reason the multi-channel marketing approach works is because you can specifically target this material for your customers. By maintaining a CRM system you can see what material best suits your customers based on what they have purchased and what their needs are. There's also the benefit in that your business already has an existing relationship with these customers. This naturally gives them more interest in your company and products, especially if you have provided them with an outstanding customer experience the first time around.

Multi-channel marketing through social media allows you to leverage from your relationship with customers to grow your current exposure through social sharing, liking, and endorsements etc.

Up Sells and Cross Sells Follow Naturally Once a Relationship Is Established. Continued Marketing Keeps You Relevant.

The statistics support the methods. In a survey of marketing agencies and their clients conducted by Econsultancy/Sitecore in April, the all-important question was asked: What were your most effective tactics for improving customer lifetime? The results speak for themselves, lending weight to the practices we've discussed here.

Improvements to Customer Services: 42% of respondents found most effective.

Cross Selling/Upselling: 29% of respondents found most effective.

Mulit-Channel Marketing: 21% of respondents found most effective.

There's no such thing as a difficult upsell of cross-sell.

Businesses who take the time to learn about their customers know this. Once trust is established between the two parties with excellent service and customer experience, this kind of follow up business is natural and can add just as much, if not more business than prospecting will.

The multi-channel marketing approach only helps to continue building a relationship, and keeps your brand and your offerings fresh in the mind of the consumer. Businesses that follow these principles will find the value in their current customer base that would otherwise be ignored in the all-out search for new leads.

About the author
Dan Liles is CEO of Cleverpear Consulting, online business strategists who combine business planning experience, creative talent and technical development for optimizing business results. With many techincal patents to his name and experience with large IT companies Dan has taken Cleverpear to a level of consultng that surpasses his competitors.

Over the last 12 years, Cleverpear has developed business strategies and online implementation for names like Harvard, Western World Annuity, Texas Christian University, United Healthcare and many other online and manufactoring businesses.


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