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How to Cross-Sell and Up-Sell More Efficiently, Part One


Cross-selling and up-selling are two great ways to add value for your customers, and in some circumstances, form partnerships with non-competitive vendors and service providers, all while adding revenue to your top line and profit to your bottom.


Cross-selling: Adding an additional product or service to the sale that ideally not only increases your revenue, but also creates added value for your customer. In some cases, this involves partnering with a non-competitive vendor or service provider to deliver a valuable service that you don't offer. If you’re selling LED lighting, for example, and the customer says, “I need the LED lighting retrofit, but I’d also like a better way to know which lighting is energized at any given time,” you could say, “Well, you know what? I don't carry lighting controls; however, I do have an excellent source that we've used successfully for other projects. In fact, we could bundle the whole thing – my lights and their controls – in the same contract.”

Now you can bring new business to a non-competitive partner and add value for your customer while saving them the headache of sourcing and hiring another vendor.

Up-selling: Selling more expensive products or services that the customer did not originally intend to buy. The goal of up-selling, of course, is to increase the income earned from the transaction, ideally while delivering a more complete solution for your client. In many cases, you’ll end up with a more satisfied customer because (assuming your products and services are priced fairly) the added value will be more than worth the extra cost. Here’s an example of up-selling that is a variation on the example above:

Your customer, an office building landlord with fifty tenants, calls you interested in upgrading to an LED lighting system. After asking a series of targeted questions, you realize that the subject property is located in a demand-response-sensitive utility territory AND that the lease form used by this landlord permits him to charge $25/hour for after-hours lighting... provided he can track the extra hours of use!

You recommend a more sophisticated lighting system than the customer was initially requesting. Your solution would allow the building to dim its lighting during critical peak pricing periods for electricity AND track each tenant’s lighting usage, producing a report that would facilitate tenant billing at the end of each month.

Without a doubt, the system you are recommending is more sophisticated and expensive than what the customer had in mind when he first contacted you. However, it may be easy to justify the incremental cost given the powerful advantages provided by the better system. 

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss “Part Two” of this How to Cross-Sell and Up-Sell More Efficiently series.

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Posted by Mark Jewell