What the Hell is an Upsell?

When I first started my sales career as an overly aggressive outside salesman, where we were taught to knock down doors for business, hunt out prospects, go in for the kill and one call close them (follow ups were for losers who couldn’t close on the first date), I had never heard the word ‘upsell’. Not in any of my trainings at 2 of the most aggressive B2B long distance resellers, and not in my early years as a broker. Hunt ’em, sell ’em, and forget about ’em.

Holy shitake Batman, I left a lot of commission on the table.

What better way to add to your monthly sales then to prospect your existing customers? You know, the ones you closed because you took the time to see what their needs were and the solution you could provide? And how you kept in touch with them over time to make sure they were still shiny happy people?

If you’ve done it right, your clients will buy from you again – they will be open to new services or offerings you have because you have treated them well and been solution based. If you know your customer, you know if/when a new solution you offer would be helpful, and if you are doing your best to keep up with them (and always end the call with ‘I appreciate your business’) you may uncover new pain that you may be able to help with – and if you cant – because you are a professional at sales – you will direct them to the person who CAN solve that pain. That makes you a partner in their business, not just some sales jockey trying to score an extra few bucks off your client so you can buy the next round of drinks at Friday happy hour.

So, what’s an upsell?

1. Uncovering a new need from your client because you keep in contact with them and any news about them. You then offer them your solution.

2. A new product/service you offer that may be a fit for your client because you have taken the time to understand their business.

3. When a client calls in with a question and you ask them “why” they have that question, and how another one of your products/service may be a solution to make sure they don’t have that challenge in the future.

When you are a solutions based sales provider and a professional who knows his customer, you can dig into the treasure trove that is your hard won client base, you can offer new potential solutions to people who have trusted you before (because you did the right thing), people you have continued to keep in contact with and served well, and are 99% more likely to pick up the phone when you call than 99% of anyone you’ve just cold called.

What do you do when your firm has a new offering? Do you go out cold and see who will buy? Or do you go to your client base first?

When I was a rookie salesman, I never would have thought of this because nobody ever told me anything different. It was ‘eat what you kill’ that day and that day only. Tomorrow was another hunting day. Follow up and upsell were not part of my sales lexicon.

Old school says to close and move on.

Sales 2.0 says close, follow up, serve, and upsell (when appropriate!).

If I ever took the time to look at the additional offerings I may have been able to help those old clients with more money saving solutions but I really didn’t care about them saving money, I cared about me making money.

Now I know that the more I help clients save money and add value to their business, the money will take care of itself.

Who can you upsell today?

Having the Social Media Conversation with Your Children

This post was originally written for the Lasso Moon agency

I have 4 children in middle school: 2 girls, 2 boys. They are plugged-in to their phones, iPods and iPads. They began with Angry Birds and Minecraft games and quickly became interested in YouTube videos of Nickelodeon stars.  Next thing I knew, they were creating their own Instagram accounts. So, I did what I recommend all parents do…I started an Instagram account so I could follow them. I quickly realized that we needed to set some ground rules for what is and what is not OK for them to do on Instagram as well as future social media accounts. (None of them have a Facebook, Twitter or G+ account – yet!) Because I still like to think I’m cool and hip at 45, I told them if they are going to use social media, they need to keep it REAL: R – respectful, E –encouraging, A – amicable, L – low key

Respectful –

Absolutely no duckface! Respect yourself and others. The internet is forever and pictures don’t just go away. I explained that colleges and future employers will look at their social accounts, and that a foolish picture or comment can come back and haunt them.

Encouraging –

We are to build others up, not tear them down. Posts should be of a positive nature. Comments towards others and pictures of others they post will be to thank, encourage or help others.

Amicable –

That means no keyboard warriors. There will be no engagement in fights. If someone starts with them they are to delete, un-friend, or block that person – then immediately notify their mother or me. Cyberbullying is real and it will not be tolerated. Nip it in the bud.

Low Key –

Keep it to a minimum.  Social Media is fun and can help them stay connected to their friends, but the best way to stay connected with their friends is to BE with their friends. Turn off the technology and go have fun. Social Media is to be a low key, small part of their social experience. Have more fun with reality than virtual reality. As someone who is constantly plugged in, I appreciate what Social Media can do to help build up one’s personal brand, create new friendships and creative partnerships. But kids still need to be kids, there’s a time and place for social media and children / teens need to be aware of the potential consequences of their social media actions after they hit the ‘send’ button. How do you handle the Social Media question with your kids?

 

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Is Your Social Media Strategy SOCIAL?

This article originally appeared on the LASSO MOON AGENCY blog:

How is your social media strategy working for you? Are you putting out Original, Authoritative and Shareable content that informs, connects and entertains? Here are a few guidelines to keep your efforts in check:

S- Shareable

O- Original

C- Connectable

I- Informative

A- Authoritative

L- Lively

 

Shareable – Is your content, your message shareable? Will others want to ‘like’ it or retweet it to their followers?  We’re all more likely to share an article, blog, video, or post if it’s engaging, humorous and / or includes informative content.   And remember, sharing one person’s content increases the likelihood of forming a connection that will ultimately lead to them sharing YOUR content.

Original – Original content is what search engines want to see.  Tell Your story as often as possible.  When you are strapped for time, it’s fair to re-post another’s article, but always slant the lead-in to fit your own personality and your own experience. Your expertise is where originality comes from.

Connectable – Does your message connect with people? Can your target market relate to what you’re saying? If your readers can’t relate to your message, they will not continue to engage.  Strive to provide information that is relevant to your audience, and helpful to their own target audiences.

Informative – Social savvy people want to be “in” on the latest and greatest trends and news.  If you can provide relative information (and make it easy for others to understand, re-purpose, and share, then = job well done!!) you will be rewarded.  How many Google searches do you perform a day?  I can’t even start to count.  The point is, you want to be found when your prospect is searching for your product of service.  Put it out there.

Authoritative – Do you know what you’re talking about?  (I’m going to go with a resounding “YES”)  Then talk about it often.  Be the pro at what you know.  Provide information, answer questions, join conversations and engage as much as time allows.  This will enable you to gain credibility with your prospects, and with search engines.  Be as active as possible.

Lively – People like to be entertained. Does your information include humor? Is it breaking news? Something brand new? New info is hot, it’s lively and if you’re the first one “in,” before you know it, you’ll be the voice of authority in your industry.

©David Rynne 2016

 

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How Old-School Selling Got Me Banned From Richmond, Virginia

In 1992, I was working for an extremely aggressive outside sales organization that was a B2B long distance phone service reseller.

I worked out of the Washington, D.C. office and the company was thinking of opening an office in Richmond, Va. Since I had been thrown out of most of the office buildings in the Washington, D.C. area, I jumped at the chance to prospect in new territory.

I was teamed up with Craig, another young and aggressive sales recruit. He had just returned from his corporate sales training class, so he was eager to try out his new “skills.”

The cold calling started normally enough. We went into a few buildings and went to the top floor so we could work our way down. Usually, we sold floor-to-floor. But sometimes, it was a game of cat-and-mouse. After business gatekeepers called security on us, we’d start a pattern of going down two floors and going back up one to avoid being caught.

We’d enter the business, ask the gatekeeper if we could speak to the person in charge of business communication decisions and wait for the reply.

If they said, “You mean the president?”, our trained response was, “That’s exactly why we’re here!” If they said, “Do you have an appointment?”, we answered, “That’s exactly why we’re here!”

(The answer was almost always “That’s exactly why we’re here.”)

It wasn’t a complete lie. We did have a reason to be there — to sell them long distance service — but we couldn’t just say that. We were taught to mislead gatekeepers and be very vague about what we were doing there. Many of them saw through us, but sometimes we’d get lucky and have a newbie at the front desk. They’d open the gates to the kingdom, and we could just walk in the office and head straight into the president’s office and hammer them to buy our service.

After being escorted out of four buildings, we decided to hit a few storefronts. It was usually a little easier to reach the decision maker in stores, but they were more spread out and not as efficient to canvass than office buildings.

But we wanted a sale. There was no way Richmond was going to blank us that day. We were going to one-call-close somebody that day, whether they liked it or not.

Here’s where things went bad.

Craig, who was itching to get a sale, was frustrated from being thrown out of buildings, so when we entered a copy store to cold call it, he was a little on edge.

We asked the first person we saw if we could speak to the owner and he said it was him, so Craig started his pitch. The man was not happy — he must have gotten called on a lot by outside salesmen. He cut Craig off and yelled at us to get out of his shop. Craig’s frustration boiled over and he swore at and insulted the shop owner as we walked out.

When we got outside the shop, we saw a motorcycle cop who just happened to be parked outside. Since we were pretty sure the owner was going to follow us outside, we ducked into a shop two doors down to hide. It turned out to be a women’s dress boutique.

We needed to buy time, but Craig couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand not pitching the lady. He couldn’t stand not making a sale.

This is what overly aggressive sales training does to new recruits. He had to pitch this lady. Common sense goes out the window when you are expected to sell with immediate results.

After he made his pitch, we were asked to leave the store in about two-and-a-half seconds flat.

The motorcycle cop was waiting for us, and so was the copy store owner.

“What y’all boys up to?” the police officer asked.

“Just working, sir,” I said.

As the son of an ex-NYPD homicide detective, I learned never to mouth off to a cop. Craig obviously did not come from a law enforcement family.

“Yes, we’re working sir, and right now we have to get back to work because our time is money and right now you’re wasting our time.”

Let’s just stop for a moment, shall we? This was not one of the role plays we did over and over in training. They don’t teach you to deal with this type of encounter — it’s just common sense.

“Sir, what my colleague is trying to say is that we have limited time to work today in Richmond, so unless you need us for something may we go?” I asked.

We had to give him our IDs and Craig gave him our CEO’s name and number, telling the officer that our boss demanded that we cold call and sell. I just kept telling Craig to shut up.

Since the worst thing Craig did was insult the owner and then the officer, there wasn’t any reason to arrest us, but the man could have messed with us.

“I better never ever catch you boys in my city again, don’t you ever come back, and tell your company president to not open an office here,” the cop said after giving us a harsh talking-to.

We left, and I told Craig we were lucky that the cop didn’t arrest us for being idiots. He still didn’t get it.

We were taught to be aggressive and hammer away in order to get the sale. Sometimes it went too far. In this case it did.

Sales should benefit the client first, and the salesman second. There is no place for insulting a potential client in our business. There are always going to be long days — frustrating days, and days where you don’t hit your numbers. But if you’re going to sell professionally, you can’t take it personally.

I had times early in my career where I let it get to me too, but I learned that prospective clients are gold and should always be treated with respect. Everyone should be treated with respect. That cop walked away with a negative attitude toward our firm, and while he may have never been able to prevent an office opening in Richmond, a successful business is not built on bad PR.

Be professional. Make your calls. Be courteous. Do sales the right way.

This Sales Mistake You’re Making Is Like Throwing Away Free Money

When I first started my sales career as an overly aggressive outside salesman, we were taught to knock down doors for business, hunt out prospects, go in for the kill, and one-call close them. (Follow-ups were for losers who couldn’t close on the first date.)

In all my time on the job, I had never heard the word ‘upsell.’ Not in any of my trainings at two of the most aggressive B2B long-distance phone service reselling companies, and not in my early years as a broker. Instead, here’s how it went: Hunt them, sell them, and forget about them.

Holy shiitake, Batman. I left a lot of commission on the table.

There’s no better way to increase your monthly sales than to prospect your existing customers. You know, the ones you closed because you took the time to see what their needs were and the solution you could provide? The ones you’ve kept in touch with over time to make sure they were still shiny happy people?

If you’ve done it right, your clients will buy from you again. If you’ve treated them well and offered them solution-based recommendations, they will be open to new services or offerings because they will trust you. And if you know your customer, make an effort to keep up with them, and demonstrate your appreciation of their business, you’ll uncover new pain. You’ll either know whether a new solution you can offer would be helpful, or whether you should direct your customer to the company that can solve this pain.

If this is how you approach sales, you’ll become a partner in your clients’ businesses instead of coming off like a sales jockey trying to score an extra few bucks off your client so you can pay for the next round of drinks at happy hour. And because you’ll be trusted, you’ll actually make more money than if you simply pursued the next sale without regard for your customers’ needs.

All this is to say that upsells are not to be taken lightly.

The following scenarios are the three situations where upsells are generally appropriate:

  1. You uncover a customer’s new need because you’ve kept in contact with them, watch for news about them, and monitor their progress. You then offer them your solution.
  2. Your company releases a new product or service. Because you’ve taken the time to understand your client’s business, you know your new offering is a good fit for one of their needs you haven’t been previously solving.
  3. A client considers you a trusted advisor, and calls you with a question. When you ask them why they ran into this problem, they tell you about a challenge they’re facing, so you recommend another product your company offers to make sure they don’t have that challenge in the future.

When you are a solutions-based sales provider and a professional who knows his customer, you can dig into the treasure trove that is your hard-won client base to offer new potential solutions to people who have trusted you before. Because you’ve previously acted professionally, your customers are 99% more likely to pick up the phone when you call than 99% of the new prospects you’re trying to reach for the first time.

What do you do when your firm has a new offering? Do you go out cold and see who will buy? Or do you go to your client base first?

When I was a rookie salesman, I never would have thought of upselling, because nobody ever taught me anything different. It was “eat what you kill” that day and that day only. Tomorrow was another hunting day. “Follow-up” and “upsell” were not part of my sales lexicon.

Old-school sales teaches reps to close and move on.

But modern salespeople know that the close is just the beginning. You must deliver, follow-up, serve, and upsell (when appropriate!).

If I ever took the time to look at the additional offerings I may have been able to help my old clients implement and save some money, I would have sold them more services and made more money myself. But I didn’t understand the potential of upsells, and I only went hunting for new business — I only cared about the money going into my pocket.

Now I know that as long as I help clients save money and add value to their business, the money will take care of itself.

So who can you upsell today?