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?

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