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How to sell more to your customers

One of the best ways to increase sales is to sell to your existing customers – or those thinking of buying from you – by increasing their average spend. In this article, we explain two techniques for doing this called cross-selling and up-selling.

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One of the best ways to increase sales is to sell to your existing customers – or those thinking of buying from you – by increasing their average spend. In this article, we explain two techniques for doing this called cross-selling and up-selling. Chances are you've probably been cross-sold or up-sold to before. That magazine or chocolate bar you picked up at the supermarket checkout, the piece of cake you were tempted to have with your coffee, or that digital camera you bought that was just a little bit more expensive but had dozens more features - they're all examples of cross- and up-selling. The beauty of cross-selling and up-selling is that you are selling to people who are already interested in buying from you by letting them know what else you can do for them, so your job is made much easier than if you were selling to a cold lead. The key is to sell them something that is relevant and useful. What's the difference between cross-selling and up-selling? Cross-selling occurs when your customer buys a product and you sell them an additional product that relates to or complements the one they're already buying. The products cross-sold are usually smaller value items. Up-selling occurs when your customer wants to buy a particular product and you sell them a similar, better product that is usually more expensive. If it is more expensive you will have to display better value for money. Cross-selling – providing a useful additional service Make your business a one-stop-shop for everything your customer will need when making a purchase. You will save them time and effort searching for other products - and possibly money - which means they're more likely to buy from you again. Think about what you sell. Does it have natural accompanying products? Here's a few examples to get you thinking: Digital cameras – lenses, camera bags, memory cards, batteries, photo paper Stationery and cards – pens, postage stamps, gifts Furniture – cushions, coverings Plants – pots, garden tools Wine – snacks, wine glasses. Incentivise multiple purchases If your profit margins allow it, you could encourage multiple purchases by offering a discount, for example 3 for 2 offers, buy one get one free, or by bundling a few similar purchases together and giving a small discount. If your customers buy products from you that have a delivery cost attached, you could encourage them to buy more in order to bring the cost of delivery down – or even offering free delivery! Both of these techniques can be particularly effective, especially if your competitors aren't already using them. Up-selling – meeting your customer's needs Up-selling is slightly more complex as it involves understanding what your customer requires from a product or service, and making sure you meet that need. As you're selling to a customer, you should ask questions that uncover the need for cross-selling. Perhaps the customer is looking to buy a lower value product but they would actually benefit from a slightly more expensive product with more features. Talking to your customers about what they're looking for will reveal appropriate opportunities to cross-sell. Top cross-selling and up-selling tips Make sure your customers know what other products and services you provide. If you don't tell them you have a corresponding or alternative product or service, you can't expect them to know. Only suggest relevant products or services that your customer might actually need or appreciate. There is no long-term value in selling someone something they don't really need as they're less likely to buy from you again. Recommend the product at the right time. Cross-selling is usually best to do right before checkout to maximise on the potential for impulse buys, while it is better to up-sell earlier in the sales process before your customer has made up their mind. Up-sells and cross-sells should be recommendations only – don't continue to push products or services on your customers if they have said they don't want them. Make sure all of your employees - especially sales people – know your range well so that they can advise customers on how you can best help them and which products go together.

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