Up, up, and away


One of the easiest ways to increase your revenue is to up-sell or cross-sell the customers who are already buying from you. It’s not hard but it requires an essential skill: listening. Let’s say a customer wants to outsource a particular service to you. Do you simply take the request and give thanks? Even the person behind the microphone at the drive-through window knows enough to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” Granted, they’re conditioned to ask the question and you’re conditioned to say, “No, thanks.” But the point is, for every nine people who decline, there is one person who decides that the idea of some hot, tasty French fries is a good one. That means this minimum-wage earner is responsible for a 10 percent increase in French fry sales during her shift. Wouldn’t you be thrilled if one of your sales professionals could deliver a boost like that?

We are in the business of providing solutions, whether that’s software, hardware, accessories, or service. A solution is not limited to one particular sku. In the vast majority of situations, your customer has a broader problem than the immediate one and would probably be thrilled to solve it with just this one phone call rather than seeking out various vendors. Simply by asking questions about their needs and listening to the answers, you can identify ways to up- or cross-sell. Make sure your customers know about the other products and services you offer; don’t assume they are aware just because they haven’t asked. And never assume that they’re “all set” because all it takes is one nightmare of an experience for a customer to switch loyalty to another provider.

I know of one salesperson who up-sells almost every one of her buyers simply by engaging them in a discussion about their business. She asks them about the challenges they are facing and how they are dealing with it. She poses ideas for solving the problems. In some cases, she has to outsource the solution, but it still streams through her. She becomes the invaluable resource to her clients. And she feels good about the sale because she knows she is actually providing a valuable service, not over-selling needless things.

Take a look at your database. Pick out three customers and make it a point to listen a little harder and sell a little more on your next call. In fact, pick up the phone right now and ask those three customers, “What problem keeps you up at night?”

Then solve it.

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