Tag Archives: adding value

Upselling to add value

Upselling to add value

Amazon are the masters of using upselling to add value. Just think about the last time you viewed an item on Amazon; below the chances are you saw the handy little prompt saying:

Customers who bought this item also bought ….
or “Frequently bought together”.

As business owners we know that often the profit is in those all important additional sales. More so now than ever with reduced capacity. So just how well do you maximise the revenue per customer?

Over the years I’ve delivered many workshops focusing on ‘upselling’, and written training materials for clients that included sessions on upselling.

But whenever I get involved in this topic there are always one or two team members who find the idea of upselling uncomfortable.

When your staff feel uncomfortable about promoting additional items, guess what?

They won’t do it!

Or if they do it will be with very little confidence, which of course the customer picks up on.

Learn how to overcome this on my “How to teach your team to Upsell and Cross-sell” workshop next week. (Early bird closes on Thursday at 6 pm, so register now if you want to save £20 per person).

We’re exposed to upselling all the time. When we see those messages from Amazon, do we think them pushy?

If you’re anything like me, you can actually find these quite handy.

Let’s see what happens when we DON’T upsell…

Imagine you’ve just been on your holiday of a lifetime to Fantastique (made up place, obviously!). Because it was a special occasion you didn’t want the hassle of booking it yourself, and booked it through your local travel agent.

When you get home, you’re chatting with some friends and one of them asks “what did you think of Awesome Island?”

You look at them blankly, and ask “where?” To which they reply “What! You mean you went all the way to Fantastique and didn’t go to Awesome Island?! You would have loved it! For us that was probably one of the best things about the place!

How do you now feel about your holiday?

You know you’ll never go back there, but now you find out you’ve missed one of the best things to do/see. Why on earth didn’t your travel agent tell you about this place?!

When up selling is done for the right reasons it’s a good thing, as it can add real value and enhance the customer’s experience.

Although we don’t want to be pushy, if we don’t offer other items often we’ll leave the customer not even realising that option exists.


Disappointment. Regret. Frustration.

So change your staff’s thinking. Stop them thinking of it as upselling.

Get them into the mindset of adding value.

This one of the topics I’ll be covering on my “How to teach your team to Upsell and Cross-sell” workshop next week.

Early bird closes on Thursday at 6 pm, so register now if you want to save £20 per person.

Video intro to Upselling workshop

Upselling and cross selling

Upselling and cross selling

You could be running the best promotion in the world, but…

Last week I was approached by someone from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) who is leading a tactical workgroup on recovery for hotels. He had a pdf I had written over 10 years ago, on 100 promotion ideas for hotels, and wants to use it as a foundation for their brainstorming. My initial reaction was surely it will be out of date, but when I reviewed it I concluded that pretty much all the ideas were just as relevant today as they were 10 years ago.

Most centred around additional sales by adding value to give customers a reason to spend more.

But, here’s the thing…

None of those ideas are any good if your customers don’t get to hear about them!

Now, more than ever with reduced capacity you and your team will want to maximise sales from every customer, so your team need to be confident in upselling and cross selling.

Upselling and cross selling first principles

London’s taxi service is arguably the best in the world. If you get into a London cab and give the cabbie the address you’re heading for, you can be sure he or she will know exactly where you want to get to and the best way to get you there.

That’s because they must pass “The Knowledge” before they can drive a London Taxi, something that can take 3-4 years to master.

Although they wouldn’t necessarily expect such detail, every customer expects your team to have at least a basic knowledge of your products and services.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s for dinner, bed and breakfast, serving cake in a café or the latest treatment in your spa, customers want and expect your team to be able to give accurate information on your products and service so they can make an informed choice.

But this is even more important if you want your team to sell, upsell, or cross sell.

As a minimum they need to understand all the offers, products and services you provide. This goes beyond just a laundry list; it needs to include understanding of the features and of course the benefits from a customer’s perspective.

What’s included in a package, what are the different options, what are their recommendations or suggested combinations? A good understanding of your customers’ profile, needs and expectations will help this process.

I’m often shocked by the lack of exposure team members have to the products they are selling, let alone what’s available from other departments. Without this knowledge how on earth can they upsell or cross sell?

As examples: for accommodation – have any of your reservations team ever set foot in the spa, or seen first-hand the difference between a standard and an executive room? The same principles apply whether it’s glamping, shepherds huts or a hotel. In a restaurant – how many of the dishes have your team tasted? What side dishes, accompaniments or wines would they recommend?

Customers buying decisions are based just as much on emotions than on logic, so it’s not just all the features your team need to know, but how to convey the benefits and make it emotionally appealing to the customer. Describing something with enthusiasm and feeling can be hard when you’ve not had any first-hand experience.

Use your internal team to train others so they can cross sell. For example, your pastry chef will do a better job of describing your desserts or afternoon teas than a manager who isn’t involved in making the cakes or puddings. Involving others in the team who you know have an interest and passion for that service and/or products and who will be more than happy to share their knowledge, allows their enthusiasm rub off.

You can’t necessarily cover every conceivable angle. Such as, in a restaurant you might not expect every team member to have sampled every wine on the wine list! But they still need to understand the points of distinction and what complements which dishes.

It’s finding a way to describe your products and services so they sell themselves.

If you only do one thing as a result of reading this – test your team members on their product knowledge of the top 10 products or services each might sell, upsell or cross sell. Don’t assume they know; put it to the test!

Product knowledge is just one aspect of upselling and cross selling. And as it’s so important right now so you don’t leave money on the table, that’s why I’m re-running my Upselling Workshop on 20th & 21st October.

That means you won’t miss out on that potential extra half term business. Save £20 on the early bird if you book before Thursday 15th October.

Here’s a short video to tell you more about the upselling and cross selling workshop

How to get your customers spending more and thanking you for it

Vector value added stamp

One way to grow your sales is to increase the spend of each of your customers, be that on each occasion they visit or buy from you, or through repeat business. They’ve already bought from you so they now know you, hopefully like what you have offered them, and by now they’ll be able to trust you. So you already have a relationship.

The challenge is we (and our team) often feel reluctant to “Upsell”. We don’t want to be pushy or be seen to be manipulating customers into buying something they don’t want.

But just think about it for a moment….

How would you feel on Christmas morning when your child (or grandchild) excitedly opens their new toy and wants to play with it right now. They turn to you and say “But Daddy, it’s not working”. You then see those words “Batteries not included”?

Imagine the disappointment!

Or you buy them that electric drum kit they’ve craved for so long, and all they want to do all through the holidays is practise on it…….. And at the point you are about to pull the plug on it (quite literally) a friends says “But didn’t you get them a set of headphones too?”

…If only someone had suggested this sooner.

Rather than feeling uncomfortable about someone trying to sell you something you didn’t want or need you’d probably be frustrated or even annoyed if they hadn’t suggested the additional items such as the batteries or the headphones.

So instead of thinking “upsell” think in terms of “adding value”.

Sometimes this will lead to an extra sale, but as long as it as it adds value for the customer they are unlikely to mind you making a suggestion.

Three easy ways we can add value:

  • Pre-empt typical questions or problems our customers need solving. Think about what they might want or need, offer alternatives and suggestions for offers and deals that might complement what they’ve ordered
  • Make personal recommendations: customers love getting the insider or local knowledge based on your experience and what fits their situation or tastes
  • Remember them and their preferences

Adding value is not just about the potential sale today; it’s about giving the customer a better all round experience. It might simply be exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of.

It’s a longer term strategy which could lead to additional business at a later date.

What to promote

So in order to do this effectively the first thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote. It obviously makes sense to be promoting high profit items, but there can be a danger in using this as the only criteria.

Unless what you are promoting is perceived as value to the customer, it’s unlikely the sale will be achieved, and does little to build your customer’s loyalty or trust. It’s also important to distinguish between high selling price and profitability and appropriateness to meet the customers’ needs.

For example upselling to a more expensive bottle of wine when it does not appeal to the customers tastes, or upselling an annual admission ticket to someone who doesn’t live locally and is unlikely to make use of it.

You end up with an unhappy and disgruntled customer. So a very short term gain on your part, and hardly likely to lead to a naturally loyal customer.

Spot the opportunities

Look at all the situations that lend themselves as an opportunity to add value – not just in everyone’s own department – but across all areas.

Know your audience and review the buying patterns of your most profitable customers; what types of things do they frequently buy together?

Put yourself in their shoes; what might be a logical accompaniment for the main thing they are buying (in the same way those batteries are a logical purchase if you’re buying a toy that runs on batteries).

  1. At theatres – a programme for tonight’s performance, an interval drink, limited edition souvenirs
  2. For salons – when being pampered for a special occasion, would they like to get their nails done whilst having their hair done, or take home a special lotion to complete their beauty regime
  3. For hotels – options on accommodation – room upgrades, special packages, champagne in rooms, recommending quiet times for spa or fitness centre
  4. In the restaurant – bottled water, suggestions for starters, accompaniments, side orders, deserts, desert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks
  5. Gift items or jewellery – optional gift wrapping, gift cards
  6. Visitor attractions and museums – upgrading to annual tickets, access to exclusive areas, invitations to special events, cross promoting concessions’ facilities such as the café.
  7. At the bar or cafe – premium beers, tapas, home-made cakes with their coffee
  8. Follow ups – Does your service warrant an ongoing programme of sessions for best results, e.g. therapies, sports lessons, beauty treatments

I’m sure you’ll have many more specifics for your own operation.

Think ahead and try to anticipate things your customers might appreciate.

For example if a customer is buying a gift or to treat someone for a special occasion think ahead to what else they might be looking for such as gift wrapping, or card, champagne, flowers, celebration cake, etc

If what you provide involves the great outdoors and braving the elements what else might your customers need or want so that their experiences aren’t marred by bad weather? Having appropriate wet weather gear, hip flasks, and umbrellas are just a couple of things you might think of making available.

Even if you can’t offer all these yourself can you team up with other local businesses to make everything nice and easy for your customers?

Tell your customers

Don’t rely on telepathy for your customers to know what’s on offer! Have other products on show and give plenty of information on other services. And let customers know why this might be a good idea for them.

Ensure you and your team are able to talk confidently about each of the products and services available. You can’t sell something you don’t understand.

Allow your team to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of feel, taste, smell, if they’ve experienced them themselves.

It’s also about timing. If you’re offering something that needs time to enjoy or savour, there’s no point telling them about it just as they are about to leave.

However, it’s always going to be easier to sell something of lower value at the end of the ‘sale’. Take for example when you buy a new suit, and you then get offered a shirt to go with it. The price of the shirt by comparison is small, so it’s an easy sale. Done the other way round has a very different result.

Judge your customers and when is the ‘right time’. For example in a restaurant selling desserts – ask too soon and people say they are still too full, and go straight on to coffee, ask too late and they have gone off the idea, and want to head off home. So it’s sometimes a fine line.

Train your team

Demonstrate to your team the importance of offering additional items to add value for your customers. Allow them to practise: for example how to ask open questions to identify customers’ needs and how to respond and make suggestions.
It’s all very well knowing what to say, but you know how sometimes when you come to say something the words just don’t trip off the tongue as you might hope!

Let your team practise in a safe environment, based on different scenarios.

And most importantly give them authority to look for opportunities and make suggestions and personal recommendations.

It all adds up to giving value, and making sure your customers don’t leave without their batteries….

Add value for your customers

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love sent to me…making it happen

A problem solved

Solve your customers’ problems as an opportunity to add value.

Be proactive and be one step ahead of your customers by offering them things they want. This involves listening and responding, but also imaging what else either complements what you offer, or what’s the next logical step – even if they don’t know they want this yet.

It’s a bit like buying your child an electric guitar for Christmas and the shop suggesting you might also like a set of headphones so you can cut out the sound of the relentless practising. In this case it’s a win-win as you make an extra sale too, but it might be something you offer as part of the package, as added value.