Merchant Capital

How to teach your staff to upsell

Upselling describes the gentle art of persuasion that successfully encourages your customer to upgrade their basket size, buy into a complimentary product line or invest in a more expensive, upper-tier product. The catch of this artistic add-on is that your sales staff require a particular set of skills in order to pull this off. This is a really valuable asset because when done right, upselling not only improves the bottom line but can actually improve customer satisfaction due to the personalized level of service that is offered. So here is what your staff need to know in order to upsell successfully:

1. Develop an in-depth understanding of your product offering

You cannot upsell accidentally. So as a pre-requisite, your staff need to know as much as possible about the diverse products in your store. The bare minimum would be to educate your staff on at least one unique selling point per item in your inventory. This should be easy to remember and relatable enough that your sales team can then engage in conversation around it with an interested buyer. This knowledge base should extend to price-point familiarity so they are selling to customers within realistic budget constraints. Staff should also have a good understanding of stock levels on an ongoing basis so they don’t disappoint the customer by selling in something that they can’t actually provide.

2. Allow your sales team to use their initiative and build rapport

Up-selling is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. So once your team is armed with good product knowledge, encourage them to assess the customer’s needs on their own and work intuitively with the situation. If they can build a rapport and work the sales angle they may naturally sell higher priced products in a spontaneous way. Rapport building needs to be genuine. So your staff need to take a genuine interest in their customers, offer informative, good advice, shape a positive dialogue and keep the engagement enjoyable. When a customer regards a sales encounter as genuine, they are much more likely to spend more time and money on that engagement.

3. Keep the upsell relevant

It’s really important that the additional item/ service that is suggested, is relevant to the original sale. Suggestions on a totally different product is called cross-selling and is not the same as up-selling. The upsell should be along the lines of an upgrade of that same product, or a similar ad-on that enhances the value of the current item. The item may be a better version which is bigger, stronger or faster. For example if you think of a car sale – if the customer is looking at a family-size 4x4, the natural upsell would be leather seats to safeguard from sticky little fingers. And not, for example, a different brand 2-seater sports model. An appropriate upsell on technology items for example, could be product protection like an extended the warranty. You could also suggest to customize the product like brand your laptop cover or sneakers. And finally you could extend your service period where you may be offering the same product, but in addition you are also suggesting a longer value for the contract, or great deals on early renewals, for a nominal cost, of course.

The bottom line

In the sales game, every Rand is a soldier. By upskilling your sales team with these intuitive and strategic tools, a good sales pitch can have a significant effect on your overall bottom line. Sales training is a worthy place to invest in your business, and comes with a massive up-side: A significant increase to your customer life-time value. For this (and so many reasons outlined above) it should be a key part of your business’s sales strategy.

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