How to Master the Art of Upselling

At Mcdonald’s: Would you like fries and coke with that?

At a fish restaurant: Our special dish for today is grilled sea bream with balsamic dressing.

At the supermarket: Buy one and get the second half price.

How many times have you been enticed to buy an additional item, upgrade your order or buy something more expensive than what you were originally planning to buy? Plenty, right? You may not realise it at first, but this a sales and marketing technique – called upselling –  which makes customers spend more money than they thought they would spend.

While this technique adds value to a customer’s purchase by enhancing their dining or shopping experience, the seller increases his profits significantly. It’s a completely ethical way to persuade people – don’t forget that mastering the art of persuasion is the key to good marketing and it’s been happening since the days of Aristotle. Upselling is therefore the way to go if you want to increase your sales and generate more revenue, so here are some tips and tricks from sales pros:

  1. Never underestimate the power of an enthusiastic sales person/waiter. The more enthusiastic (but genuine!), the better your chances to persuade the customer.
  2. Upselling is about providing something better or larger. So it worths thinking about ways where you could sell package deals or which of your services you could promote on top of another.
  3. By all means, don’t be pushy. There’s a fine line between effective upselling and annoying the customer, thus it’s important to understand when to stop making sales add-on suggestions.
  4. Be a good listener. Listen carefully to the buyers’ requirements and only when the situation is right, show them the products that will enhance their shopping experience or tell them which dishes in the menu are suitable for vegetarians.
  5. Too much choice can sometimes be less attractive since it will require time and effort from the buyer to make a decision. So narrow your upsell choices and reduce complexity.
  6. Relevancy is key. Don’t just try to upsell everything and anything to anyone. Listen carefully (tip #4) and try to make the upsell as relevant as possible to the original purchase.
  7. If your upsell is available for a particular period of time or it’s limited edition, you need to highlight its exclusivity.
  8. Emphasise the additional benefits on their original purchases, even if they save as little as 1 euro in the buy-one-and-get-the-second-half-price offer.

Lastly, think of this marketing technique as the way to make your clients happier, your sales people more successful and your company more profitable. Upselling is a great practice for any type of business and only when you can persuade your customer that your suggestions are for their benefit, you can consider yourself as the master of the art of persuasion.