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The Art of Cross-Selling: 7 Tips to Remember

Most small business owners usually resort to finding new customers whenever they think of generating more sales. This method is fine but does not work at all times. And when this happens, paying attention to your current customers can definitely help boost your sales. Exactly how? By cross-selling — offering the customers a product or service related to what they’re already purchasing or planning to purchase.

Perhaps you worry about becoming “pushy and sales-y” and irritating your customers with too many sales pitches.  Surveys show however that buyers in general respond favorably when told about “extras” that may fulfill additional needs or about new items that were not offered in the past. It’s a way of demonstrating that you are aware of their needs and care about their satisfaction.

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind when doing cross-selling to boost the bottom line:

Understand your customers’ behavior.

Determine what products or services would complement your customers’ purchases based on their buying behaviors. Ask your customers whether they are aware of other products you are offering and explain the additional benefits of using these products. Make sure to follow up with customers whether they’re now interested in purchasing the related product you’ve brought up.

Know the right timing.

Timing is crucial when you are trying to cross-sell. Don’t interrupt the customer when they are still searching for a particular item. This practice messes up the user experience. Apply cross-selling after the customer has already selected something first or is trying something out.

For example, if a customer is looking at a low-priced digital camera but appears disappointed in the lack of features and performance quality, suggesting a higher priced model could be the perfect solution to address their needs.

Train your employees and sales staff.

Make sure that your employees and sales staff have the knowledge to confidently explain how other products and services help solve a customer’s problem. Remind them to avoid being pushy and overeager sales pitch when cross-selling. Advise them to be subtle and keep in mind their customer’s needs. Explanations should appear as a suggestion and not as a mandate.

Stay relevant.

If you try to cross-sell items or services that are not closely related to the original purchase, tendency is your customers may feel overloaded with too many suggestions and they may not be pleased at all. Stay on course and don’t be too excited and bombard your customers with just anything that comes to your mind. You don’t want to spoil their mood.

Make the most of your company’s website.

Place images and content about related products and services on relevant pages of your site. As customers go through your site and select products or services, make it a point that the related items are visible and accessible in such a way that you educate your shoppers about what your business has to offer.

Post expert recommendations.

Recommendations from other people can also foster your cross-selling efforts. Take Amazon for instance. When you buy a book at Amazon.com, for example, the site automatically lists other books purchased by people who bought the same book you just ordered. This recommendation tactic works best if you have a large inventory or you provide complicated services. It might be the only way for you to expose all your offerings to customers.

Implement bundling techniques.

Integrated offerings give your customers everything they want with less hassles. At the same time, it increases the value per sale and reduces marketing costs. Use it to your advantage. Bundle or group related items and services together to make it convenient for your customers.

When a client wants a new website, don’t just stop at coding. Offer other related services such as logo, graphics content and SEO services.

Your cross-selling efforts should focus on meeting the customer’s needs and not just about pushing for additional products and service charges. You must see to it that the additional purchase from your customers gives them added value.

You might need to do some experimentation in order to find just the right balance. This is normal as you are still learning the ropes of proper cross-selling. Always keep in mind that when cross-selling genuinely benefits your customers it will give you better results.


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