Develop Your Customer Relationships While Increasing Your Profits

Updated: May 27, 2010

Unless your company sells only one isolated product, chances are you have other options to offer your current customer, be it another product or a complimentary service, or perhaps an upgraded version of what they have just purchased. These concepts are referred to as up-selling and cross-selling. Up-selling refers to offering customers a product/service in addition to what they are currently purchasing usually at a discounted rate. Cross-selling refers to selling items that are related or complimentary.

Sales cycles vary in length tremendously between and within industries, but regardless of how long you have spent establishing a relationship with your customer, you need to keep building on that relationship and consider that all your current customers are also potential future customers.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the quality of your customer service no longer matters for that customer once you have closed a sale. Current customers are very good sources for future business especially if you have done your job with stellar customer service and made their purchasing experience a pleasant one. Current customers are more likely to become repeat customers if their perception of your customer service is a positive one. These same current customers also make a great referral service for your brand in the form of word-of-mouth advertising; if they like your product or service; they will share their experience and opinions with others.

The concept of an up-sell is a common technique used by successful sales people. It appeals to the part of our brain that is attracted to getting a great "deal". Another way to describe up-selling is to get your customers to spend more money than they had originally intended to spend.

How many times have you walked into a fast food restaurant and NOT been asked if you would like to "supersize" your order? The fast food restaurants get it and benefit often with increased sales.

Another good example of up-selling is often seen in the automobile industry. When you purchase a car, you and your sales representative sit down and go over all the options available on your product. Even if you hadn't planned on getting a built-in Bluetooth, you might decide to include it in your package when the sales person suggests it and points out that it is only a nominal additional monthly expense. Or how about those buy two get one free deals? You might really only need one but look at all the money you save if you buy two! While utilizing up-selling techniques in your own business, be sure that the discount you are offering is significant enough to be perceived as valuable and worth the unintended, extra expense. If your small business offers service contracts to customers, why not offer them a discount if they take the contract for a longer period of time? We have all seen and taken advantage of these same simple up-selling techniques that work.

Don't assume that your customers are aware of all your company's offerings. It is highly likely that they are only aware of the particular product or service they are looking for. Newsletters and email blasts are a great means of cross-selling and a way to educate your current customers about other products or services your company offers that they might not be aware of.

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