De-mystifying cross-selling, up-selling & incremental selling:


While cross-selling, up-selling, incremental selling all may sound like mumbo jumbo, it is all pretty straight forward and an essential part of your proposal to your customer.    Some of the verbiage of sales is, I think, what puts off non-sales people and it stops them getting to grips with what are perfectly legitimate functions within persuasive, ethical salesmanship.  Not only that, they are important to look at as, for most businesses, they are the way to hugely increasing your profits.


Cross selling is when you sell additional products.  Who has not been into a high street white goods or electronics chain and found themselves walking out with more than one purchase.  You are cajoled into buying the additional warranties, and extras from batteries to additional leads, games, packages.   Selling like this makes sense, which is why it works so effectively.   You have a customer already at the point of sale, who already has trust in you and the product, and clearly has the desire.  All it takes is a few, common sense based suggestions of associated, useful products, for the customer to add these to their purchase.  More often than not, it is these extras which have really high profit margins.


Upselling is selling something more expensive than the original item requested or proposed.   People often confuse it with cross-selling because it can rely on having an add-on of some sort.  Holiday companies are particularly adept at this using clever, on-line marketing.  You set out to look for a standard room in a reasonable hotel.  Before long, you are drooling over a much reduced, luxury room in a far more expensive hotel.  Your resistance to spending the additional money than you originally planned for a “better deal”  is minimal.   You probably enjoy your trip more that you would have done, so the result is not only the increased value of sale but customer loyalty founded in appreciation for that deal.  Win: win.


Incremental sales are an advanced version of both of these.    Incremental is actually an accounting term that has been adopted into sales.  Your incremental sales are the additional sales you make through special offers that you would not have made without the offer.   Amazon are masters at incremental sales.  If you look at details of a book on amazon, for example, you will see an offer price with another one or more books “usually bought together”.    It is when you link the purchase of two or three products together and give a discount to anyone who buys both.   For the seller, there are often savings to be made in negotiating with suppliers in the same way, so the cost is minimal or non-existent.


You can use incremental sales as a useful tool in developing your ongoing sales relationships.   If you weave it into your marketing and contact your premier customers first with special, incremental sales, offers, you can make this something you offer only a privileged few.   This makes the customer feel treasured and indebted to you.  They feel the offer is so special they have to buy it.


Incremental sales have another use.  We often carry old stock or services that are not selling as well as they should.     By teaming these up with a best seller in an incremental sale, your sale of both get carried through    You can add that magical word “exclusive” to the combination.   Offering things that are exclusive immediately adds to value.  If you can add a poor seller to a single exclusive product, even better yet.   The customer will want that exclusive product and need to buy it from you and, once again, be in absolutely the most receptive place to buy more.  Getting rid of old, semi-dead stock is excellent for cash flow and the combined sale brilliant for profits.   Incremental sales are not restricted to retailing. You can use them in your presentations of your proposition, making them such a special deal that the buyer will not be able to resist.


So in summary:   there are lots of ways of selling more to existing customers.  And those sales are the easiest as the customer is ready to buy and the most profitable in that you sell more for less.  In addition, they can be used for marketing, more successful selling and building customer loyalty.  Pretty good news !

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