Demystifying Upselling vs. Cross-Selling: Tips on the Art of Selling More

Upselling and cross-selling aren't just fancy buzzwords – they're powerful tools that ultimately strengthen your bottom line

Demystifying Upselling vs. Cross-Selling Tips on the Art of Selling More - CX Today News

Published: February 16, 2024

Anwesha Roy - UC Today

Anwesha Roy

Knowing the difference between upselling and cross-selling can help you use these tools of your trade – and achieve the best possible outcomes from an interaction.

What is Upselling? Explained with Examples

Upselling is defined as the process of offering customers an upgraded or more expensive version of a product or service they are already interested in.

For example, imagine a customer is calling their internet service provider because the current plan isn’t meeting their needs anymore. The agent might suggest upgrading to a high speed band or package, which could enhance their online experience.

Another example could be when shopping online for electronics and the website recommends adding extended warranty coverage at checkout. This will not only protect the customer’s purchase but will also guarantee peace of mind.

What is Cross-Selling? Explained with Examples

Cross-selling is defined as the practice of offering customers additional products or services that complement their initial purchase. It involves suggesting related items that could potentially enhance the value or functionality of the original product.

Let’s say a customer calls in to purchase a new smartphone. As a skilled agent, you might seize this opportunity to recommend compatible accessories like phone cases, screen protectors, or even wireless earbuds. By doing so, you not only increase your chances of making an additional sale but also help the customer maximize their delight with the product and use of their new device.

Another example where cross-selling can come into play is during car rentals. If someone connects with your contact center to book a rental car for a vacation, you might suggest add-ons such as GPS devices or child seats for added convenience and safety.

3 Differences Between Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling and cross-selling may seem alike at first glance, but there are some key differences between the two techniques.

1. The objective of upselling vs. cross-selling

The core objective of upselling is to encourage customers to purchase a higher-end product or service. On the other hand, cross-selling aims to offer complementary products or services that can enhance the customer’s overall experience. The goal here is not necessarily about getting customers to spend more but rather providing them with additional options.

2. The difference between upselling and cross-selling techniques

In terms of technique, upselling often involves highlighting the benefits and features of higher-priced options while emphasizing their value for achieving specific goals or needs. This relies more on the agent’s skills of persuasion. In contrast, cross-selling requires identifying related products or services that enhance the customer’s experience without asking them to completely change tracks. It relies heavily on the agent’s product knowledge.

3. The customer’s intent in upselling vs. cross-selling

In upselling, the customer’s intent may be focused on upgrading their current purchase or getting a better version of a product they already have. On the other hand, in cross-selling scenarios, the customer’s intent is centered around complementing their initial purchase with related items that enhance its value or functionality.

Upselling and Cross-Selling Best Practices

To master these techniques, contact center agents need to:

1. Practice active listening to understand the customer’s goals and desires

Active listening involves more than just nodding your head and taking notes. It requires full engagement with the customer, both verbally and non-verbally. By paying close attention to their words, tone of voice, and body language – if it’s a face-to-face interaction –  you can gain valuable insights into what they really want.

2. Grow your perception skills to read between the lines

It’s not always enough to just listen to what the customer is saying; sometimes, you need to pick up on cues and understand what they’re really asking for. They might mention a problem they’re facing or ask about a specific product or service, but there could be underlying motivations or preferences that they haven’t verbalized. To be able to effectively cross-sell or upsell, agents need to tap into their perception and empathetic skills.

3. Answer a customer problem instead of trying to sell more

By addressing the customer’s problem first, you show that you genuinely care about their needs and are focused on finding a solution that meets those needs. This builds trust and rapport with the customer, making them more receptive to any additional offers or recommendations you may have.

4. Make sure your timing and context are on point

It’s not just about making the offer, but also about choosing the right moment to present it.

Imagine this scenario: you’re on a call with a customer who is already frustrated because their issue hasn’t been resolved yet. This is not the ideal time to pitch them additional products or services!

Context is equally important as timing. Consider factors like the customer’s previous purchase history, preferences, and any relevant information gathered during previous interactions. This will help you personalize your recommendations and increase your chances of success.

5. Appreciate the customer after you’ve made the sale

After successfully upselling or cross-selling to a customer, it’s important for contact center agents to show appreciation and gratitude. This not only helps in building a strong relationship with the customer but also increases the chances of them coming back for future purchases.

By incorporating these best practices into your service approach, you can:

  • Increase revenue
  • Enhance customer satisfaction
  • Improve customer retention
  • Drive product awareness
  • Strengthen relationships

That’s why cross-selling and upselling are such critical business (or brand) expansion levers for any contact center.

CCaaSUser ExperienceWorkforce Optimization

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