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5 Tips to Upsell for Profit

Upselling, a sales technique where employees encourage customers to add on extra items that increases the transaction or check value.
5 Tips to Upsell for Profit

We’ve all been asked the closing questions as we conclude a purchase.  Do you need socks to go with the new sneakers?  Would you like to add a cookie to your order for only $.99?  Would you like the 3-year warranty for extended protection?

upselling.jpgThis is upselling.  Upselling is a sales technique where a sales associate, restaurant server or other employee entices the customer to purchase additional goods, services, or upgrades to increase the value of the sale.  The upsell items can be as inexpensive as a candy bar or be as costly as an expensive warranty or installation service. 

But what comes to mind when you think of the word upsell?  For many of us, it’s not positive.  It might bring up thoughts of an aggressive salesperson trying to sell us things that we don’t need or want.  While this does happen, upselling can be helpful and can nurture good customer relationships. 

Businesses of all sizes practice upselling and cross-selling to increase profit. But can you do so without compromising the relationship you have with your customer?  You don’t want to stress the relationship you’ve built, or be so aggressive that the customer cancels the order all together. There is a delicate balance that the seller has to strike in order to efficiently profit from upselling.

Successful salespeople understand the basic psychology of upselling.  Here are some tips to consider: 

  1. Think Like the Customer

Put yourself in the position of the customer.  If your salespeople can think like the customer, they can drive more revenue by conveying the benefits the customer can gain by purchasing the additional product or service with a more personal approach.  For example, let’s consider a customer buying a new 4K television.  4K TVs have become the new standard as they quadruple the picture quality compared to HD.  The upsell companion to a better picture is better sound.  The salesperson could demonstrate that all-around amazing entertainment experience that feels like they’re in the theater.  The upsell here would be a companion surround sound system.  It increases the order value for the retailer and it’s the perfect time for the customer to consider the sound system.  The salesperson might be able to offer financing options if appropriate.

  1. Timing is Everything … When to Cross-Sell

Cross-selling is another form of add-on selling where the products offered are different yet related to the product the customer is buying. Again, think like the customer.  If the customer is buying a new cell phone, for example, the salesperson could offer them a car charger or a portable power pack.  This way, the customer doesn’t run out of power while driving – for safety and practical purposes.  Another example of cross-selling might be a spa customer that would enjoy an upgraded experience with different packages and/or take the experience home with products used during their treatment.

  1. Be Positive

Upselling can be an effective customer service tool if handled as a positive suggestion. Phrase the offer in a way that benefits the customer.  If someone is buying that special toy at the holidays and your customer is not aware that ‘batteries are not included’, it would be helpful for the salesperson to point this out and ask if they need batteries.  There’s nothing worse than disappointing a child who’s thrilled with the toy that needs batteries when there are none in the house.  It’s a win-win for customer and merchant.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for the Sale

Upselling is a consultative sales technique.  Asking for the sale is often the hardest part of the job for most salespeople. They don’t want to appear “pushy” by asking for the sale. On the other hand, if a salesperson is attentive, has listened to their customer and has asked the right questions, they can suggest the right product or companion product to go the extra mile and upsell positively. In a table service restaurant, upselling has become a commonplace and accepted form of business.  You can truly enhance your customer’s dining experience by offering them house-made guacamole with their chips or a suggesting a specific wine to go with their meal choice. 

  1. The Bottom Line

While upselling may be a sales tactic, it’s not something to be feared or avoided.  If you think like your customer, pay attention to timing, be positive and ask for the sale, it can be a win-win for you and your customer.  Your customer can leave with additional products or services that they do actually want or need.  You increase your sales while building long lasting relationships with customers by delivering more value.


Agilence has the solutions to help you increase profits, drive efficiencies and improve margins.  Through the 20/20 Data Analytics™ platform, you can monitor and receive alerts to take advantage of upselling opportunities by salesperson or location. Our 20/20 suite for retail and restaurants can report on all cashiers that have used upselling techniques to sell more products and services. This analysis allows business owners and operators to recognize those that are performing above the norm and those that are performing below the rest.  Prescriptive alerts drive awareness for sales opportunities by closely monitoring, identifying, and recognizing the people and promotions that make a difference.

 Searching for even the positive patterns can be a tedious, time consuming job; 20/20 makes it easy. 20/20 allows you to manage POS activities, scheduling, overtime budgets, employee performance and much more. So instead of wondering if upselling programs can work for you, plan smarter with 20/20 Retail™ and 20/20 Restaurant™.

 Want to increase profits by upselling and cross-selling? Give us a call and we’ll show you the way.

Data Drive Retail Transformation 

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