The Fine Art of the Upsell

Upselling is a time-honored tradition in the field of technology. In the B2C sector, customers can’t seem to make a single purchase without being bombarded with suggestions to spring for the deluxe model, or accessories, or a more robust data plan or an extended warranty. When selling in the B2B sector, you may find opportunities for upselling as well, but you need to use a gentle touch in order to preserve the integrity of your partnership with your clients.

Rather than bombarding your clients with potential upgrades and add-ons, focus on the options that would actually meet their needs. Of course, to do this, you need to know their needs. Go into each sales pitch with an idea of the general pain points of their industry, and if possible, the specific pain points of their company. Then give them the chance to tell you what they need and want. Listen. Absorb. Then come back to them with a suite of products and add-ons that meet their needs.

With each upsell that you offer, it’s important to have an explanation for why you feel that it meets the client’s needs. Don’t just say “You should upgrade to our premium support plan,” explain that because the company has around-the-clock operations, they’ll want the 24/7 dedicated support that comes with the premium plan.

Attempting an upsell can often damage the client’s trust in you, if they feel like you’re just milking them for money – especially if they’ve been burned in the past by being talked into purchases and services that didn’t actually serve their needs. You can counter this by not only pointing out the upgrades you think would benefit their company, but by dismissing the ones they don’t need. Show them that you’re working together to make sure all their needs are met, not just trying to pile on the add-ons to make a sales quota.

The most important thing is to not come on too strong. Make a clear case for the upsell, but don’t strong-arm the customer into making the purchase. Give them the option of easily upgrading later, when they realize that you were right and they do need better support, more data, or other premium services.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you upsell while maintaining a happy, healthy relationship with your clients.


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