How to sell more to existing customers

If growth is your primary business goal, it’s proven to be much easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. According to research by Marketing Metrics on customer loyalty, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the likelihood you’ll sell to a new prospect is just 5% to 20%.

Some entrepreneurs use the terms “upselling” and “cross-selling” interchangeably, but there is a difference. Here we summarise how to generate more income by working these two sales strategies.

Effective cross-selling tips

Cross-selling is simply inviting your customers to buy a secondary item that naturally bundles with a product they’re already purchasing. You’ll get the best results with cross-selling when a complementary item is offered at a much lower price point.

For example, let’s say your customer is interested in buying a printer. Asking if they already have printer paper at home is easy cross-selling. Rather than being perceived as pushy, it’s good customer service to ask your customer if they have everything they need.

You’ll make it even easier for your customers to buy more from you by offering a discount when they purchase two items at the same time. Saving 10% on printer paper with a printer purchase is an offer plenty of customers will find hard to refuse.

Tips for successful upselling

When you upsell to a customer, you’re asking them to consider a higher-priced upgrade during a sales transaction. Think of an upsell as a recommendation: you’re endorsing the best version of a product or service your customer is already planning to buy.

It’s usually much easier to upsell a customer than to cross-sell. Paying more for the premier option is a smaller stretch for a customer than deciding to buy something extra that wasn’t initially part of the plan.

Whenever you’re telling your customers about a product’s features, suggest the benefits of the premier option. Even if they decide not to buy at the highest price point now, they might keep it in mind for next time.

Upselling often happens naturally in sales when the focus is on the product that would best meet your customer’s needs, rather than starting on price. Explain the differences between two or three options, providing all the information your customers need to make the best choice to meet their needs.

Final tips

As you integrate upselling and cross-selling into your sales strategy, always keep your ideal customers and their needs at top of your mind. By being knowledgeable about the problems your customers most want to solve and being able to provide honest, helpful advice your customers will grow to trust you and your recommendations.

Over time you won’t have to think about upselling or cross-selling. They simply become a natural part of any sales conversation when you stay a step ahead of your customers, being able to offer the perfect recommendation for what they need, whenever they need it.

If you would like further advice on growing your business, please contact our Business Services team on 01903 234094.