According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. That is why you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to get more from relationships that have already been established. Upselling increases total orders, boosts conversion rates, helps in cross-selling to customers and increases overall customer satisfaction. Up-selling requires less effort than selling to a new customer and offers greater returns, when done correctly.

Upselling sounds like an easy job. The customer has just made a purchase. He is happy and pleased with himself, and both of you are on great terms. What can go wrong? Well, our experience says – many things. Here are some of them:

You don’t wait till the sale is actually over

If you try to upsell before the customer makes his primary purchase, he might feel you are being pushy. But if you wait, you come across as making a relevant recommendation and offering him a more enhanced experience.


You don’t sound casual enough about the upsell

The upsell can never be a hard sell. It has to sound spontaneous and friendly.

“Would you like a scarf to go with the tube top?”

“How about a dessert after your burger?”

The upsell works better when the customer feels no pressure, and perceives he is in control of the situation. It is also important that you do not overload the customer with too many choices. Give him few, but highly relevant options, and explain the value addition clearly. Above all, make it seem natural.



The item’s price you are upselling does not suit the primary purchase’s price

The item you are upselling has to be priced at a small percentage of the original purchase. A $20 add-on a $200 purchase sounds fine, but you will probably not have a lot of success upselling a $100 add-on on the same purchase.

The customer should not feel like he is making another big purchase. Instead, he should be able to feel the extra value that this small additional investment can bring in.


You missed out on bundling products before the purchase

Bundling is an effective form of upselling. If you are selling an enterprise server, you could bundle a firewall and an antivirus software along with it – and price it such that the price of the bundle is lesser than the sum of individual parts.

Technically, it is not an upsell as you are not pitching to an existing customer – but it creates an impression of higher value in the mind of the customer, and generally sees a higher conversion rate.


The name of the game is “value”

The secret to making a successful upsell is to make the customer realise the value of the offering. He needs to see extra value coming in with the extra cost he is going to bear.


If you turn the dial a bit too much, or if he does not see this value, he will perceive your offer as annoying. It might even spoil your existing relationship with him.

Use upselling with care and make it one of the most powerful tools to increase revenue. We’d love to know the techniques you use for successful upsells, in the comments section below.

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