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7 Successful Cross-Selling and Upselling Techniques for All CSRs

Customer service reps often do a great job providing solutions and resolving conflict, but often there is a golden opportunity to also boost sales if they know the best cross-selling and upselling techniques. Cross-selling promotes additional, related items or services the customer might want or need, whereas upselling encourages them to purchase a more expensive version of the product or service they have in mind.

Utilized properly, the following “suggestive selling” techniques have the ability to not only increase sales and profitability, but potentially boost overall customer experience because they are personalized and overtly helpful. This, in turn,  builds trust and loyalty in the company and your customer support team.

Proven Cross-Selling and Upselling Techniques

Here are seven of the most successful cross-selling and upselling techniques for CSRs.

  1. Relevance is critical. “Shot-gunning” a customer by running through a long list of potential extras is practically never effective. In fact, it can often be counter-productive. The customer cannot focus — and does not want to, since most of the list is of no interest to them. Instead, try matching suggestions to the customer’s desires or needs, then selling the value. Customers are happy to buy more items or a more expensive product if they can see how they will benefit.

    For example, say the customer wants to buy some fitness equipment. There are multiple accessories that could be added to create an entire system, but which will appeal to this customer? By asking probing questions, the CSR can zero in on the right recommendation: “Are you looking for overall conditioning, or a good cardio workout, or to strengthen certain muscle groups?” Maybe the customer wants to rehab a shoulder. But, now that he thinks about it, he could make a purchase that addresses more of his goals. FYI, there are many software options that will help your team by generating automatic cross-sell opportunities while providing the scripts to help the CSR through the process.

  2. Do not go overboard. While the goal is to encourage customers to spend more, suggesting add-ons or a vastly more expensive product can scare the customer off. Reasonable increases feel more doable to customers, so a good rule of thumb is not to recommend anything that would be more than 25% higher than their original purchase.

  3. Timing is everything. Selling extra items or upgrades can only be successful once the CSR understands the customer’s initial need or desire, and the process is smoother when the repoire is solid. At that point, offering options to enhance the customer’s purchase makes sense and gets their attention. This can also work to transform an unhappy customer’s call about a return into a positive buying experience when the CSR recommends a more desirable alternative.

  4. Train CSRs, and role-play, role-play, role-play. Successful cross-selling and upselling require extensive product knowledge but also well-honed skills in appropriate questioning and active listening to discern customer needs and goals. These techniques also require CSRs to go “off script,” since every situation is unique. Practicing and role-playing a variety of possible scenarios will make them comfortable to speak with customers naturally.

  5. Use third-party references to build credibility. Nowadays, most customers actively look for ratings and reviews before making a purchase. CSRs can take advantage of the desire for independent verification by quoting testimonials from industry experts, product ratings, research, or other relevant sources that confirm product quality or usefulness.

  6. Give CSRs tools to incentivize customers. Bundling products or services, special discounts or limited-time offers can all help clinch the deal when CSRs are working to cross-sell or upsell.

  7. Offer incentives for CSRs. Cross-selling and upselling are so valuable that it is well worth the effort to specifically reward CSRs for their successes. It does not have to be significant, but something that recognizes the effort and the success goes a long way toward motivating and retaining quality personnel.

Putting these tips into practice benefits everyone. Well-trained customer service reps can seamlessly blend cross-selling and upselling techniques into everyday customer conversations to increase sales, profitability, and customer loyalty.

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