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Cross-selling and up-selling are popular ways to increase your bottom line on each sale. CRM can supercharge the process by making it easier to sell more and higher margin items to your customers.
The trick, of course, is doing it right. Do it wrong and you're wasting your time and annoying the customer. This is where CRM comes in. It can make it easier to analyze the customer's wants and precisely offer the right products and services to give the maximum return on the sale and satisfaction to the customer.
At bottom, cross-selling and up-selliing is a matter of mind reading. You need to figure out what the customer's unmet needs are and meet those needs with a product or service. Fortunately this isn't as difficult as it sounds. Using the information in the CRM system and the sales conversation you can analyze what the customer needs and offer it to him or her.
The process starts with information, both on the products you offer and on the customer. A good sales person knows the product line and can see advantages it can offer. A good CRM system has information on the customer to help you divine what else the customer needs.
A successful cross-sell or up-sell involves on meeting the customer's needs. To understand those needs, it helps if the sales person can think like the customer. Based on the totality of information you have, what is the customer likely to need?
It's important not to see cross sells or up sells in terms of products. Look at them as unmet needs instead. From what your CRM system tells you about the customer and what you know about your products and services, what else does the customer need? This can be as obvious as selling a paint brush to go with a can of paint. It can also be selling interior decoration services to the person who just bought the paint. Or it can be as far afield as selling nursery furniture to someone who just bought paint to redecorate a nursery.
In addition to product knowledge, the successful cross-seller or up-seller listens to the customer to determine their wants and needs. The customer may think he or she is making casual conversation during the sale, but to the alert sales person there is no such thing. Even seemingly purposeless chat reveals more about the customer and the opportunities for an extended sale.
This is an area where the sales person's creativity comes into play. If your CRM system will give you a list of related products and services you can offer the customer, so much the better. But that list is just a starting point: You need to think outside the box as well.
Remember that selectivity is everything in cross-selling and up-selling. You don't want to bury the customer in choices, but rather zero in on offering the most likely matches.
Although we talk about cross-selling and up-selling as sales techniques it's important to realize that they require very different approaches. For it to work, it's important that the sale not be seen as pushy or high pressure. Gentle suggestion is the way to go here.
If you want a good example of cross-selling and up-selling online, look at Amazon. Every item is accompanied by a brief list of things customers who bought this item also bought. The items are down at the bottom of the page so they're not intrusive on the main item, but they are prominent enough that the customer has no trouble seeing them. The entire tone of the cross-sell or up-sell is very low key.
Cross-selling and up-selling aren't magic, but properly done they can represent a big boost in revenue per sale. Especially with CRM to help the process.
About the Author
Rick Cook has been involved with computers since the days of punched cards and magnetic drum memories. He has written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.