Restaurants do it beautifully. “Did you leave any room for dessert or coffee?”

At least one car rental company that I know does it obnoxiously. “Do you want insurance, gas, a GPS, or a toddler seat? Who will be responsible for the car if something happens to it? Oh, by the way, it’s extra now for the steering wheel. And if you want it to go in reverse from 4PM to 5PM, that’s an extra charge, too.” It’s actually not that bad, but by the time that they’re finished I feel horrified about the possible dangers I face by driving their car. It’s truly a guilt trip if you don’t sign for the extras.

The All-Important Upsell

How does your company rate when it comes to the all-important upsell? Is it smooth like a restaurant server who smiles while he or she delivers her line? Or could it be improved? Do you badger your clients or do you offer them something that you know that they need?

While you don’t want to anger your current customer, you do want to fully serve their needs in a way that helps them and boosts your revenue. Here are five tips to perfect and track the all-important upsell.

1. Make sure you are upselling

Once people have chosen to do business with you, you have their trust. They’ll want to know what else you have to offer. Sometimes we may feel like we’re annoying the client, but it’s really cheating our clients not to let them know what else we can help them with. Why should they go somewhere else for something that you provide well?

Don’t be afraid to add upselling to your communications in a number of places. If you don’t upsell, you’re leaving precious money on the table, and most of all, you’re under-serving your clients. A small percentage of your customers will always purchase what you suggest, and most of them actually do need your add-on product, or service.

2. Get the timing right

Add an upsell option immediately after a prospect has landed in your funnel. For example, if they signed up for your free newsletter, offer them your entry product or service on the landing page, your Thank You page, or in your first welcome email to them.

If your product or service is relatively small in dollars, add an upsell option immediately after any small purchases. Do this right after the shopping cart has processed their order. Some carts have an automatic feature built in to do this; all you have to do is select the product you think the buyer would like.

Don’t upsell right after they’ve agreed on a large proposal, but do upsell at the end of that engagement.

If you meet a client periodically, such as monthly or quarterly, always schedule the next appointment before you leave if possible. This is one that I had to learn the hard way. I wouldn’t schedule the next appointment because I thought that the client would contact me. Meanwhile they were waiting for me to check on them; and they didn’t think that I cared because I wasn’t checking on them. It’s always better to schedule for the next visit-it can always be changed if the date doesn’t work.

3. Get the product right

Gradually move your client up in price. If they purchase something for $100, offer them something for $500, but not all the way to $5,000. However, if they invest in a $5,000 contract with you this year, they might be ready for a $10,000 service next year. Package your services together to create an upsell. I have a number of products that some clients like to request one by one. Others would like to have all of them at the same time. I group them together at a reduced price and my clients love me for it.

4. Use the right language

Never put your customer in a position where they feel forced to make a decision or feel wrong for not taking the service, as with the rental car. (Try your upsell line on your spouse or friend before you try it on a prospect to be sure that it is a good offer.) Use language that is benefit-focused when you explain the options, and always let them know that you appreciate their business and that the decision is theirs to make.

5. Package your offerings right in the first place

Services that should be included in your base price should be included in your base price. Don’t confuse upselling with what should have been in your package in the first place. That’s how many clients and customers feel cheated during upsells. For good clients, I sometimes will even include an item as a gift; AND, I make sure that I show it on the invoice with a No Charge – Gift designation. Make sure that people know that you are giving more than you’re contracted for.

Tracking the Upsell

There are a couple of ways you can track your upsell results. If you offer every client who bought “x” the “y” product, you can compute a conversion ratio based on your sales of x and y, assuming you keep them in separate buckets in your accounting system. You can do that for every upsell you have at the service-line or product-line level.

Another more general way to track upsells is to compute revenue per client on a monthly basis and see if it’s on the upswing. If you need help calculating either of these methods or setting up your services and products correctly to create the upsell tracking you want, please let us know how we can help.

Upselling is a vital part of every business. Fine-tune your processes with these tips and watch your sales increase and your clients become better served and more loyal. They will love you for it just like we love our French fries with our burger!