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Better Business Idea #43

Upsell Your Customers To Increase Your Profits

© 2000 by Michael C. Gray

November 29, 2000


We had been on our Scenic Europe tour for a few days. The tour group was bonding, making friendships. We had also come to like and depend on our tour guide, John Evans. Everyone was in high spirits after seeing the white cliffs of Dover, enjoying a Rhine cruise, and seeing the cathedral in Köln, Germany.

John made an announcement. "As we have been traveling, I have been designing a series of side trips especially for you. They include a serenaded gondola ride in Venice, a dinner out with a visit to the Trevi fountain in Rome, a trip to Versailles outside Paris, and several other activities. In order to go ahead with these side trips, we need at least 20 people to participate. (There were 26 people in our tour group.) The additional investment is just $421 per person. If we do go ahead with the side trips, those who don't participate will have some free time in each destination. I'll be checking with you to see if you want to participate."

Do I need to tell you that every person in our tour group signed up for the "package" of side tours?

The hardest sale you will ever make to a customer is the first one. With the first sale, if you deliver on your promise to the customer, you establish a mutually-beneficial relationship. The customer gets what he or she wants, and you get what you want. Also, once you have received a "yes" commitment from a customer, it's easier to continue the positive pattern of continued "yeses". The customer finds it hard to break the affirmative sequence.

When you have bought a car, did you noticed the sequence of the sale? First, the salesperson confirms your interest in a particular car. Then you commit to an initial price/trade in difference or payment offer. Once the price/trade in and payment are agreed to, a sequence of upgrades are offered, including undercoating, insurance, and finally an extended service warranty.

How can you apply this concept to your business? Are there additional complimentary products or services you can offer for the convenience and benefit of your customers? Can you engineer your sales process to make it easy for them to choose to take advantage of them, once the initial purchase is made? If you already upsell your customers, have you neglected thinking about how you can expand this concept and sell them even more?

Here is your homework assignment for this month to build a better business. Brainstorm with your team members about how to apply, improve and expand upselling in your business.

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Don't stop at selling your customers one product! Upsell them the deluxe edition or accessories.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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