Retail Sales Tips: How to Upsell and Increase Conversions

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We’ve all had to deal with that overzealous salesperson. You know, the one that just won’t stop pushing you to buy, even when you’ve clearly told them you’re not interested. When you have a salesperson like that, it sends you running out the door the second they stop talking.

The problem here is that upper management is pushing their salespeople to sell more products. They have a quota to meet and if they don’t meet it, their jobs are in jeopardy. However, there is a way to meet this quota without making customers feel harassed into spending their hard-earned money. This method is referred to as ‘upselling’. You can upsell by offering a customer similar services and products and increase the dollar value of each sale in ways that are tolerable to the customer but yield tangible benefits to the business. In order to upsell properly you must be patient, resilient, and able to correctly read social cues. 

The Difference Between Upselling and Cross-Selling

Let’s start with cross-selling. Cross-selling is recommending a product that is like the ones already in a customer’s basket. An example is recommending a fashionable belt to go with the A-line dress your customer wants to purchase. Upselling, however, is offering the customer the option to buy the more expensive version of an item they have in their basket. An example of this is offering to upgrade a customer’s item. 

There is a time and place for everything, and cross-selling and upselling are no exception. Always try to provide value to the shopper. A customer will not be interested in a product that has no value to them, so it is important to highlight the value of the product you are trying to cross-sell. 

Is This Product Beneficial? 

There will always be an add-on item that compliments the product already in the shoppers’ cart. However, this add-on item isn’t always going to benefit the customer. Let’s consider that dress mentioned earlier. Yes, that belt would be a great accessory, but if the customer already has a similar belt at home, it’s likely to not be beneficial. Be sure to have a conversation with your customer before trying to cross-sell items, to make sure that you are truly benefitting the customer to the best of your ability, and not undermining yourself by coming across as pushy or insincere.

Show the Customers the Value in Their Purchase

Be sure to demonstrate the features of the product to the customer or even better, let them try it out for themselves. If you are selling an item where this is not possible, try to point out to the customer all the ways the item could benefit them.

Most of the time, you don’t have to physically show the customer the value in their purchase. Rather, you can entice them to use the power of imagination to visualize why they need this product by telling them real life stories about the product you are selling.  

For example, appliance stores can cross-sell insurance and extended warranties by outlining a situation where the insurance or warranty would be useful. By simply giving your customer an example of a situation where the insurance or warranty can be useful, you can make them see why they absolutely need that additional product or service. Retailers should also consider their own insurance options.

The Importance of Tone of Voice and Presentation

We all know that conversation with the customer is an important aspect of retail sales. It takes you from salesperson to friend or trusted source of practical information. A good way to get your shopper talking is by asking some open-ended questions. Truly listen to your customers answer, because in it may lie an opportunity to make a sale.

A good tactic that a retail store can implement, for example, is making the item you’re trying to cross-sell a standard add-on, and not an addition. If the customer perceives that the item will be taken away instead of added on to their purchase, then they will be more likely to purchase it.

Help Them Remember “The Good Old Days”

It’s no secret that most shoppers buy out of emotion and not logic. Emotional experiences stick to the brain longer than logical ones. Nostalgia and greed are key emotions salespeople can play off in order to make a sale. By making the customer feel nostalgic you entice them to value money less which means they are likely to spend more. This will be different based on the products you’re selling and your targeted demographic, so be sure to experiment and think about what would likely appeal to them. Give them a reason to step into your store and make a purchase. 

The Power of Touch

When you can physically hold and item in your hands it makes it easier to imagine owning it. A customer is more likely to purchase a product if you let them hold it. The longer the customer holds the product, the more they will be willing to spend on it. Try not to subscribe to the ‘you break it you buy it’ mentality. 

It’s vital to make your customer see, hear, and feel how much they need the product. Try to get into the mind of your shopper and figure out what they need and then make your sale.