Why aren’t you cross-selling?

Cross-selling has been shown to have significant impacts on sales and profits.

Businesses can increase sales by up to 20% and profits by up to 30% through cross-selling.

🗣 McKinsey

Invespo also found that personalised cross-sells, despite making up only 7% of website visits, can account for as much as 26% of revenue.

Don’t be shy. Cross-selling is a trove of revenue waiting for you to open a new source of income for your business.

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a sales strategy centred around offering customers additional or complementary products or services as well as what they are currently purchasing.

The idea is to persuade customers to buy more items that will not only generate revenue, but also increase the customer’s satisfaction with their purchase.

Unlike upselling, which encourages customers to upgrade to a higher-priced or more premium product or service, cross-selling involves suggesting products or services that enhance the customer's current purchase.

For example, good suggestions to a customer purchasing a laptop would be purchasing a laptop case, a mouse, or a warranty plan.

By suggesting additional items that just work with the customer's purchase, you can boost your business’s average order value and encourage repeat purchases. Additionally, cross-selling can provide customers with a more complete experience with their purchased product, ultimately enhancing their overall satisfaction.

Pros and cons of cross-selling

Cross-selling comes with its own challenges to consider alongside the positives. Below, we have detailed the main pros and cons of implementing cross-selling into your business…

Pros of cross-selling

Increased revenue.  Cross-selling increases revenue by encouraging customers to purchase additional products or services, ultimately boosting average order value.

Improved customer experience. Suggesting complementary products can enhance the customer's overall experience by providing a complete solution.

Enhanced customer loyalty. By offering relevant suggestions, businesses can establish trust and loyalty with customers, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Cons of cross-selling

You might annoy your customers. If cross-selling is implemented poorly or sales reps are being too pushy, you’ll turn customers off and damage the overall customer experience.

Inappropriate product suggestions. If your salespeople suggest irrelevant or unwanted products, your customers are left frustrated and confused. Trust and loyalty will be undermined which is precisely the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.

Reduced focus on initial sales. If salespeople focus too much on cross-selling, they may neglect other important aspects of the sales process, such as building rapport with the customer or addressing their needs and concerns.

How to identify a cross-selling opportunity

It’s crucial to cross-sell to the right customers. If a customer does not need a cross-sell, they will view your offer as pushy, affecting your relationship negatively.

Therefore it is essential to be able to identify the right person, and the right time to cross-sell.

Sid Khaitan recommends you “utilise your CRM to gather relevant data on customers. Specifically, you should look at factors such as the products they are using, their level of adoption, and the number of licences and users they currently have…

Furthermore, you should assess the risk of customer churn, to identify potential areas where customer retention strategies could be optimised.”

How to reduce customer churn: 9 CRM strategies
In this article, we explore the concepts of customer retention and customer churn, discuss why customers churn, and explain how to prevent churn with a well-implemented CRM system.

How to create a successful cross-selling strategy

You might be wondering what exactly goes into a successful cross-selling strategy. This list features five best practices to keep in mind when crafting a cross-sell.

Empathise with your customer's needs and preferences

Before you even think about attempting to cross-sell, you must develop a deep understanding of your customer's needs and preferences. Analyse the following...

  • Purchase history
  • Behaviour
  • Demographic data

What we’re looking for in this data are any potential gaps that you could offer a solution to.

All of this data can be found in your CRM on their customer cards.

Additionally, don’t forget to check your timeline in the customer card in your CRM. It holds logs of previous conversations. The notes from the timeline section can provide insights that you might otherwise have missed.

Example of a customer card in NetHunt CRM
Example of a customer card in NetHunt CRM

Pick the right products to cross-sell

Cross-selling works best when the offered products complement the original purchase.

For example, if a customer is looking to purchase project management software, a resource allocation add-on would be a perfect fit for cross-selling. By offering complementary products, you can increase the perceived value of the original purchase and make it more likely that the customer buys again in the future.

As Sid Khaitan put it…

“To expand your product offerings and reach a broader audience, it is recommended that you introduce complementary products and integrate them into a complementary "solution" when paired with your flagship product.

Additionally, you should consider pricing these additional products as an add-on to convey the value proposition of this cross-selling approach effectively.

It is also essential to collaborate closely with your customer success and account managers to ensure the benefits are communicated to the customer clearly and concisely.”

Customer Success Management vs Account Management
What does an account manager do? Does the account manager have the same responsibilities as customer success managers? Does your business need both? Find out in this article.

Make sure your recommendations are personalised

Don't just offer a generic product recommendation.

Generic recommendations suck.

Instead, use information you collected about the customer to craft a personalised recommendation.

For example, if a customer has a history of buying high-end electronics, it would be great to recommend a premium set of headphones for their new smartphone.

Here’s what Will Yang, Head of Growth and Customer Success at Instrumentl, had to say about crafting personalised offerings for customers…

“​​It's important to remember that every customer is different and has different expectations from your business. If you don't take time to understand those differences and address them when trying to sell additional products – you'll lose money!”

Use social proof to improve trust

Social proof is king in sales. Customers are more likely to buy products they see others have succeeded with.

Use social proof such as…

  • Customer reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Awards and badges
  • Industry certifications
  • User-generated content

You can also check out our article on how to use social proof to boost sales, where we really get into how to sell better with its help.

If you don’t have any social proof to provide, you can use the tips we give in our social proof article, where we tell you how to generate more social proof.

Don't be too pushy

While cross-selling can be effective, it's essential not to be too pushy or aggressive. Customers who feel like you're trying to upsell them too hard may resist future offers.

Imagine a customer is interested in purchasing a new VoIP client. The salesperson tries to push additional add-ons such as email marketing software without considering the customer's actual needs or preferences. The customer may feel pressured and uncomfortable, leading them to leave the purchase altogether.

Instead, make your recommendations friendly and helpful. Let the customer decide.

No matter which way of selling to the customer, it is essential always to put thought into your offering and how you present it to the customer.

In order not to look pushy, you must pay attention to…

  • Avoid high-pressure tactics, such as creating false urgency or making unrealistic promises.
  • Offer options; don’t craft your cross-sell offering around a single complementary product, Have multiple options at the ready for your customer.
  • Don’t oversell. Instead of having a million options available for your customer, it’s better to have a few well-crafted options

Dos and do nots of cross-selling

Now that you’re almost an expert on upselling, it's time we hit the final cross-selling nail on its head and give you what you need to cross-sell like the best of the best. Below are the dos and don'ts that are gospel when it comes to cross-selling to your customers…

Cross-selling dos

Empathise with your customer

Before attempting to cross-sell, it's essential to understand the challenges your customer is facing, and the goals they wish to achieve with your product. By doing so, you can identify opportunities where your additional products or services could provide value and solve their problems.

Personalise your recommendations

When suggesting additional products or services, ensure your recommendations are finely tailored to the customer's needs and preferences.

Provide an incentive

Providing incentives, such as discounts or free trials, encourages customers to take that final step and try out additional products or services. This is especially effective if the product you’re trying to cross-sell has been launched recently.

Cross-selling don'ts

Don’t oversell

Pushing too hard for a cross-sell can be off-putting and damage the customer's trust in your company, which is obviously not a good thing. Avoid bombarding customers with irrelevant or excessive recommendations.

Never ignore objections

If a customer hesitates or is unwilling to pursue a cross-sell, it's essential to listen to their concerns and not dismiss them. Address their objections and build trust, strengthening your relationship with the customer.

11 types of sales objections and 34 ready-made responses
We’ve put together 11 of the most common sales objections salespeople face, and 34 preferred responses to them. Check it!

Don’t forget to follow up

Once a cross-sell has been made, following up with the customer is essential to ensure they are satisfied and continue receiving value from your products or services. Neglecting follow-ups can result in missed opportunities for further sales and customer retention.

Following up also shows your customers that you care for them, which helps build rapport and strengthen your business relationship.

The 10 common mistakes in follow-up emails
Dive in to find out the most common mistakes made by salespeople and marketers in writing follow-up emails.

We hope that the tips and strategies we have shared will help you to boost your sales and increase customer satisfaction.

Remember, the key to successful cross-selling is to focus on the needs and preferences of your customers. By understanding their unique needs and providing them with personalised recommendations, you can create a positive shopping experience that encourages them to return to your business repeatedly.

So, don't be afraid to get creative with your cross-selling efforts. Think outside the box, experiment with different strategies, and above all, enjoy the process! After all, the more your customers enjoy shopping with you, the more likely they will recommend your business to their friends and family.

And if you're still not convinced that cross-selling is worth the effort, just remember this old joke: Why did the tomato turn red? Because it saw the salad dressing!

In other words, when you offer your customers complementary products or services that they truly need and want, you'll be amazed at how quickly your revenue can grow.

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