What Is Cross-Selling and Why Should My Business Use It?

Cross-selling example - cufflinks, tie and watch.

If you are a business that sells products or services (that’s right, I’m referring to pretty-much every single business on earth here) then you really should spend a few moments to consider cross-selling.

In this post, we take you through a summary of cross-selling and why it matters. In summary, we discuss the following:

  • What is cross-selling?
  • Why should my business use it?
  • What are the benefits of cross-selling?
  • What should I look out for?
  • What is the right way to cross-sell?

Read on below.

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What is Cross Selling?

You’ve most likely heard of cross-selling before and you may well be familiar with it in your own business. Just to recall, the Oxford Dictionary definition is:

Selling (a different product or service) to an existing customer.

Examples include your grocery store putting corn chips and salsa on the same shelf as each other. Or your camera store suggesting you consider a bag plus batteries and various lenses when you purchase that new digital camera body. Or your giant online retailer giving you suggestions about other complementary items that are frequently bought together when you are viewing a specific product.

The key word here is ‘complementary’.

We’re not talking about ‘up-selling’ i.e. inducing the customer to buy more of the same product or a higher quality version of the same product. With cross-selling, we’re focussed on providing additional products/services that work well together with the current item the customer is buying.

#crossselling is like 'needing' new shoes for a dress. Some things are meant to be together! Click To Tweet

Why Should My Business Use It?

  • You will have a simple, polite and non-intrusive way to entice your customers to purchase more from you each time they are actively buying.
  • It requires far less effort to get your active customers to buy additional items from you than it does to find new customers and convince them to buy in the first place.
  • Your customers’ opinion of you improves as you become a helpful, knowledgeable and well-resourced supplier.
  • The bottom line is… you can increase your sales revenue.

Cross-selling works just as well for service businesses as it does for product businesses. The underlying principle is that you make suggestions and offers to your customers to enhance and improve the value they will get from their current purchasing decision.

By being an informative guide, you really can help your customers in ways they may not have previously thought about. This essentially improves the quality of the service you are delivering.

Another aspect to consider is that cross-selling provides the possibly of helping you improve your business performance so it meets your expectations.

What Should I Look Out For?

  • Remember, the cross-sell suggestions should go well together.
  • Don’t be pushy, don’t go the hard sell. The goal here is to ‘help’ your customers.
  • Don’t force customers into purchasing bundled packages the may not want.

What Is The Right Way to Cross-Sell?

We have put together the following 7 tactics to help you perfect your cross-selling strategy:

  • Research what you cross sell. Look for patterns in your customers’ behaviour.
  • Think of cross-selling as a long-term relationship builder.
  • If you bundle things together, also offer items separately.
  • Use natural language.
  • Don’t overload the customer.
  • Get the price and purpose in the right order.
  • Keep it relevant.

Why not try out some of these techniques at your next sale opportunity. If cross-selling is new to you, take a bit of time to plan out your approach and test things out on a handful of your customers. If things start going well, think about how you can scale it up and integrate it into your overall sales process.

If you’re already cross-selling, well done – you’re ahead of the game – see if you can refine your approach with some of these suggestions.

All the best in bumping up your revenue.

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