Marketing Advice: 3 Times to Upsell a Client


Photography Business Institute
Photography Business Institute

Last week I visited a small business with a good friend. We each had appointments for a skin care service. My friend had received a service from this business before, but I had not. After a long week, we were ready for a little pampering.

We had made appointments for specific services, but given how infrequently my friend and I take time for pampering, we were in the mood to be upsold. Much to our disappointment, no options for add-on services were given to us. Our plastic cards were on the counter, yet we left purchasing no more than our original service.

Even McDonald’s tries to upsell each customer with an offer to add fries to your order or supersize your meal. Why? Because it works!

Maybe the business I visited last week is used to being told ‘no’ so they stopped offering additional services. I doubt it, though. I think they just failed to train their employees to recognize opportunities for upselling.

Here is some marketing advice and ideas for when you should upsell a client in your small business:

1) The client is an infrequent visitor to your business. Maybe it’s because she is a new client who just discovered you or maybe she only budgeted to purchase from your business a few times a year (or even every few years). Recognize that when she does come to see you, she visits because she is ready to invest. She has already cleared that hurdle at this point. You don’t need to convince her to invest. You just need to help her decide WHAT to invest in. Offer her additional products and services she may not even realize your business carries. Just remember not to overwhelm them her too many options. No more than three upsell options should be given at a time.

2) You sell a luxury item or service – or really even anything beyond the basics we need to survive. Your client is already in an emotional state when they come to you. Your products and services are appealing to more than a basic necessity (food, water, shelter). Your products appeal to the need to feel successful and look successful. The need to impress. Offer your clients more than they think they want, and they’ll likely take you up on your offer.

3) You have a new product or service. No matter how many people you’ve told about your new offering, how many marketing channels you’ve used to promote it or how much free publicity you’ve benefitted from, don’t assume clients know you have it now. Use this opportunity to educate clients on what you have that is new and how it will benefit them!

Finally, don’t confuse upselling with discounting. You don’t need to offer the upsell at a discount to get clients to take advantage. Just simply by asking, you’ll be surprised at how many “yes” responses you get!

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