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A customer’s revenue potential doesn’t end at the point of sale. There’s a wealth of opportunity for more business after purchase.

Cross-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything in conjunction with the primary product. If your company offers a separate product or service that can complement or enhance a customer’s initial purchase, cross-selling can be an excellent opportunity to generate extra revenue.

Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make a customer’s additional purchase more expensive with an upgrade, enhancement, or premium option. In essence short, you’re adding on a product when upselling — not building around it.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but the approaches for each are different.


How to Cross-Sell and Upsell

Cross-selling and upselling can happen at any point in the buyer’s journey. So how do we do this?

  1. Get to know your audience.

Use information about your customers as well as customer feedback to create personas for your customers and understand their goals and challenges to identify the most helpful, relevant products you could cross-sell and upsell.

  1. Build out customer journeys.

Next, map out customer journeys to identify how they will use your product and how it will help them grow. When your customers get to the point where they’re seeing results (thanks to your product), they’ll start telling other people about it and driving referrals.

  1. Think about problems and offer solutions that map to products.

Before you hop on a call or email and attempt to sell to an existing customer, take some time to review your product offerings and find their current spot on your customer journey.

That way, you’ll have a clear idea of common challenges your customers face — and exactly which of your products you can try to cross-sell or upsell as a possible solution.

  1. Practice active listening.

You might be able to cross-sell or upsell to your customers on the fly during a phone call or over an email exchange — so make sure to hone in on your active listening and reading skills for signals your customer might be ready to hear your offer.

If your customer wants expanded capabilities or is actively working to reach their goals faster, it might be the right time to mention how your other products or services can help get them there.

How to Encourage Your Team to Upsell and Cross-Sell

It’s far easier to sell to existing customers than to bring on new ones. It usually means that your sales team doesn’t have to prospect, qualify, or build a relationship. Your customer success team likely knows them too. And your business already has trust and credibility with the customer.

Expanding your account means clients are less likely to churn. The more products and services they invest in, the more difficult it will be for them to switch vendors or develop an in-house solution.

To encourage your team to cross-sell and upsell, use these four strategies.

  1. Try six month check-ins.

This gives them a chance to review their progress, gauge their satisfaction, and look for opportunities to expand the account.

  1. Eliminate fear of checking in.

Some salespeople don’t like calling current customers. They don’t want to engage if the product hasn’t lived up to their customer’s expectations. But your team is a great resource to offer insights to clients if the product isn’t performing how they’d like.

  1. Educate your team and customers.

Your team can’t sell new products or services if they don’t understand them.

Every time your company launches a new feature, hold product training sessions. If your company makes constant product updates, you may want to schedule quarterly or monthly sessions.

  1. Remember to continually add value.

Your team should add value for your customers with every interaction. E.g, you might set a Google alert for client brand names. This way you know when a client company gets mentioned in the news. Then you can connect to offer value on the update, like sharing a local contact after a client moves to a new office.

Gestures like this show customers your team cares. Then, when the time comes for upselling or cross-selling, they’ll be more than willing to engage.

Bolster your sales with upselling and cross-selling.

Cross-selling and upselling aren’t always straightforward. Getting it right takes optimal timing, keen awareness, and empathy.

If you can keep a pulse on how your customer is feeling, have an idea of the features or products they stand to gain the most from, and know when they’ll be most receptive to an additional offer, you’ll be able to upsell and cross-sell with the best of them.


How happy are you that you’re taking every opportunity to upsell or cross sell? Maybe it’s time to review your current approach and strategy.

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