7 Key Areas to Drive for Boosting Cross-selling

Cross selling is the art of alluring existing or potential customers with goods or services related to what they are already buying or planning to. Though cross-selling increases your sales on an average by 10 -20% or higher at no extra cost, it should be practiced in a tactful manner.

Drive the following seven key areas to improve cross-selling:
1. Understand Customer Requirements - 
‘Listen’ and try to get the most accurate information about what your customer wants, their preferences and answer the objections. Application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) will be of great advantage. This effort alone adds to a better relationship with the customer and increases their confidence in you. Special care should be taken not to press or push them to the point that they become irate. Also, do not appear to be too ‘eager’. The customer should be convinced, or at least feel that his/ her needs are understood properly and will be suitably fulfilled. Never jump to conclusions or form assumptions - you might suggest ‘meat to a vegetarian’!

If all the related customer information is captured through a CRM software, it can be carefully studied to understand the best product for each customer and prospect. The reports and analytics generated will assist greatly in optimizing cross sell, up sell and other future opportunities.

2. Analyze Buying Patterns
Business Patterns are more relevant in the case of existing customers, though it can be determined for potential buyers using appropriate methods like surveys, questionnaires etc. and collating the results using marketing automation software during the campaign. This information will facilitate pinpointing the relevant audience and segments. Organize your existing information about customers to match the results of these analytics. Offering products from the same brand family to which the customer is loyal, will make the chances of succeeding in cross-selling far more probable.

Though every customer is important, using a CRM system, they can be classified according to value based on buying patterns. The business intelligence or analytics component of a CRM software can generate customer or prospect information to help you decide if they are potent enough to provide you high value business or relationships. Also, by studying a holistic view of each customer or prospect their proclivity to buy a product offering can be accessed. Re-segmentation or multi segmentation of customers is another benefit of CRM analytics.

3. Positioning & Packaging
Utilize your product knowledge and bundle the principal product with ‘relevant’ products. Well integrated positioning of the cross-sell products with the principal product entices a customer to purchase the combined offering.

Package all the related services as a product and offer. Align the cross-sell products with the customer’s necessity and explain the benefits. Always show the big picture when combining the cross-sell offers with the principal so that there is adequate clarity for customers. While using a brochure or similar material, ensure that it is a single sheet.

Apart from the most optimal positioning and packaging suggestions, a CRM solution can help identify alternate products for a particular set of requirements.

4. Timing
Time your cross-sell pitch in a way that the customer feels a sense of urgency. An offer for a discount with a limited timeline (offer ends in 3 days), or purchase amount based incentives (“Your current purchase is for $920, if your purchase amount is above $1000, you qualify for special discounts or gifts.”) is statistically proven to entice the customer to yield to the cross-sell pitch.

The ideal time to pitch for a cross sell can be pointed out by a CRM system, for e.g. as soon as a customer buys a book across the counter, the CRM software can display suggestions for other relevant titles, authors, magazines, events, etc. for the salesperson to offer.

5. Product Reviews & Intelligent Suggestions
If a customer is about to buy from you, offer him the top reviews and testimonials by existing users of the product. Suggestions based on customer requirement, behavior and the available variety of products will greatly improve success rates.

6. Pricing
Always offer three different pricing options with the middle one being your primary goal (for e.g. Option A - $750, Option B - $1000 and Option C - $1250). Avoid offering more than three options, it might confuse the customer. Do not make all your offers visible initially; keep some for negotiations too.

While negotiating for prices, a CRM software’s customer data pertaining to requirements and buying behaviors can greatly aid the sales personnel to offer the ‘best price’ to customers, leading to more win – win situations.

7. Training
It should always be an organizational initiative and not an individual one to cross sell. It is vital to train your sales personnel specifically on cross selling - an incorrectly deployed cross-sell effort often results in confusing customers, delays the sales cycle and in many cases prompts prospects to ask for discounts. Also, if not done appropriately it could put-off hesitant customers or those who come back at a later point of time.

There is no substitute for good customer service and along with some intelligent thinking the subtle art of cross selling can progressively generate unbelievable results. Ultimately, you must make the customer feel that they have made the most ‘beneficial’ choice.

A CRM solution provides you with a 360-degree view of each customer or prospect and relevant activities; this greatly assists in studying first hand information related to the aforementioned areas. It will help you optimize your sales - sell to the right customer with the appropriate offering at the correct time and price.


1 comment:

  1. The term C R M has value and depth beyond its literal meaning, especially when we are not in a position to distinguish between the competition that prevails in the market as monopolistic or imperfect. Today customers command and dictate, so the seller has to use his sixth sense if any, for capturing the market. It is very a tough game to smell the attitude as well as aptitude of him in advance. There ought to be a correlation between price, quality, and service in principle, and presently in many cases, this is missing. In this scenario, customers’ behavioral analysis has a special significance. An initiative to cross sell various products to the existing customers must be given more or at least equal thrust as those for business development (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush).


    Your article is very much analytical and the 7 keys mentioned has got a practical relevance. The trend whatever it may if we can assure and convince, that we do not compromise anything for our best service and quality of the product, and if we can create a feel in him that he has gained much (consumer surplus) and thus is delighted than satisfied, the mission will bear fruits.

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