We all know the best way to increase sales: sell more to existing customers.

Landing a new account is fun and exciting. But your current buyers are where the real money is. They’re qualified. They’re reachable. They pay their bills.

So if we all know that, why don’t we act like it? Time and again, when salespeople are faced with an opportunity to upsell their customers, they back down.

They offer plenty of reasons: Upselling is cheesy and unprofessional. They don’t want to rock the boat. The customer will tell you when she’s ready to buy more. The relationship is worth more than a few extra bucks.

Or, in a nutshell: If I ask for the upsell, my customer will get mad and never buy from me again.

You’re right to be afraid
If you think I’m going to tell you this fear is unfounded, you’d be wrong.

In fact, someone tried to upsell me just the other day, and guess what happened? I got mad and will never buy from him again.

But it wasn’t the upsell that made me mad. It was the intent. This salesperson tried to sell me something I didn’t want or need. There was no value in it for me.

On the other hand, if we approach the upsell like we do the initial sale – with the intent of delivering more value to the buyer – it’s hard to go wrong. If this seller had presented me with some options and shown how I might get a lot more value for a little more money, why would I be mad? Even if I didn’t say yes, that conversation – in and of itself – would be valuable to me.

Properly handled, upselling can be a relationship-builder instead of a relationship-killer.

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