Upselling is risky. Nobody wants to be the obnoxious, greedy salesperson who’s always pushing for more…more… more. Why risk a relationship for a few extra bucks?

On the other hand, the best place to find new business is with your existing customers.

It puts you in a bind, doesn’t it?

Here’s an example of what can go wrong when you upsell the wrong way:

David’s sales manager was leaning on him hard to get bigger orders. “You’re leaving money on the table,” the manager said. “You’ve got to start upselling more.”

So David tried. And got his knuckles rapped.

When his customer asked for price and delivery terms for 1,000 components, David decided to push for more: “You know, if you can increase the size of the order to 2,000, you’ll get a better unit price.”

“I don’t need 2,000,” the customer snapped. “I need 1,000.”

“Okay, how about assembly? We could preassemble the components…”

His buyer cut him off. “Look, I don’t have time for this. Just get me a price.”

Now David’s kicking himself. He didn’t get the upsell. And his customer is irritated with him.

Risky business
If you’ve ever wanted to ask for more business but hesitated, you’re right to be cautious. Mishandling an upsell can cost you customer trust, and even the sale.

But if you handle an upsell right, there’s almost no risk. In fact, you’ll strengthen the relationship and open the door to new opportunities to serve your customer.

In every sale, there’s a brief window when it’s perfectly safe to upsell: immediately after your buyer has said yes. At that point, you already have the first sale in hand, so there’s no risk. The buyer has just committed to you, so she’s feeling good about you and what you sell. And she’s clearly in a buying mood.

But the timing has to be just right. If you try to upsell too soon — before you complete the close — you could put the whole deal back in play. And if you wait until later, the buyer’s enthusiasm may have cooled.


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