These days, upselling has something of a bad reputation – among sellers and buyers alike. But don’t blame the technique. So much of what passes for upselling these days is simply bad selling. Here are four examples:

    1. “Would you like fries with that?” Well, since I just ordered your Heart Healthy Salad and a bottle of spring water, probably not. Many folks equate robotic upselling with low level sales jobs. But the level of the rep isn’t the problem – they’re just doing what they were told. And they were told to add the same one-size-fits-all upsell to every sale because studies show that some predictable percentage of buyers will say yes. As a buyer, it’s not the upsell that bothers me; it’s being treated as a statistic.


    1. “Will you be checking any bags with us today?” Airlines – with a few notable exceptions that now get most of my business – have decided that upselling simply means charging for things that ought to be included. Where’s the up in that? Upselling is about creating more value for buyers, not reminding them that they’re getting less.


    1. “Have you considered our Platinum Protection Plan?” Some attempted upsells are clearly deficient in value for the buyer. For example, more than once I’ve seen salespeople trying to sell extended warranties for products that were already covered by a lifetime warranty. That’s not an upsell; that’s a racket.


  1. “People who bought this product also bought…” I recently purchased a lawnmower and got an e-mail telling me that people who bought this model also bought weedkiller (okay), a rake (okay), and brassieres (not okay). See no. 1, above.

It’s no wonder that sellers and buyers alike cringe when they hear the word “upselling.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. When a seller truly understands me, thinks hard about what I need and what I value, treats me as a person and not a revenue opportunity and offers me something of value, I’m more than ready to be upsold. And so will most of your customers.

photo credit: calgaryreviews

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