SBX 18 – The Upsell: Getting Your Customers To Buy More Stuff

The Small Business Express

Congratulations, you made a sale!  But what if it meant more than a monetary transaction that ensured your business could stay open for 12 minutes longer?  What if, instead of saying “you made a sale,” we instead suggested “you solved a problem.”  That certainly puts things in perspective.  And it proves the necessity of upselling at every and any opportunity.  Heck, some might even call it an ethical duty.

Upselling is the process after an initial sale which you use to introduce people to other products that they may find useful.  You go into a department store to buy a pair of pants and, upon the cashier’s suggestion, leave with a belt.  You go to the post office to mail a package and they ask if you want to buy stamps.  Yes, you DO want fries with that.  All examples of great upselling.  And whether your business is offline or online, you must confidently accept that there are more problems that can be solved with a little planning.  And not in a high-pressure or sleazy way, but in a way that creates WIN WIN for everybody involved.

Don’t sell shampoo without giving your customers a chance to buy conditioner.  Whatever your game or gig is, you have an opportunity to do more, help more, serve more by upselling properly.  (Click to Tweet)

Listen and Learn…

  • The power of related purchases, how Amazon does it, and how you can do it too.
  • Why it’s totally ok to be offering other people’s products, offline or online.
  • The best time is now.  How to make an immediate upsell offer that is a total no-brainer.
  • Maybe you’re upselling something a little bigger and need more time to follow-up.  That’s in here too.
  • Coming up with an asking strategy.  The difference between hard sell and soft sell.

Action Steps from this episode:

  1. Decide WHAT You’re Going to Offer.  This might be another product you sell.  Or a product somebody else sells.  The bottom line, however, is that your customers have more than one problem and you have the means to help them.  Most business owners tuck tail and run whenever somebody mentions selling.  Realize your awesome power to help people.  If they’re going to end up buying it anyway, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be from you.  There’s no business that can’t benefit from this.  Brainstorm possibilities like a boss.

  2. Decide WHEN You’re Going to Make the Offer.  Gary speaks relentlessly about making an immediate offer.  Mike regales us with a tale of his knife-selling days (and his oh-so-epic veggie peeler upsell).  The more commoditized a product, the more immediate your response should be.  While immediate is good, if you’re going for a home run (selling a boat to someone who came by to purchase a fishing lure) then be prepared to have proper follow-up in place.

  3. Decide HOW You’re Going to Make the Offer.  Are you going to make a hard-sell?  Ie, a now-or-never type of offer?  These can be effective because they create major urgency, especially if you’re an online business making a one time offer (OTO) after your sales page.  There is tremendous power in consistency, so if you’re not alone or online, make sure everybody who’s touching customers is taught how to be a rockstar at this.  Listen to the show for more tidbits on how to determine the right upsell communication for YOUR business.

Links and Resources:

  1. The manipulation matrix: how to know if your upsell is ethical or not.

  2. Don’t buy this without that: the power behind Amazon’s “recommended products.”

  3. 8 Questions to ask before selling other people’s stuff online.

  4. Commission Junction and Share-a-sale — 2 places for online businesses to find complementary products.

Write a review?

Positive, negative, and nasty – all reviews welcome.
Click here, “View in iTunes”, and select “Ratings and Reviews.”
Reviewers can leave their name and/or business website.  Free advertising.  Why not?

Wanna subscribe?

Click Here to subscribe via iTunes or  Click Here to subscribe via Stitcher
To get notifications via email, put your info in the sidebar.  Over there.  On the right.

Burning question?

The questions we get are real.  What’s been on your business mind lately?
For possible inclusion in the show, please record your message here.

3 replies
  1. Rebecca Gibbs
    Rebecca Gibbs says:

    Loved this one guys! I never really liked upselling, but have been told I’m good at it from managers at previous jobs. Now with planning out my bakery, I’ve been working on planning upselling ideas. I have some, but listening to your actions steps for the process of planning out upsells, has given me some new ideas!
    Oh, and Stradegy! When Mike said that I about died laughing. I have a tendency to mix words up big time and that is one I have messed up over and over. I finally told my husband I’m just going to write my own dictionary…

  2. Mike Monroe
    Mike Monroe says:


    “Ok, I see here you’re purchasing 4 brownies, 8 loaves of bread, and a cup-in-a-mug… Would you like to add a dictionary to that?”

    If that one doesn’t work out, Rebecca… (lol) what were you thinking for Plan B?

    • Rebecca Gibbs
      Rebecca Gibbs says:

      Hahahaha! That’s PERFECT! Who needs a Plan B when you have my dictionary as an upsell? Maybe I’ll ask if that want chocolate fries and a shake to go with the cup-in-a-mug.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply