Acquiring a customer often involves a lot of hard work and in some cases expense. This means that once you’ve acquired them, you want to get maximum value for them (and deliver maximum value to them). Effective upselling is often crucial to this.
What is upselling?
Upselling is the strategy of selling a higher-grade version of the product or service the customer intended to buy. It differs from selling add-ons because it focuses on persuading the customer to upgrade the core product or service. Selling add-ons is rather the practice of selling items that increase the functionality of the product or service, but are not core to it.
For example, your business offers three home care packages, bronze, silver and gold. If the customer initially expresses an interest in bronze but you sell them silver, that is an example of upselling. If you all sell them an extra that expands the functionality of the bronze package, that is selling them an add-on.
For completeness, there is also the strategy of cross-selling. This involves selling the customer a product or service that is complementary to their main purchase. For example, if you sell someone a carpet-cleaning package and then offer them a discount on an upholstery-cleaning package, that is an example of cross-selling.
The basics of upselling services
Effective upselling requires a combination of strategy and sensitivity. The strategy aspect is laying the ground for you to upsell successfully. The sensitivity part is knowing when (and when not) to recommend an upsell.
The strategy of upselling services
If you want to maximise your chances of upselling more services, you need to lay the groundwork with effective marketing. This helps prepare the customer before they even speak to the salesperson. If your salesperson manages to convert the customer to a sale or upsell, you then need to ensure that there is a frictionless checkout process. Any hiccups at this point could see the sale lost.
The importance of marketing
Marketing should familiarise the customer with the brand and the products/services it offers. It should enable the salesperson largely to gloss over the basics of who you are, what you do and why the customer should care.
Instead, the salesperson should be able to move straight to working out potential solutions and helping the customer to choose the right one(s). This maximises their opportunities for upselling.
Effective marketing is even more important if you’re selling wholly or mainly online. Even if you have human sales assistants available through chat, phone or video call, you just cannot achieve the same level of interpersonal rapport. If you’re relying purely on automated tools, then your marketing will probably have to do a lot of the selling and upselling for you.
When it comes to upselling services in the home and repairs sector, probably the single most effective tool you can use is real-world case studies. It’s even better if you can demonstrate evidence that your service could increase the value of their home. For example, if you offer gardening services, show before and after photographs alongside statistics of how homebuyers/renters value attractive outdoor space.
Square Marketing makes it easy to run effective marketing campaigns. It will help to get your sales process off to the best possible start.
The importance of a smooth checkout process
Your checkout process is the final step between you and a sale. It’s therefore a brutal hurdle to fall at. Fortunately, Square can help you to ensure that this doesn’t happen. If you’re selling online, Square Online allows you to set up a frictionless checkout process without any technical skills.
If you’re selling face-to-face, then you will have in-person staff on hand to guide the customer through the checkout process. Even so, you should still invest in decent payment infrastructure to ensure that there are no technical issues with payment acceptance.
If you’re going to ask mobile staff to upsell if they can, then it’s advisable to equip them with mobile payment tools. This makes it easy for customers to pay and removes a barrier to a sale or an upsell.
Consider supporting buy-now-pay-later
Over recent years, there has been a significant increase in the demand for buy-now-pay-later services such as Clearpay. These can make it much easier for customers to afford major purchases. In fact, some customers may even appreciate having access to BNPL for more minor purchases to help with their own cash flow (e.g. freelancers).
Upselling techniques for the home and repair industry
Once you’ve set down the basic infrastructure, the rest is down to your salespeople. If you’re training them there are some basic principles you’ll need to be sure they understand.
Pay attention to what your customers are telling you
This could equate to listening and paying close attention to comments online.
Understand the customer’s real need
Customers often want solutions to problems they don’t understand. Where they notice the symptoms, they need you to diagnose the cause and offer the right fix.
Be realistic about the customer’s situation
In the real world, customers can’t always afford the best solution for their needs. That means there’s no point in trying to sell it to them. Instead, have your salesperson upsell the solution that offers the best result at a price they can afford.
As a business owner, you should incentivise your team to upsell. At the same time, you should ensure your team members only upsell when it is appropriate. One simple and effective way to ensure that this happens is to conduct customer satisfaction surveys and monitor the results carefully. Ensure that salespeople only get their upselling bonus if they also maintain a reasonable level of customer satisfaction.
Examples of upselling in the home and repair industry
Probably the most common example of upselling in the home and repair industry is the use of service packages. Essentially, service providers offer a guaranteed level of service for an agreed price. Higher-level packages offer a higher level of service.
The key to success with these packages is to think about who will buy them and what sort of services they would be likely to want. Then tailor the packages to their needs.
For example, the bronze package might be tailored to the needs of people in flats. The silver package might be tailored to people in houses and the gold to landlords with multiple properties.
You can then use separate add-ons to fill in any cracks for people with special requests. For example, people in flats with gardens might not need the full silver package. They might, however, still want more than the bronze offering.
Effective pricing is key to success
In addition to selecting the right combination of services for the right package, it’s vital that you price your packages well. On the one hand, you want each package to offer a high level of perceived value. And on the other, you need to avoid devaluing your other offers. For added context, if you offer too much of a discount compared to other options, customers may question the quality.