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Upselling (sometimes "up-selling") is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Upselling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products but can also be simply exposing the customer to other options that were perhaps not considered previously. Upselling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of, or in addition to, the original sale. A different technique is cross-selling in which a seller tries to sell something else. In practice, large businesses usually combine upselling and cross-selling techniques to enhance the value that the client or clients get from the organization in addition to maximizing the profit that the business gets from the client. In doing so, the organization must ensure that the relationship with the client is not disrupted. In a restaurant and other similar settings, upselling is commonplace and an accepted form of business. In other businesses, such as car sales, the customer’s perception of the attempted upsell can be viewed negatively and thereby affect the desired result.
Some examples of upsales include:
- suggesting a premium brand of alcohol when a brand is not specified by a customer
- selling an extended service contract for an appliance
- suggesting a customer purchase more RAM or a larger hard drive when servicing his or her computer
- selling luxury finishing on a vehicle
- suggesting a brand of watch that the customer hasn't previously heard of as an alternative to the one being considered
- suggesting a customer purchase a more extensive car wash package
- asking the customer to supersize a meal or add cheese at a fast food restaurant
Many companies teach their employees to upsell products and services and offer incentives and bonuses to the most successful personnel. Care must be taken in this type of environment to thoroughly train employees. A poorly trained employee can let slip the incentive program and thus offend a regular and loyal customer. There is a level of trust between the customer and employee and once broken it may never be reestablished.
A common technique for successful upsellers is becoming aware of a customer's background and budget, allowing the upsellers to understand better what that particular purchaser might need.
Another way of upselling is creating fear over the durability of the purchase, particularly effective on expensive items such as electronics, where an extended warranty can offer peace of mind. Upselling also works with things like expensive leather shoes, where the seller suggests to buy the waterproofing spray as well "to make the shoes last."
See also