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Master These Three Simple Cross-Selling Skills and Watch Your Sales Skyrocket

The top cross-selling mistake is the easiest one to make. Learn how to avoid it with these three tips and tricks.

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Developing cross-selling skills is a great way to increase revenue and strengthen customer relationships. 

But most people and businesses get it wrong.

That’s because they focus on the sale instead of the customer. Cross-selling this way creates pressure, and unfortunately it’s all too common.

Don’t Cross-Sell By Pressuring People

Often, when a customer buys based on outside pressure, they start to experience buyer’s remorse right after. The urgency that pushed them to buy in the first place goes away, and now you, the seller, have a problem.

Buyer’s remorse comes with chargebacks, refunds, and/or a damaged relationship with the customer. 

For example, Wells Fargo pressured employees to cross-sell without a thought toward the value of the products or their customers’ needs. This pressure led to unethical and even fraudulent sales of low or no-value products.

In the end, Wells Fargo paid around $2.6 million in customer refunds. That’s a terrible outcome for an activity meant to boost revenue.

There’s a much better way to put your cross-selling skills to good use: make your customers ask you for the thing you want them to buy.

You’ll want to turn the customer’s narrative from, “I’m told that I need this,” to, “I’ve decided that I need this.” This helps your customers walk away confident in their decision and likely to return to you in the future.

Show Your Product, Don’t Sell It

Across the board, advice on cross-selling revolves around how you time your pitch. Too early, and you risk sounding like a used-car salesman. Too late, and the sale will seem like an afterthought.

If you want to create the kind of internal motivation that will lead to a successful, satisfying sale. Show your product first, don’t sell it.

For instance, say that you run an accounting firm and you built new software that helps with filing tax returns. Incorporate that additional program into your video marketing about tax prep services without including any additional pitch.

That way your customers see for themselves how the program can make filing their taxes easier and more efficient.

If they see the value, the program will be on your customer’s mind next season when they need help. You can then offer to sell it to them along with their basic tax prep package.

Using this approach means that your customer walks away feeling satisfied, not sold to.

Match Your Offers to Your Customer Journey

In the vein of personalization, make sure you aren’t wasting your cross-selling skills by making an offer at the wrong time.

This is a mistake you can avoid by paying attention to your existing customer journey.

Photo Credit: Nick Nijhuis

If a recent customer is buying a package that’s one step up from your most basic offering, don’t throw an advanced add-on at them.

Doing so will overwhelm your customers. And you’ll look like you’re trying to take advantage of them rather than give them the help they need.

Figure out the cross-selling offer that fits each point of your customer journey. Plan your marketing and outreach campaigns around those offers.

Slip mentions of the product you want to highlight in your texts to reach customers at each stage of the customer journey.

Use Social Proof

Another smart way to show the value of your cross-selling offer is to let your customers’ peers talk about it. Like most good cross-selling skills, this relies on showing, not selling.

This works best once you’ve made your first sale with a cross-selling offer. Have a few of your happy customers write or speak about the benefits they’ve experienced using the product.

Don’t use incentives or leverage to get these reviews or testimonials. That defeats the purpose.

Instead, set up outgoing messages to help your customers engage with you. 

Include a request for testimonials or a line about how much you appreciate feedback somewhere in your outreach messages. Remember to direct people, through a link or button, to the exact spot where you want them to leave their review. 

You can then use the testimonials you get on your website, your social media, or in future outreach campaigns.

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A Final Word on Cross-Selling Skills and Why They Matter

At the end of the day you want to keep your focus on increasing the value of the product you’re selling as it relates to your customer. 

Solid cross-selling skills can keep your customers coming back, improve your relationships, and up your revenue in the long term.

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