Definition: What Exactly is an Upsell (& Upselling)?

Upselling is one of those mysterious internet marketing terms that are thrown at us over and over again. It seems like the thing is gaining more and more popularity every day. And that’s clearly not something bad.

If you’re a salesman of any type you should get familiar with upselling ASAP. As it can increase your profits by ridiculous amounts without any additional money spent on marketing.

So what is it?

Upselling is a technique of selling another products right after a client has bought your main product. And by “right after” I mean a second after (i.e. immediately).

However, the upsell needs to be somewhat related to the main product.

If you want to become an upselling-ninja you should aim at choosing a product which your clients probably haven’t considered previously, but which would be potentially interesting to them.

Let’s use an example. If you’re selling some kind of software you could try upselling your clients with things like: premium upgrades, extended warranty, 1-hour support, a number of extra add-ons, a personal support assistant, a ticket to an event (a related event, of course), special VIP edition of the software delivered on a silver platter, etc.

How to come up with an upsell

The main idea here is to come up with the kind of an upsell that will make your product better in some way. No matter how good your product is you can always improve it. You can always make it: more complete, cooler, easier to use, prettier, more fashionable, smaller, bigger, faster, slower.

Just have in mind this one simple thing: A good upsell is one that gives your clients some specific benefits.

Let’s say you’re selling man suits. What would make a perfect upsell here? A shirt. Even though, it has nothing to do with the main product. It’s not a part of it, nor an upgrade of some kind. But still, it manages to make it better and more complete.

Look around and learn from people who are really good at upselling. For me, there’s a tie on top of the leaderboard of upselling. First place goes ex aequo to guys at McDonalds and car salesmen.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “want fries with that?” – perfect upselling. And if you’ve ever tried to buy a new car you know how long that list of extra features/options can be. Some things you can usually find there: white leather seats, 20 airbags, flappy paddle gearbox, surround sound system, etc.

What about the price?

The price of an upsell doesn’t really matter. A classic example of upselling, indeed, involves bumping the price up. This means that the upsell should be more expensive than the main product. But it’s not a rule so you don’t have to worry about it.

A good salesman should be able to become aware of the client’s background and budget. For example, if you’re a car mechanic and a client comes over in an old beat-down Toyota to get his oil changed, you’re not going to try to upsell him on the new Pirelli Racing tires. But you can try it on someone owning a Porsche. Statistically speaking there’s a bigger chance of success doing so.

And you don’t have to stop with just one upsell.

Leading one upsell into another

That’s a great technique. It involves creating a funnel consisting of several consecutive upsells.

Here’s what I mean. If you’ve just managed to upsell someone you can try to upsell them again with another thing.

Back to the McDonalds example. When you hear “want fries with that?” – that’s the first upsell. If you say “yes” there’s a big probability you’re going to hear another upselling attempt “how about an extra coke?” – that’s the second one. And then the third one, and so on…

Each upsell still needs to be related to the main product. Still needs to make it better. Same rules apply.

So there you go. In a nutshell – upselling is the art of convincing your clients to buy more products right after they’ve bought the initial one.

Have you tested upselling? What are your results? And what is your upsell?

Here’s a list of articles you may also enjoy:

  • Super Size Me – The Art of the Upsell – Upselling is an unavoidable part of doing business these days. Just about anywhere you spend money the salesperson is going to try and make you part w.