Master the Art of Upselling to Drive Contact Center Profits

Upselling is a profitable initiative that benefits both businesses and customers. The practice is used to add value to a sale already in motion, so what could be more natural? It’s a win-win. Nevertheless, many contact center leaders question how much effort their Communicators should devote to this strategy.

Upselling should be a top priority for contact centers.

Consider this: Neil Patel—co-founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg and Hello Bar—explained in Forbes magazine that 30 percent or more of his business model is based on upselling. You may find that a different number works for your business as you crunch the numbers, but don’t be afraid to raise the bar and encourage more upsells in your contact center.

Why is upselling important? As Patel pointed out, it’s five to 10 times cheaper to upsell a current customer than it is to acquire a new one. This is because existing customers require less sales and marketing spend. Upselling is a great example of “lean revenue,” or revenue that is generated with minimal financial loss.

Here are some important things about upselling to share with your Communicators:

Don’t confuse upselling with cross-selling: Upselling is like taking a customer who is considering the purchase of a basic car, and offering him or her a souped-up model with Bluetooth and a sunroof. In this scenario, cross-selling is more like offering a bicycle rack along with the new car. Both strategies are beneficial, but Communicators should know the difference in order to make the right offers.

Build trust first: Communicators must understand that building customer trust is a prerequisite for upselling. A Communicator should always demonstrate that he or she has the customer’s best interests in mind. A good way to do this is to establish a friendly rapport. Work in the topic of upselling naturally.

Be an active listener: Oftentimes, customers will provide critical information that Communicators can use to drive a sale. Train your Communicators to identify these opportunities when they arise. A customer, for instance, may reveal insight about his or her financial situation or personal preferences. Small tidbits of knowledge can lead to big opportunities when upselling.

Nudge your customers: Upselling has to be done carefully to be effective. Instead of pushing customers into making decisions, gently nudge them. Otherwise, an upsell attempt could have a reverse effect and cause a customer to lose trust.

Offer relevant upsells: The trick to being more successful with upselling is to offer products that fit into the customer’s journey. Communicators need to have a clear idea of how long a customer has been with your company and the products he or she has already purchased. A customer who been purchasing the same exact product at regular intervals for several years should be approached differently from a customer who makes sporadic, random purchases. Upselling is always possible, but first you need to make sure that it’s probable.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.