When it comes to sales, how much of your new business comes from existing customers? If the answer is not a lot, then you could be missing a significant opportunity. Cross-selling, which involves adding products from different categories, and upselling or selling a higher-end version of a product or adding special features, are both highly effective ways to boost your business. You also save money.  I can tell you from my many years of marketing that it’s a lot more cost effective to sell to a current customer than to find a new one. That’s not to say, you should abandon efforts to generate new leads. Still satisfied current customers can be a ripe source of new business you don’t want to overlook.

If you are concerned about annoying your customers with sales pitches from time to time, don’t be. Think of it this way. On the one hand, you’re offering a convenience to your customers; you’re saving them time looking for new offerings they might need. Even more important, you’re showing your concern for their needs. My bank never misses an opportunity to tell me about a new service when I call. On more than one occasion, I was able to save money by switching to a different account or signing up for a new program that I would not have known about if the agent hadn’t made the recommendation.

Here are some suggestions for effective cross and upselling:

Timing is critical: You don’t need to force the issue. A cross-selling opportunity can happen naturally. For example, if you are interested in a Plantronics Bluetooth Voyager headset, a sales rep might also recommend one of our charging adapters. The same goes for a service offering.  A public relations agency might provide you with a proposal for contacting media about your new product and also mention that it can write a marketing brochure as well.

Identify opportunities: Think about your customers and their requirements. Consider what products or services you have that complement what they already purchased or secured from you.

Bundle products or services: Bundle products and services that go together and offer a price break.

Leverage your website: Include cross and up-sell products and services on your website to educate your customers about the range of your offerings.

Employ technology:  If you have an e-commerce site, incorporate a recommendation engine to suggest products that complement the ones your customers are considering.

Train your team: Make sure your team understands that cross-selling and upselling should not be forced. Have training sessions where you role play so everyone learns how to be effective naturally.

Think about ways to best cross and upsell customers with your current and future offerings. Be genuine in your concern about your customers’ needs and the additional sales will happen.