The following is an extract from The Small Business Guide to The Art of Sales by Brian Zang.

Upselling is the BEST way to generate more revenue in your store.

By definition, upselling is selling more product to someone who is already going to buy from you. This is much easier than selling something to a customer for the first time. So…how do you do it?

Here are three things that you can try with your staff:

1. “If you like this, I think you’ll love this.”

This is a great way to bundle items together and increase the number of items purchased.

This works when you have a well trained, knowledgeable staff that builds rapport with your customer. The key here is to train your staff on what items you should recommend together. The best advice that I’ve ever received in sales is that the worst you’ll ever hear is no, so it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if you are successful only 5% of the time, if your staff asks every customer that’s an easy way to increase revenue 5%.

2. “Excellent choice. Have you thought about this one?”

This is a great way to increase the amount spent at your store by upselling to a higher priced item.

For example if you are a retail shop and a customer wants to buy an $80 dress, your sales associates should be trained to say:

“That is a great choice. If you like this dress you should try this one. A lot of our customers absolutely love it.”

The product that you recommend at this point should be priced slightly higher (25% or so higher than what they want to buy now — test the exact figure with your customer base).

Now, at this point one of three things will happen. They will buy the original dress for $80. They will buy the better dress for $100 or they will buy both for $180. By recommending the higher price item

you now have a 66% probability that you will receive more than the original item.

3. And finally my absolute favorite — The option close.

This is perfect in a couple of scenarios. If you have a customer that simply cannot decide what they want, recommend two options.

Based on what you are looking for I’d recommend either Option A or Option B. Which do you prefer? The power of this question is that it simplifies the decision for the customer. No longer do they have to analyze an endless array of different options which can be overwhelming and lead to decision paralysis. They now only have to pick one — and the prefer angle forces them to pick what they like better, which is much easier for someone to decide. Combining this with one of the upsell techniques above is a great way to increase $$$ spent per customer.

This also works very well when someone already has decided to purchase from you. Let’s say you have a customer that just ordered a coffee. You could train your staff to ask:

“We have two items that go really well with that coffee. A delightful muffin made with fresh organic honey or an applesauce donut that is the best thing I’ve ever tasted —which would you prefer?”

Or maybe you have a customer that just ordered a burger and fries. You could train your staff to ask:

“What would you like – a soda or a beer with your burger?”

Please keep in mind that this a more assumptive closing technique and must be trained properly. The key is to ask this in a very friendly & personable manner for maximum benefit. If your staff doesn’t do this properly, it can cause an awkward or off-putting customer experience — So use wisely!


Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate who uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.