Getting to Know Upselling and Cross-Selling
As a call center representative, sales are a crucial part of the job. Next to customer service, selling goods or services can make or break the effectiveness of a call center. When it comes to call center training, or more specifically sales training, it’s important to be well-versed on upselling and cross-selling, the difference between the two, and how to do both properly.
What is Upselling?
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of upselling is “to try to convince (a customer) to purchase something additional or at a higher cost.” In other words, upselling is a delicate sales technique to get a customer to spend more money, usually through the purchase of an upgrade or premium version of what’s being purchased. It’s delicate because customers aren’t always thrilled to be spending more money, so how and when the topic is broached is critical to the upsell.
What is Cross-Selling?
To once again reference Merriam-Webster, the definition of cross-selling is “to sell or promote (a different or related product or service) to an existing customer.” For example, if a current customer is purchasing a new cell phone and mentions they dropped their previous one in a swimming pool, a potential cross-sell is a protection plan.
Upselling vs. Cross-Selling
The differences between the two are laid out pretty well in the above paragraphs, but since it’s fairly easy to confuse them, it’s best to briefly reiterate. Upselling involves a customer trading up to a better version of what’s being purchased, while cross-selling involves offering the customer a related product or service. Upselling: upgrading from coach to first-class on an upcoming flight. Cross-selling: an extended warranty on a new vehicle.
Don’t Focus too much on the Selling Aspect
When it comes to upselling and cross-selling, it is important to realize they are not the priority. A call center representative must first solve the problem at hand with the customer before pitching better or additional products or services. The reasoning for this is solid. First, it helps to build trust between the representative and the customer. Once the customer realizes the representative is there to assist and inform, and not just shove offers down their throat, they become more likely to buy from them. Second, it helps the representative better understand and identify what the needs are of the customer. Listening to any issues and understanding what the customer wants will open pathways to upselling and cross-selling later on in the conversation.
Know How to Identify Opportunities
Sometimes the cards just aren’t right, and a call center representative needs to understand that. When performing customer service, a sales situation may not always present itself. If a customer is frustrated with their product or service and simply wants answers, it may not be best to pitch them a premium version of what they are unhappy with. On the flip side, maybe they are unhappy because what they want comes with the premium version or a separate package all together and not what they have currently. It’s all about realizing opportunities and seizing the moment.
Listening is the key aspect, and patience is a true virtue when it comes to upselling and cross-selling. A representative that abruptly pitches products or services at the beginning of a call or out of context does more harm to the customer’s experience than good. Knowing the definition of upselling and cross-selling, as well as the difference between the two, and recognizing opportunities to employ training for both can go a long way in improving the sales of a call center.