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Increase your revenue, create a larger customer base, and increase consumer satisfaction through effective cross-selling. Read on to find out more.

RELATED: The Selling Formula W/ Brian Robinson

In this article:

  1. Cross-Selling Definition – What Is Cross-Selling?
  2. Best Cross-Selling Sales Tips for Retailers
  3. The Ultimate Guide to Sales Data Analysis for Successful Cross-Selling
  4. 7 Tips Your Sales Reps Can Use to Master Cross-Selling and Upselling
  5. What Are the Advantages of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling?
  6. How to Sell More – Cross-Selling and Upselling Examples
  7. 6 Cross-Selling Techniques That Will Make Your Customers Spend More on Your E-Commerce
  8. The Dark Side of Cross-Selling
  9. Avoiding the Pitfalls of Cross-Selling
  10. 5 Advantages of Cross-Selling to Existing Customers
  11. What Is Cross-Selling? – Salesforce EMEA
  12. 8 Strategies for Cross-Selling and Upselling Your Current Clients
  13. 12 Useful Tips for Successful Cross-Selling
  14. The Importance of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling for Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions
  15. Why Your Team Can’t Cross Sell (and How To Fix It)

Cross-Selling: Will It Help Drive Growth And Profitability to Your Business?

1. Cross-Selling Definition – What Is Cross-Selling?

customer paying coffee using touchscreen | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | cross sellings

Before you begin training yourself, it’s vital to answer the question, “what does cross-selling mean?” No salesman will ever master this sales technique if they don’t at least know its textbook definition.

Also, many salesmen confuse themselves between cross-selling and upselling. The former involves offering an additional service or product that complements their initial purchase.

Meanwhile, upselling is a strategy where you tell your customer to make an upgrade.

  • Cross-selling: “Would you like fries with your meal?”
  • Upselling: “Would you want to upgrade your meal to a large?”

It’s important to understand the basics before moving on to more advanced tips and techniques. Plus, knowing the difference between what is cross-selling and what is upselling will make it easier to strategize in the future.

Click to read Cross-Selling.

2. Best Cross-Selling Sales Tips for Retailers

female customer standing with a chemist | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | crossselling

In the retail industry, we want to make the most out of the foot traffic that walks through our doors. An example, if a customer orders a slice of apple pie, a good cross-selling strategy is to offer an extra scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Cross-selling isn’t about deceiving your customers into making unnecessary purchases. Rather, it’s about offering the right items that may boost their satisfaction.

At the same time, we want to increase our revenue. The goal of cross-selling should be to find a mutually beneficial deal for both the seller and consumer.

By getting to know just what cross-selling is in retail context, it makes it much easier to incorporate it into retail sales strategy.

Learn more about how retailers can boost their profits through cross-selling.

Click here to read Best Cross-Selling Tips for Retailers.

3. The Ultimate Guide to Sales Data Analysis for Successful Cross-Selling

man pointing at a chart | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling in retail

Cross-selling isn’t a technique you can learn overnight. It takes years of trial and error to develop your own brand of sales.

Plus, it’s important to know that there’s no all-year-round, high-converting sales pitch. It takes intimate knowledge of the customer journey to be able to find the sweet spot that offers both a structure and flexibility in selling.

For example, it might be effective to offer customers an extra cup of cocoa in the winter. However, it won’t be nearly as effective if you do it in the summertime.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Through sales data analysis, you can generate the exact numbers you need to determine the market trend. It’s much easier to create a sales pitch when you know what your target market wants.

Remember: Always strive to create a specific, audience-related sales pitch. Otherwise, it’ll just be another generic pitch customers will ignore.

When you’re selling to everyone, you’re selling to no one. Thus, you should always personalize your pitches based on the niche.

Create a profitable cross-selling sales program by analyzing your sales reports and basing your strategies off data.

Click to read The Ultimate Guide to Sales Data Analysis for Successful Cross-Selling.

4.  7 Tips Your Sales Reps Can Use to Master Cross-Selling and Upselling

speaker at a business conference talking to his audience | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling in retail

The chances of a prospect making a first-time purchase range around 5% to 20%. Meanwhile, it increases to about 60% to 70% if they’re repeat customers.

Cross-selling is a great way to potentially increase your revenue while making your clients happy. However, keep in mind that it’s not some shortcut to make a sale.

Whether you’re looking for some cross-sell or upsell opportunities, the timing is crucial. You and your team need to determine the right time to cross-sell products.

Cross-sell opportunities don’t just happen. Rather, you make them happen.

Perhaps the number one problem sales managers have is training their reps to understand what cross-selling is and how to properly apply it. Every agent has a different style and it can be very time-consuming to allot dozens of seminars for every rep.

While nobody can instantly master it, there is a way to quickly understand the basics of cross-selling. From there, your agents can develop their own cross-selling strategies and find out which works best for them.

Click to read 7 Tips Your Sales Reps Can Use to Master Cross-Selling and Upselling.

5. What Are the Advantages of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling?

car rental assistant giving information to her customer | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling

Both cross-selling and upselling are great sales techniques to boost your revenue. But which among the two should you apply?

The main trick is to strike a balance between them. You have to understand whether your customer wants an upgrade, or if they want an additional service/product to complement their initial purchase.

If you can’t differentiate between these instances, you might simply come off as just another pushy salesman who needs to meet their quarterly quota. That’s why it’s important to ask the right questions.

Instead of bombarding the client with random chunks of information, get to know who they are and what they came for.

There’s a reason why your customer is talking to you. It’s your job to find out what that is.

Click to read What are the advantages of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling?

6. How to Sell More – Cross-Selling and Upselling Examples

group of people having business team meeting | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling

There are basically two ways to boost your revenue: grow your customer base or increase each customer’s transaction value. You don’t necessarily need to pick between the two.

In fact, you should strive to apply both of them through effective marketing tactics.

If you want to increase each customer’s transaction value, you can apply cross-selling. It’s a technique where you entice the customer to make additional purchase on top of their original one.

Another way to increase a customer’s transactional value is by enticing them to upsell.

However, salesmen should know how and when to effectively apply a cross-sell or an upsell. Otherwise, they may just be wasting their time, money, and effort, among other resources.

Plus, a pushy sales pitch might drive the customer away.

It’s vital to understand how and what the consumer audience thinks. From there, you can create industry-specific cross-selling and upselling techniques for your brand.

Click to read How to Sell More – Cross-Selling and Upselling Examples.

7. 6 Cross-Selling Techniques That Will Make Your Customers Spend More on Your E-Commerce

happy woman doing online shopping | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling in retail

The main reason cross-selling doesn’t work is if a customer doesn’t want to spend any more money than what they’ve already spent. Some don’t have the cash for it, while others just don’t see the value of your offer.

Most salespeople make up for this by showing customers how they’ll benefit from an additional purchase. However, this won’t be as easy if you’re running an online store.

E-commerce marketing is difficult since you can’t personally coax the customer into making a purchase. Plus, it’s difficult to ask probing questions since you can’t talk to them face-to-face.

If you want, you can try sending a bunch of emails where you ask about the customer. After that, analyze the results to see how many of them actually responded.

But if you’re like most sales reps, you probably don’t have the time in your day to conduct that experiment. You should go straight to online entrepreneurs and study what marketing tactics work for them instead.

Take a step back to analyze how your shop is doing.

How much traffic does it generate and are you making the most of it? Apply cross-selling examples that work and ditch the ones that don’t.

Click to read 6 Cross-Selling Techniques That Will Make Your Customers Spend More on Your E-Commerce.

8. The Dark Side of Cross-Selling

businesswoman looking out the office window | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | cross sellings

Cross-selling is a quick, effective way to increase your revenue, but keep in mind that it’s not some magic spell to instantly increase your profits. If not managed properly, cross-selling may have adverse effects on your business.

Most businesses cross-sell to all their customers, regardless of who they are. The logic behind this is the revenue you generate from sales will offset the amount you lost in marketing.

It might seem perfect, but it’s actually a flawed strategy. If you’re not careful, this strategy might affect you and your customer relationships.

Contrary to popular belief, sending out multiple emails to every single one of your customers is not the best way to cross-sell.

Rather, you need to weed out the bad apples and narrow down the prospect list. Only then can you begin cross-selling.

If you don’t want to lose thousands of dollars on cross-selling, you need to learn about its disadvantages as well. Focusing solely on its benefits will simply give you a false sense of hope.

Plus, getting to know the disadvantages of using cross-selling in your sales strategies has its perks. It can make it easier for you to take the cons into account in your sales tactics.

Click to read The Dark Side of Cross-Selling.

RELATED: Social Selling And The Law Of Reciprocity

9. Avoiding the Pitfalls of Cross-Selling

businessman marketing strategy | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | cross sellings

Speaking of tackling the dark side of cross-selling, there’s more you need to know about this selling strategy. After learning the pros and cons of cross-selling, it’s time to learn how you can avoid the pitfalls of this marketing strategy.

Every sales manager needs to learn the ins and outs of cross-selling — or any strategy they plan to apply. If they don’t, then who will their reps go to for help?

As a sales manager, you need to understand that the usual Monday pep talk isn’t always going to cut it. You need to actually help your reps reach the numbers.

For example, help your reps create a list of prospects to cross-sell to, then provide them with some cross-sell examples they can imitate. Afterward, you can watch them learn and grow from the lessons you taught them.

It might seem tedious and time-consuming, but it’s effective.

Sales reps hate nothing more than overbearing managers who don’t do anything to help them but expect the numbers to go beyond the quota. If you want to build an efficient, productive team that dominates goals, you should avoid being the type of boss they hate.

This is just one of the many pitfalls of cross-selling to avoid.

Click to read Avoiding the Pitfalls of Cross-Selling.

10. 5 Advantages of Cross-Selling to Existing Customers

happy businessman celebrating | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | cross sellings

Cross-selling is everywhere.

From online stores to fast-food chains, both small- and big-time entrepreneurs apply cross-selling techniques. Even Youtube suggests videos you might want to watch based on your viewing history.

They do these because they know the benefits of cross-selling. But perhaps one of the main reasons salespeople use cross-selling is it strengthens the customer relationship.

If done right, this marketing strategy can make the customer feel as if you sincerely care about them.

A more solid customer base might lead to better brand awareness and higher conversion rates. Plus, it’s also an effective way to generate more leads.

Before you and your team decide to try to cross-sell, take the time to understand its benefits so you know exactly what to expect. It’ll also help you create a solid strategy and pitch tailored to suit your target market.

Although cross-selling has its advantages, make sure it aligns with your business goals. Otherwise, the advantages might be lost on your business and can be used in better timing.

Click to read 5 Advantages of Cross-Selling to Existing Customers.

11. What Is Cross-Selling? – Salesforce EMEA

business strategy organizational charts | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | cross sellings

It’s not enough to know the difference between the different marketing tactics. You need to learn how to actually apply it.

Knowing how to define cross-selling is useless if you don’t know how to use it to promote your brand.

You should also keep in mind that mastering this marketing tactic doesn’t happen instantly.

Don’t lose heart after a few rejections. When you’re working in sales, you should learn how to deal with customers who turn you down.

After all, no marketing strategy guarantees a 100% approval rate.

Overall, the main trick to master cross-selling is to make sincere offers. Take interest in your customers and you’ll know how to sell to them.

Watch out for hints to determine exactly what the customer really needs. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask the customers what they’re looking for.

The best way to know what your customers want is to ask them. Otherwise, you might be going in blind and losing out on both cross-selling and upsell opportunities.

You don’t have to be a master in psychology to decipher consumer behavior. All you have to do is to ask a sincere question.

Most of the time they’ll answer you right away. If they don’t, then they probably really don’t want what you’re offering.

Click here to read What is Cross-Selling?

12. 8 Strategies for Cross-Selling and Upselling Your Current Clients

waitress taking order of her customer | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | crossselling

We know how exciting it is to try out a new marketing strategy. The problem is that most salespeople don’t know what the best way to approach it is.

There are plenty of ways to cross-sell, but it’s not your job to go through every single one of them. Instead, you should learn exactly what marketers and salespeople do to keep customers coming back for more.

Perhaps the easiest way to cross-sell is to target the customers who are most satisfied with your business. For example, if you’re in real estate, get in touch with a client who’s always happy to see you.

You can try to cross-sell to clients who don’t necessarily like you some other time.

The logic behind this is since they are happy with the goods or services they’re receiving, it’s not unlikely for them to make another purchase. The customer loyalty and trust is already there so they are much more likely to be receptive to your suggestions.

Also, don’t be stingy.

Cross-selling is not free. You’re going to spend some money on promos, discounts, free trials, and of course, manpower.

Thus, you should make sure that you have the financial backing to support these endeavors.

You wouldn’t want to lose out on an opportunity to close a sale simply because you hadn’t committed fully into the strategy enough to finance it.

With that said, it will certainly make it much cheaper for you to cross-sell (and upsell) to your current clients. The reason being that you don’t need to spend as much on marketing since they are already aware of your brand.

Click to read 8 Strategies for Cross-Selling and Upselling Your Current Clients.

13. 12 Useful Tips for Successful Cross-Selling

young woman paying with her credit card | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | crossselling

The current level of competition in any industry makes it difficult to acquire new customers. Instead of solely focusing on increasing brand awareness, salespeople can try increasing the number of goods each customer purchases.

If your goal is to reach $1,000, you’ll either need 100 customers to buy $10 worth of goods or get 10 people to buy $100 worth of goods.

With this in mind, take a moment to asses your team’s performance.

Do they deliver by quantity or quality? If they deliver by quality, then cross-selling may be a great marketing strategy to try.

For example, let’s say you’re an insurance agent.

There will be months where it’s almost impossible to get new clients. Thus, you will need to find ways to fulfill your quota without needing to acquire new clients.

Instead of wasting your time prospecting, you can try contacting your current clients.

Ask them how they’re doing and what they’re up to. Your goal should be to identify their existing problem and propose a sound, viable solution — not to simply sell.

Also, try to learn more about your products.

Cross-selling only works if you offer a product that complements the initial purchase. If someone just bought perfume from you, it wouldn’t make sense if you tried to sell them another bottle right away.

Instead, suggest other items which might emphasize the benefits of the perfume they bought.

Think of product bundles or complementary items that you could partner with your products or services. This is one of many efficient tips that will make your cross-selling approach more successful.

Click to read 12 Useful Tips for Successful Cross-Selling.

14. The Importance of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling for Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions

successful businessman clarifying provisions with his colleague | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | crossselling

No matter what industry you work in, it’s important to consider cross-selling as a marketing strategy. It helps generate leads while keeping your current client base satisfied.

Also, while you shouldn’t take rejections to heart, you do have to keep track of them. Make a simple list of clients who turned your offer down and leave a note why they said no.

Ask your entire sales team to do this. At the end of the month, analyze the data to determine what areas you can work on.

If it’s a bad season for you, perhaps you can cross-sell some promos or discounts to encourage your customers. Try to think of ways to conquer the challenges in front of you.

At the same time, make fact-based market projections to help you and your team cope with similar problems in the future.

Also, remember to cross-sell based only on relevant customer experience. Although you want to make a sale, you still need to make sure that you’re offering the right things to your clientele.

After all, any sales strategy for financial institutions should keep customer needs in mind. Otherwise, customer trust, which is crucial in this industry, might be lost.

Click to read The Importance of Cross-Selling and Up-Selling for Banks and Non-Bank Financial Institutions.

15. Why Your Team Can’t Cross Sell (and How To Fix It)

business people giving high fives | Cross Selling And How It Can Drive Growth and Profitability To Your Business | cross-selling | what is cross-selling in retail

One struggle sales managers have is enticing their team to cross-sell more often.

It might be a lack of leadership, assistance, or even compensation. Whatever the case is, you need to take care of your unit if you want to achieve any real progress.

Apart from the basic education and assistance in cross-selling, make sure to reward them properly. That means the incentive shouldn’t be too high or too low.

If the compensation is too low, then your reps won’t bother cross-selling in the first place. On the other hand, if the incentive is too high, the reps might focus too much on cross-selling as a way to earn money.

Focusing on cross-selling as a revenue source instead of being a way to boost the company’s overall performance will have significant repercussions in the organization.

Hence, you need to reward your reps accordingly.

Take a moment to asses your team to determine what you should do to encourage them to perform better. Also, make sure to show them how excited you are to cross-sell as well.

As the manager, it’s your duty to set a good example for your team to follow.

These are just some of the things you can do to improve your team’s cross-selling prowess.

Click to read Why Your Team Can’t Cross Sell (and How To Fix It).

Cross-selling is an important selling strategy that can drive growth and increase the profitability of your business. It’s about maximizing the traffic your business generates through proven strategies.

At the core of all this, it’s important to understand exactly what the customer needs.

The only way your cross-selling strategy will work is if the items you offer are useful to them, so just be patient and really learn to listen to your customer.

Do you want to learn more about cross-selling? Leave your questions in the comment section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 27, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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