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Best Upselling Techniques

Learn what is upselling and how to upsell effectively and boost sales

Upselling is a sales technique where a seller tries to sell more enhanced and expensive products than the product the customer initially decided to buy.

Basically upselling happens when you go to an electronics store intending to buy the chosen model of laptop, but you buy a better and more expensive model, because the seller demonstrated and recommended to buy it.

While companies usually use upselling and cross-selling together, these two techniques are not the same. Cross-selling occurs when you try to sell additional products to the chosen products and upselling is when you try to sell a better version of the product.

Upselling and cross-selling is not a negative action. In reality it is a win-win event where customers get additional value and salesperson increases the revenue.

Here are top tips and tricks of upselling.

Be specific

Client and seller in store

It is important in all your messages and offers use your client's name or use 'you' and 'your'. With upselling this becomes even more vital. If your upselling offer starts with something like 'It is recommended to consider ...' your customers may think that this is not necessarily recommended in this particular case and your recommendation may virtually be objected.

However, if you rephrase it into something like 'I recommend you to consider ...', your customers will perceive your recommendation as a more personalized message and they will be more likely to consider it.

Be prepared

Man gathers big puzzle

If you are going to complete a successful upsell then you need to be prepared before the customer come into your shop. You must be the expert who doesn't need to browse catalogues before making an upsell offer.

Therefore, learn your product mix and all your products. You should know all the features, all details. Nothing destroys the salesperson's credibility more than bad knowledge of the offered products. You should find an upselling item for each product in your product mix, except for the best and most expensive products in the product lines. Moreover, it is good to have a list of the best alternatives as each customer has unique needs and products suitable for upsell may differ.

Show the benefits

Basic car and top version for upselling

Show the upselling product next to the chosen product and make it obvious why the customer should buy the more expensive version. You should be able to demonstrate different features and let your customer try and compare the products.

If you have ever used an online new car configurator tool that allows you to configure your new car then you must know this trick. Usually you can choose several versions of the car model and you can immediately see an image showing how your car will look like. The difference between the most affordable and the most luxury versions is very noticeable and you start thinking that it worth to pay some extra to get a fancier car. This upselling technique works much better than merely listing all additional features of the upgrade.

Be reasonable

Upselling pricing rule

The upgrade should cost just slightly more than the chosen product. If the price difference is very big the buyer will need to go through a longer buying decision and may postpone the purchase or stay with the chosen product. It is recommended upsell products that cost not more than 25% more than the chosen products.

Empower your e-commerce

Products filter for upselling in online store

If you use an e-commerce platform or online shop for selling your goods and services you have a great opportunity to boost your sales. Most of good e-commerce platforms have either built-in upselling tools or some plug-ins for upselling. To setup the system you need to link each item with the corresponding items and set pages on which the upsell box should be shown.

Usually it is better to show this box on the product page and on the checkout page. If there are more than one items in the cart your e-commerce platform should decide on which item to upsell, because it is not wise to bombard your customers with dozens of offers.

It is essential to understand the algorithm of the system and to be able to change customize its settings in order to maximize your revenue from upselling.

If you are not using any e-commerce platform read this article in order to understand the benefits and return on investment of e-commerce and this article about how to choose an e-commerce platform.

Best value or most popular

Subscription packages for upselling

If you can show all versions of your products or services on one pricing page you can give your clients a clue on to which version they should upgrade. This upselling technique is very popular among software retailer where service is available in just several distinct versions.

For example, if there are three versions of the product you can add a label 'Basic version' to the cheapest version. The middle version usually is labeled as 'Best value' or 'Most popular', while the most expensive version can be named as 'Most powerful'. The labels give customers the internal feeling of what they will get with each version and the understanding of which version to consider if they wish to buy a better version.

Add stimulus

Upselling french fries

Adding some kind of stimulus can significantly boost your upselling. You should decide on which stimulus will be the most relevant and effective for your industry and target market.

One incentive that you can consider is offering free shipping, gift wrapping or gift for more expensive versions. Another good option is to offer the bigger or enhanced version at discount prices. For example, fast food restaurants offer big fries for just slightly higher price than the price of small fries. Therefore, the upgrade looks wise for consumers and more big fries are order increasing the revenue for the restaurant.

However, you need to be careful with finding the right size of the discount or other stimulus that will be big enough for customers to upgrade and at the same time will be profitable for your company.

Use instructions

Instruction for printers

Your products is one of the best medium for upselling. Try to mention somewhere on the product that there is a better version of this product and how it is better.

My most favourite example of this delicate upselling technique is an instruction. If your products or services go with an instruction or direction for use don't do different versions of this document different versions of the same product. Use it as a chance to tell your customers about more enhanced versions of the product and describe in detail all additional features and the benefits they give. This technique makes your customers interested in the upgraded versions and increases the probability of upsell during the repeat sell.

Mention on the early stages

Upselling buy cycle

Your customers must be prepared to your upsell offers and you should take care of it on the early stages of the buying process.

For example, you sell vacuum cleaners and your customer's intention is buying a basic version. You start your sale, describe all features, demonstrate the product, the customer agrees to buy it and you say that there is a better version of the vacuum cleaner. At this moment your customer will be surprised and think something like 'Where did this offer come from?' or 'Why didn't the salesperson mention it earlier?'. In this case your upselling will have little chances for success and can even harm the sale of initially chosen product.

Therefore, you should mention all versions that you are going to upsell on the early stages. This allows your customers to understand their options and to position them according to the price or features. In this case your upsell offers will be expected and have more chances for success.

Don't push it too hard

Man pressing red button

Keep your upselling activities limited and don't push them too hard. Customers don't like to be bombarded with many upsell offers and may start objecting them. Your credibility may drop and you your customers can refuse buying from you at all. In order to avoid this try to make your upselling offers in such a way that your customers will perceive them as a help in making the right decision.



Downselling means offering simpler and cheaper versions of a product to customers who are not going to buy the initially chosen product. This is completely opposite to upselling, but it can increase sales and brand loyalty. You need to be very delicate when downselling as you need to find out your customer's budget and offer cheaper products without offending the customer.

Closing notes

All these upselling tips and tricks are powerful and increase revenue of your company. However, you should find techniques that work the best for your company and try to focus on implementing them.

Read more about Upselling:

10 powerful examples of upselling online by Jack Simpson

Super Sales Strategies: Quick Tips for Upselling And Cross-Selling by Jerry Low

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