Cross-selling is a type of suggestive selling where you attempt to entice the purchaser to buy additional items to the one they’ve already picked. This happens when you go to any store where the cashier asks you if you’d like to buy something more that complements what you’ve purchased.
Cross-selling is very common in stores like Bath & Body Works, Claire’s, and even at fast food establishments. You even see it done at online stores such as Amazon.com where after you’ve put an item into your shopping cart, a recommendation is made below about what other people who’ve made this purchase have also bought.
Cross-selling is an excellent way to improve your customer’s experience as well as boost your bottom line. The revenue generated from cross-selling often exceeds the revenue generated from the first item – that is, if you do it right. You want to push new products to your customers that are complementary to the first product and not competing with the first product.
There are several different types of products you should be aware of.
* Accessories – Products like batteries, plugs, keyboards, book lights, cords, eBook cases, phone cases and warranties, while sold separately do not function as products that can be used on their own. They have to be used with another item to work.
* Competing – A product or service that directly interferes with your customers’ desire to purchase your product or service. This happens on sites like Amazon.com often. You are searching for a Sony TV and you’ll be recommended other brands of TVs. This is very counter-intuitive and not really a good practice.
* Complementary – Products that can be sold on their own but are often sold with another product such as Weight Loss Coaching sold with a weight loss eBook. Either can be sold on their own, but they solve more problems together and complement each other.
* Sets and Bundles – Products that are meant to be sold together but can be sold on their own as well, such as a dress with a matching belt and shoes, or a set of furniture. You can buy the chair alone, but when you see the matching couch you are likely to purchase both. This can sometimes be confused with complementary products and services, but is a good way to cross-sell items by offering a discount on the “set” or “bundle”.
Cross-selling can also encompass partnerships with other businesses. For instance, if you sell weight loss coaching and weight loss eBooks but you don’t actually manufacture pedometers, exercise clothing, vitamins, and diet food, you can still cross-sell by recommending products from other vendors as an affiliate. This can be risky, though, in that once the customer clicks the recommended product they are now a customer of the affiliate too.
As a customer of the affiliate, they will receive cross-sell promotions from the customer too, and this could end up being a competition for limited dollars from one customer. Alternatively, it could end up improving your relationship with the customer because you recommended a product that was perfect for them – thus building trust.
You can choose to cross-sell at the time of purchase, or after a purchase has been complete and your customer is part of your mailing list and sales funnel. You’ve brought them into your funnel with product A, and now you want to promote product B. Product B is related to product A in some way. You may produce product B yourself or an affiliated company may; it doesn’t matter.
You can encourage purchase of product B by further cross-selling techniques like offering to throw in 30 minutes of free coaching about product B. This keeps you connected to the customer even though you’re sending them through the cross-sell to a new company.
As you can see there is a lot to cross-selling, and it is something worth learning a lot about in order to add it to your arsenal of ways to encourage more purchasing from your existing consumers.