Expand Your Sales With Cross-Selling

Learn how to sell more to your existing customers


Whenever you go to a fast-food joint like McDonald’s you always have that extra side of fries and coke with whatever you order. These add-ons that compliment your burger so well are a part of the cross-selling sales strategy. You are being sold add-on products all the time without even realising it. Many people cannot have pizza without a coke. The add-on coke has become so ingrained in the consumer’s head that it is no longer optional. This is a cross-selling achievement.

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling in simple terms offers a complimentary add-on product to the existing product or service that the customer is purchasing. The buyer here is already interested in buying one of your products. You need to ensure that the add-on product you choose blends well with the existing purchase. Choosing the right product to cross-sell is an art to master.

These complementary products should be such that they meet your customer’s needs. When a customer is buying a phone, products to cross-sell would be a cover and a scratch card. If a consumer is consulting you regarding web designing, content creation and graphic designing would be the perfect add-ons worth offering, as he would need them too. In this way you are offering him an entire website development package.

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Treat your salesperson like you would treat your most important customer, because he is!

- Colleen Stanley

Cross-selling strategies to increase your sales

Just like everything else in the world of marketing and sales, even cross-selling has advanced and evolved over the years. There are several strategies to cross-sell your products. Some are obvious ones. Others, function on a subliminal level.

Offering related products

One of the most evident forms of cross-selling is offering related products/services to customers. This strategy triggers a consumer’s brain to think, “I’m buying this already, and I need that as well.” If your customer is buying tracks for jogging, the related products to offer would be shoes or t-shirts.

Offering discounts and sales on bundles

Selling in bundles is a great way of cross-selling. Do you know when you head out to buy a shirt but are offered a great discount if you buy in a bundle of three? You reassure yourself that this is better than buying one. You convince yourself that buying three offers more value for money than a single shirt. This is an excellent cross-selling strategy to sell more.

Taking an account of the past purchases

The past purchases of your customer are a great and easy way of determining what his or her future purchase will look like. Accounting the past purchase history of the consumer, their interests, and their spending habits will reflect what they are like to buy. These products are the ones you should focus on cross-selling. Amazon offers great add-ons and similar listing, excelling their cross-selling strategy.

Use loyalty programs

Customer loyalty goes a long way. Loyalty programs offer benefits to the customers that always compel them to keep coming back. Clothing brands like H&M have membership programs which give consumers a sense of belonging. If a consumer feels associated and connected with a brand, they are likely to buy more of their add-on products.

Free shipping

Online shoppers are no strangers to the minimum order value to get free shipping. If a customer is buying products worth Rs 800 and free shipping is for cart value above Rs 1200, he or she is likely to make an additional purchase of Rs 400. Most customers prefer making additional purchases to avoid shipping charges.

Offer maintenance services

This cross-selling strategy is usually used in industries where the product/service requires maintenance like cars, smartphones, refrigerators. Nowadays manufacturers offer discounted maintenance during the time of purchase. This ensures that the customer is coming back to them instead of looking for other cheap maintenance options.

Get the whole package

Offering complete packages and hampers is a great cross-selling strategy. It makes the consumer feel that they are getting it all in the same place cost-effectively. This strategy is popularly used in the event management industry where if you book a banquet, you are usually offered catering and decoration services along. Even tourist websites offer great packages where one can book from travelling to hotels to all the sightseeing in between.

Cross-selling tips for all businesses

Cross-selling is a skill to harness. There are several ways to go about implementing the cross-selling strategies in your business. To know better how to implement the above strategies, below are some tips that might be useful-

Know thy customers

When you are cross-selling, you are offering an add-on to the existing product your customer is purchasing. You will be able to do that successfully only when you are well-aware of your customers’ needs and wants. If you don’t have knowledge about what your customer wants, you might miss a great selling opportunity. Conducting research about your customers, asking them about their preferences and asking questions related to their lifestyle will help you to cross-sell better.

Staying updated

We live in a world where things are constantly changing and trending. You need to be well-aware of what is trending and what the majority are leaning towards buying, to create your optimum list of products to cross-selling. Do market research and observe the patterns of the trend to be on your ‘A’ game while selling.

This also means adopting a more customer-centric approach instead of a product-centric one. Earlier, along with smartphones, earphones were a complementary purchase. However, these days people are cross-sold Bluetooth earphones, smartwatches, and AirPods. The only way to succeed in any business is to keep adapting to new technology.

Train your sales staff in cross-selling

Your employees will be the face of your company when they are making sales and bringing in customers. Training them on how to cross-sell effectively will set them in the right direction. Make them understand that cross-selling is not about misleading the customers or being too pushy to sell more. Instead, it is about creating optimum customer satisfaction.

Being proactive

To sell a product, you need to actively pitch-in to attract your customer’s attention. Being alert and an active listener is a way to go about it. Paying attention to your customer will help you to understand them better. Carefully listening and paying attention will increase customer’s satisfaction. Proactively listening will help you understand a customer’s need and know what products to cross-sell.

Use emails for cross-selling

Email has become one of the most powerful tools for cross-selling. Many websites cross-sell by mailing recommendations of add-on products and sale offers. E-commerce apps like Myntra, Ajio and Tata Cliq use this strategy constantly. When a person sees a limited offer in their email, they will tend to impulsively shop promptly. Emails successfully catch a customer’s attention without being too ‘in your face’.

Cross-sell is a great way to increase the sales of your business without expanding your customer base. It does require practice to know the best additional products to offer over the main purchase. Give yourself time and keep experimenting with different cross-selling strategies to find what works and what does not. Most buyers these days are able to figure out the typical sales gimmick. Ensure that you don’t hamper a customer’s trust while cross-selling. To know more about consumer behaviour, read our article on ‘customer buyer behaviour’.

Tanisha Achrekar
Tanisha Achrekar
Tanisha is a Business Writer at Dutch Uncles, she writes on personal finance, management and financial concepts. Her stint includes JP Morgan and Media.net

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