Upselling and cross-selling involve convincing a client to spend more money by upgrading a product or service. That may be upselling higher quality or priced products. Or it may involve cross-selling. As defined by SalesForce, “cross-selling involves selling related, supplementary products or services based on the customer’s interest in, or purchase of, one of your company’s products.” Essentially, the customer makes additional purchases, which can make you more profit. Some designers shy away from this opportunity as they do not want to be too pushy and aggressive – which is understandable. But look beyond the opportunity for you to just increase your profits. Instead, we’ll address why upselling or cross-selling can offer added value for your client.
Designers are problem-solvers
First of all, successful designers are problem solvers. Though they may not always realize it, clients come to you to solve problems. Whether it’s refreshing their home or designing a new home that meets all their wants and needs, those are problems to be solved. And you have a unique skillset built to solve those problems.
In addition to their expertise in problem-solving, successful designers have also developed the skill of effective communication and establishing trust.
Successful designers are effective communicators and develop trust. Spend time getting to know your clients. It’s not only important to ask the right questions but to be an effective listener. Remember, knowledge truly is power. Yes, it’s important to clarify the budget and aesthetics but also to understand how the spaces will be used. If you feel a higher-priced product or additional service will be a worthwhile investment for a client, share that information. Let them decide once they have the information.
How can upselling or cross-selling offer added value for your client?
It’s more than just the price of an item
Showing that you value the importance of staying within a client’s budget is obviously important. But it is also important to remember that for most clients it is not just about the price of every item. They want to have the full information from you before they make their decision. That means they want to know why one particular item is more expensive than another, and if that extra cost is worth it. Then they will make their decision based on complete knowledge.
A higher investment now could actually save in the future
In an article from Remodelers Advantage, they describe several products from National Gypsum that would be an upsell but offer long-term savings. For example, their flagship product XP Drywall is something you would want to share with clients for new construction or a remodel. In addition to the traditional advantage of moisture resistance, it also has mold and mildew resistance. Yes, it will mean a larger upfront investment, but you are the expert they trust. So it is important to share how it could save them time, money and possibly their health over the long term. They should be given the information and then have the opportunity to decide if they want to make the investment. Or it might be an example of cross-selling when discussing a client remodel. You might point out that as long as the master bath will be torn out, it might be a good idea to make the changes they wanted to the master bedroom.
Functionality may be worth a higher investment
Maybe you found a family room sofa whose construction and fabric will lead to a higher price. Yet, it’s only fair to share it with the client along with why you recommend they make the extra investment. Remind them that it will get daily use (and abuse!) by their children and animals. Then let them decide whether to go ahead with that selection if they value long-term quality.
Building trust can lead to more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling
Developing trust for the long-term
One of the reasons client onboarding is so important is that you are developing what you hope will be a long-term relationship. Developing trust starts on day one and involves clear communication. Again, that is where listening is so important as well as clarifying that what you “hear” is what they are saying. Having the trust of your clients will not only lead to a long-term relationship but will also lead to ideal client referrals. People recommend people they trust.
Higher levels of trust lead to a higher level of investment
When you have developed a high level of trust, they feel more comfortable with your recommendations. They are more likely to seriously consider higher-priced options for some products. They are also more open to multiple tiers of service you might offer at different price points.
Information has great value to the client
As you share information on higher priced products or services, again, full information is key. After all, you’re trying to make a sale, but also trying to offer benefits to the client. First explain why certain items or services are worth a higher investment. Then suggest areas where the investment could be less. For example, explain why a side table that is only decorative rather than functional can be of lesser quality. This shows that you can spend their investment wisely and are not just upselling. They see there are sensible reasons when you recommend higher priced items or service – you have built trust.
Rather than viewing upselling and cross-selling as just about increasing your bottom line, focus on why it is advantageous for your clients. You may find that your bottom line will increase if you remember the following:
- Focus on building client trust.
- Remember that often more important than price, clients want information as to why they should invest more in a specific product or service.
- Never forget that you are a problem solver. If what you are upselling solves a client’s problem, they will probably make that investment.