Progressive company's understand the power of cross-selling and recognize it as a critical
component for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth.
What is cross-selling? Cross-selling is nothing more than team-
selling with other specialists within your company, all working in
partnership on behalf of the customer's best interest. It's a proactive, ongoing sales process designed to provide your existing
customers with a full range of your company's products and services.
The good news is, cross-selling is one of the
most profitable and least risky endeavors a company can undertake. The
bad news is, if your cross-selling program is not properly
administered and monitored you run the risk of losing customers and
creating conflict within your sales team.
Not surprisingly, two of the key elements that
make cross-selling work are trust and convenience. Your customers
already possess a degree of trust in your company, and this can be
converted into additional sales that are not directly related to their
existing products. Some might suggest that customers are irritated by
cross-selling and perceive it as an aggressive sales approach.
Interestingly enough, consumer research indicates that the reverse is
actually true. Most customers prefer a full spectrum of products and
services and appreciate the convenience that is provided through a
comprehensive cross-selling approach.
You Like Fries With That? While you may not have recognized it was
happening, the last time you ordered from a fast food restaurant there's a good chance you experienced cross-selling. Cross-selling is a
well-established and highly effective marketing practice utilized by a
wide variety of industries, ranging from financial institutions to
fast-food restaurants. When you cross-sell related products and
services to your existing customers, you are making a smart decision.
Developing a systematic approach to
cross-selling brings in additional revenue with relatively low expense
and effort. Marketers wrack their brains and develop expensive
advertising campaigns solely designed to get prospects to focus on
their offers. When you cross-sell to existing customers, you don't have to compete for their attention. In addition to generating new
sales, cross-selling promotes customer loyalty and as a result, keeps
competitors at arms length and your business on the books.
Makes Cross-Selling Work? Cross-selling begins with uncovering
your customer's needs and laying the groundwork for other specialists to assist you
in the selling process. The best place to introduce your customer to
the concept of cross-selling is during your initial needs analysis
meeting. It's important that you inform your customer early in the needs analysis
process that you do not work alone, but represent one aspect of a team
of specialists all working to help them achieve their goals. When you
cross-sell you don't claim to be the expert, you're more of a partner in the process, guiding your customer toward
another qualified specialist within your company. You are responsible
for setting the tone and preparing your customer for a smooth transfer
to an additional specialist.
Unfortunately, many salespeople fail to do a
thorough “needs analysis” and as a result, frequently do not
identify potential products and services that fall outside of their
area of expertise. Ask questions and take good notes. Ask about their
goals and what concerns them. When you discover an area of potential
need, be certain to ask your customer what steps they have taken, if
any, to address the concern. This collaborative approach also helps
you view yourself as a planning partner. Effective cross-selling is
all about guided self-discovery. Through a series of thought
provoking, open-ended questions, successful salespeople assist their
customers to uncover potential needs.
During the needs analysis interview, I highly
recommend the use of a checklist that incorporates all of your company's products and services. Relying on your memory alone is a poor
business decision, so take the time to jot down key information. The
integration of customer information and behind the scenes paperwork is
essential to facilitate a seamless handoff.
Achieving Cross-Selling Success: When developing a cross-selling
program, it is critically important that everyone in the organization
buys into the philosophy and fully participates in the program. The
foundation of every successful cross-selling program is rooted in a
strong incentive system based on personal recognition and financial
Because of the complexity, there also needs to
be a standardized software tracking system in place to monitor
compliance and coordinate cross-selling activities between
specialists. The true value of any sales program can only be measured
through the customer's eyes. Steps should be taken to actively survey customer satisfaction
throughout the process. Once a company links specialists, business
processes and data they make it easy for their salespeople to act on
behalf of their customers.
Companies that fail to implement an effective
cross-selling program actually do a disservice to their customers and
in effect, leave the backdoor open to their competitors!
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about John Boe.
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