Are you a savvy salesperson, are you Upselling?

Are you savvy at upselling? Have you mastered the art of encouraging your customer to spend that little bit more?

It’s not a hard sell, it’s a way of “helping” the customer by suggesting another product(s) that they may be interested in, before they pay for whatever they intended to buy. It’s a subtle ‘final nudge before we close the deal’ sell, as your customer is either:

a) already at your till (in your store)
b) at the checkout or has added product to their basket (online)
c) is browsing your brochure whilst waiting for an appointment, I’m thinking beauty salon, hairdresser, fitness class.

It’s everywhere, everyone is doing it…. you may not have even noticed

The upsell is everywhere. I was recently on a flight back from a lovely ski holiday, and the first thing everyone does when they’re settled in their seat is to browse the food and beverage brochure and the duty free catalogue. The upsells and multibuys were on every page of ‘café’ menu… the front cover tempts us “buy the snack box and get the wine all for £8”… multibuys inside the brochure…2 soft drinks for £4.50, chocolate bar for £2 if you buy a soft drink, hot drink & biccies for £3.50 ….. £15.20 later – they’d got me!!

I’ve noticed it in Starbucks… ordering my skinny cap, faced with a collection of wafers, cookies, chocolate coins – as well as being asked if I want the ‘special blend’ of coffee (an extra 40p), or a shot of syrup in my latte, and now I get offered a reusable cup.

My dentist does it, offering various mouthwashes, toothbrushes and floss as I’m dribbling at the reception desk.

Tesco groceries site has some wonderful software that reminds you, before final checkout, of the offers that you have missed (pic) showing you the item in your basket, and the other ‘linked’ items that you should be tempted to buy… you know to fully utilise that saving!

Let’s not forget the reusable carrier bag / bag for life… although retailers aren’t meant to profiting from sales of these (profits should be going to good causes), but they are a huge upsell. Who hasn’t realised they have left their stash of bags in the car when they are at the Tesco checkout…grrr!

I think the oldest upsell has to be the shoe polish / cleaner at Clarks… you’re about to spend £40 on school shoes and the lovely assistant reminds you that you really ought to invest in the patent leather protector and cleaner to really get full wear out of your 10 year olds new school shoes. Do you fall for this every time? I know I have!

So how can you do this?

Physical stores

Clever positioning of small (relatively low priced) items at the till. If it’s a rainy day, then umbrellas are a must. If you sell homeware & gifts a great upsell till line is the canvas or nylon reusable shopper – great mark-up and usually the customer sees more value in a pretty or quirky shopper than 5p for a boring plastic bag that will be used as a bin liner next week.

Try it… you could mention the upsell line to your customer (a la Claire’s accessories why do they always offer me neon nail polish?, Card Factory always offer me related products eg balloons if I am buying birthday banners, and WH Smith had a habit of offering me huge bars of chocolate when I bought a magazine!)

Stationery shops can offer pens, fancy paper, stickers to customers…. toy stores can offer pocket money toys, batteries, gift wrap (avoid offering confectionery), fashion shops can offer jewellery, keyrings, small accessories. I’d advise you to choose 2-3 items and focus on these as your weekly upsell item, monitor sales (as they are sales you never would have had), and you will very soon get a feel for what works.

Service businesses – hair, beauty, fitness.

Easy upsells are in selling the products you have used on or with your clients eg. Conditioner, moisturiser or a protein drink. Why not offer them a free sample or a promotion on the item that you’ve used today if they buy today. If they’ve loved it, they’ll buy it. Upselling a product you have used in a treatment or recommend is an easy win….

Online businesses

Now unless you’ve got yourself some fancy software/site, you’ll struggle to do a Tesco, but all is not lost.

Linked items are great for encouraging customers to buy more – template sites such as shopify have a facility and apps to link several products together e.g. if a customer is browsing a red party dress, link co-ordinating handbags, jewellery, shoes to the line.

Other upsell options are a multibuy – this is great for items that customers may buy more than one of e.g. mugs, stationery, scarves, candles, greeting cards, confectionery.

The final upsell is to encourage your customer to spend more, and in exchange they’ll get
a) a free gift
b) a voucher to use on a future purchase (argos do this very successfully at Christmas eg spend £50, get get £5 to spend in Jan, £100, get £10)
c) free postage

Before you set up these offers, first work out what your average spend is. This is your benchmark, and your goal is to encourage your customer to spend more than this.

If your average spend is £33, then set your offer limit at £40-45. This will drive your average order value up.


Next time you’re out shopping, take some time to see what is being upsold & if you’ve taken any offers up! What sort of language did they use? How much pressure did you feel – and this is an interesting one, as sales people do sometimes feel uncomfortable offering products, but treat it as a quick question to your customer “Would you like the matching pen to go with that stationery set? would you like to take up our offer of 3 for 2 on cupcakes?” If the customer says no, that’s fine, just continue with the transaction.

Primark, Smiggle, Top Shop, Boots, Card shops, Matalan, Claire’s are all really great examples of retailers upselling well… take yourself on a little investigation shopping trip and see how it’s done. I’m doing a research trip next week, so will post some good, bad and ugly examples of upselling on my facebook page... make sure you follow my page to see my findings

Want more help with upselling or growing your sales in your business? Why not book in a free consultation call with me >>click here to access my diary<<


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