Cross selling is motivating customers to buy additional products related to their current purchase. The right cross selling strategy can significantly increase sales thousands of dollars and build customer loyalty at the same time. Some cross selling tips work better for different businesses, including online, brick-and-mortar shops, and startups looking to maximize their selling opportunities.
Here are 20 cross sell tips and techniques for sales representatives.
Cross selling efforts earn online shops more conversions when used on the checkout page. People tend to add last-minute items in their cart when they are given product suggestions relevant to their pending purchase. This strategy is most effective if suggested products seem like they were “naturally placed,” meaning they make sense, and customers will not feel put off by them.
1. Identify Related Items for Your Big-ticket Products
Find your flagship products or big-ticket items and pair them with directly related products. These include items that your customers would find they need to enhance the features they are looking for in your main product. Once you have your list, you can decide how to place them.
A general guideline for cross selling product placement is that it’s easier to pitch “low cost” products and smaller accessories that cost 10% of the main product at checkout. High-ticket items and larger accessories that cost 15% to 50% of the main item will sell better if displayed on the product page.
“Leveraging the product detail page and “pairing” a product with another product can help. For example, add an evergreen product or a strong selling product to the product detail page of a less popular product. This will drive customers to consider the more popular option along with the less popular one. At a minimum, you are keeping the customer engaged and maximizing conversion potential as customers get deeper into your product catalog. At best, a customer will purchase the less popular product and add the more popular product to it, driving up units per transaction (UPT) and average order value (AOV) in the process.”
―Jeff Deisner, Chief Customer Officer, Branded Online
2. Use Social Proof to Your Advantage
Social proof refers to using online feedback from satisfied customers to help your business. The main objective is to build trust with online buyers considering your products. To help with cross selling, you should reference positive online feedback for your products to encourage sales. Use phrases such as “customers also bought,” “Shop the look,” “You may also like,” or “popular related products” to encourage shoppers to buy.
Social proof provides you with the easiest persuasion strategy to deliver a compelling offer in a format that consumers trust the most. The customer reviews and expert feedback show your potential buyers how popular your products are. It also allows you to demonstrate how these products can make their lives easier and enhance the performance of the main product they are purchasing.
3. Limit the Number of Product Recommendations
Limiting the total number of options you try to cross sell is a sound practice, especially for small businesses. Business owners sometimes forget to exercise restraint and display a long list of additional products customers can purchase. When this happens, buyers can become overwhelmed with side offers that they abandon their shopping cart altogether. They start looking more closely at product brands and wonder if they can get a much better deal if they browse some more.
The ideal number of cross selling offers on a page is three. This gives just enough window in the checkout stage to increase the customer’s attention span and your conversion ratio. You’ll want to hand-pick your offers so that they include products that fit the customer without taking focus away from the products in their cart.
4. Focus on the Total Price at Checkout
Most shoppers have a budget in mind even before they go to an online store. This becomes the basis of their buying decision, assured that their choice is the best balance between quality and their budget. Naturally, it will be difficult to convince buyers to purchase cross sell products that will push them way beyond what they expect to pay. To get buyers to consider adding the products you recommend, you’ll need to base your recommendations on the total price at the checkout stage.
When a shopper is anchored to a price range, you need to show small products so that they won’t be discouraged from completing the purchase. It’s better to make it easy for them to add low priced items to their cart instead of trying to convince them to pay more than what they originally wanted to spend. The reality is that even if customers do complete the purchase, chances are, the experience will not motivate them to become loyal customers. As a basis, try to keep your suggestions below 60% of what’s already in their cart.
5. Use Tools That Determine Customers’ Buying History
Maximizing the sales of products you plan to cross sell requires the ability to know which merchandise will fit customers best. When you only have a limited time to gain the buyer’s attention before they complete their purchase, you need your suggestions to be on point. What can help is a reliable customization tool to make sure your online shop provides the best match to your customers every time.
Pipedrive is a customer relationship management (CRM) software that provides you with a visual pipeline so you can nurture your customers well into the point that they’re ready to accept cross selling pitches. It’s easy to set up and customize and is intuitive to use, which makes it perfect for businesses focused on moving sales opportunities through their sales pipeline. Visit Pipedrive for your free trial.
6. Know Your Market & Personalize
Your ecommerce website might not be able to carry content as a blog can, but it doesn’t mean your message can’t be as strong. Content personalization will go a long way in presenting your products and gives you a much better chance of making a sale. The key is to find the right time and place for employing personalized content.
Here are some personalization strategies you can try:
- Use your customer’s name
- Use words like you, your, and yours
- Personalize a widget like a bubble that appears on different pages of your website.
- Personalize a web part like banners on your website.
Using your customer’s name will easily attract their attention, and using you, your, and yours help make the shopper visualize ownership of the products you’re cross selling. Personalizing a widget or a web part is useful when you want to remind customers of the product that’s relevant to items that are already in their shopping carts.
For brick and mortar retail stores, effective cross selling is about creating strategies that will help you get the most out of your store’s foot traffic. Your aim is to maximize sales of your high-tier, low priced, old stock, and new merchandise before you have to mark it down. At the same time, you also want to make your customers feel that you’re giving them more value for their money. This is important if you want to widen your customer base and build customer loyalty.
7. Showcase Items Prominently in the Store
Presentation plays a key role in creating more sales. Simply put, if customers are not able to see your merchandise, they won’t know that items they are looking for are available for them to buy. In the same way, complementary items and common pairings should be displayed prominently in your store. This helps customers visualize how the pairings work together and motivate them to make the purchase.
Items that you frequently cross sell should always be displayed together, or at least near each other. For example, you could display blazers and include a matching tie or place your sock section beside your shoe section. Aside from minimizing the risk of losing customers while they try to search for products they need around your store, you will also impress your buyers with this smart and sensible customer service strategy.
“Use point-of-sale [POS] displays to attract attention and place them near to complementary products. For example, you can set up a bread display in the meat section in a supermarket, which makes it the only bread product in the area. If it were to be placed in the bread section, it would have to compete with the other bread brands. By utilizing this strategy, you’ll bring more attention to the brand with point-of-sale display and increase sales by making bread the only complementary product in the section.”
―Stan Tan, Digital Marketing Manager, Selby’s
8. Train Your Sales Staff on Pairings
A brick-and-mortar retail store’s biggest asset is its staff, and its role in boosting cross selling product sales is key to a better bottom line. One of the best cross selling tips for brick-and-mortar shops is to train their sales staff on product knowledge continuously. They should have the ability to recall a broad selection of complementary items in the store. Additionally, they need to have the skills to analyze a customer’s needs and come up with personalized suggestions for each one.
The goal is to provide personalized customer service while cross selling products. This should be a crucial part of your sales staff’s training. Create role-play exercises in which your sales team can practice scenarios with different types of customers. This activity should help strengthen their product knowledge and customer service skills, including the ability to customize and promote complementary products. Make sure your employees can justify their selection and make them explain their logic. They will also need to have a solid grasp of your store’s layout.
9. Ask Probing Questions
Another skill that your sales staff needs to know is how to ask probing questions. This is what will help them truly understand the customer’s needs and suggest the most appropriate product to cross sell. While this might seem like a very simple thing to do, it’s important to note that customers can become sensitive and leave the store altogether if a salesperson is either too aggressive or too passive.
Teach your reps to ask probing questions throughout the sales process. Their training should include knowing the right time and the right approach for asking probing questions. It should also teach them how to notice behavioral and verbal cues that can lead them to identify the right products and services for the customer.
10. Improve Transparency at the Checkout Counter
Customers are hesitant in purchasing products they didn’t intend to buy because they are not equipped with enough information to make last-minute decisions. Those who are more conscious of their budget might not find any interest in getting more products at the checkout counter. However, if you upgrade your POS system to include customer-facing displays, buyers will be able to understand how these products are helping them to save more money.
Vend is a retail POS system that’s fast and easy to use with any Mac or PC. It offers a customer-facing display, so buyers can visualize the benefit of purchasing the products you’re cross selling quickly. Let customers into your world with Vend display.
11. Show Added Benefit of Complementary Products
Nowadays, customers who walk into your store have already taken the time to do research online about the products they are coming in to buy. This can be an advantage to a well-trained salesperson because it becomes easier to help the customer visualize the benefits of a complementary product. We say visualize because retail store owners shouldn’t rely on product specs and features that customers will rarely take time to read.
The human mind is more responsive to stories or images, so you need a more visual strategy when trying to cross sell. Clothing apparels use mannequins to display outfit suggestions, and grocery stores often showcase taste tests for food products. This gives customers an idea of the added value that your products can provide.
“When you and your team develop a strategy for cross selling a product or service to a client, you should produce a few concrete or projected revenue generations or some other tangible benefit that will be beneficial for them before you pitch. Having the data gives you the upper hand in the situation and proves to the client that there’s an actual value of the added service. For example, you can use competitive analysis to showcase other companies who are using these services as a way to stay on top of their competition.”
―Tina Andes, MBA, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Rank Media Agency
12. Reward Customers for the Added Purchase
Giving away a reward or incentive can increase your cross selling conversion rate. For ecommerce businesses, this usually comes in the form of free shipping or discounts for certain volume or dollar value of the purchase. For brick-and-mortar stores, you can go beyond discounts and use your creativity to offer unique incentives in exchange for additional purchases.
Here are some strategies you can try:
- Give a free gift instead of a discount
- Start a loyalty program
- Offer your products at a limited time
Adding a fear of missing out element to your cross sell items will make customers feel more motivated to buy. For loyalty programs, make sure that it’s as personalized as possible. Create structured opportunities where perks are based on buying patterns. Train your sales team well on loyalty offerings so they can use them effectively in their cross selling efforts.
13. Stay Connected With Customers After Sales
It’s not unusual to find cross selling opportunities after the customer has already made and enjoyed a purchase. This is why after-sales service should be an important part of a retail store’s activities. Keep in mind that knowing when and how to suggest your product will determine how effective your strategy is in boosting sales.
Customers who call in requiring assistance are usually focused on resolving issues they’re having with their purchase, so it’s best to help them resolve their concerns before suggesting a new product. Salespeople who engage their customers with follow-up calls should make sure that they are already prepared with products that best fit that particular customer. They can do this by using tools to analyze buying behavior before making their call.
14. Use Round Numbers When Appropriate
The psychology of pricing often emphasizes how customers are attracted to products with “just-below” price tag amounts (for example, $29.99); they often buy these instead of items with prices that are rounded (like $30). When it comes to cross selling, show customers that they are getting more value for their money using rounded amounts. This increases the chance that they’ll buy the higher-priced alternative even when placed side-by-side with products sporting “just-below” price tags.
This is the advantage of being able to personalize your messaging. In your marketing emails, displays, and through your sales staff, you get to show added value to your customers beyond $19.99 price tags. Instead, you can tell customers things like, “For only $10 more, here are the additional benefits you’d get.”’ The easy comparison makes it more likely they’ll accept the added purchase.
Cross selling is one of the best ways to increase revenue for a fraction of the cost, especially for startups who do not have as deep of a budget for marketing compared to established corporations. For the most part, cross selling only works if you’re already getting a decent stream of sales. Still, there are effective tips that can provide you with results even if you get very little to no sales at all.
15. Suggest More Products Before Confirming a Purchase
With startups, it’s best to start with simple cross selling strategies. One way to do this is to suggest product upgrades as the customer checks out. This can be done by in-store personnel, as well as suggested product recommendation panels or pop-ups in e-commerce stores. You can also make use of point of sale displays to feature complementary products.
For smaller startups like single-person consultancy businesses and homemade or handcrafted product stores, you can still offer personalized suggestions. If you own a small store, you can use your expertise to provide reliable, trustworthy product suggestions. Certain platforms offer plugins like Facebook Messenger that allow you to communicate and present personalized product suggestions to customers.
16. Create Limited-time Offers
There’s nothing like a little sense of urgency to get customers off their seats and taking action. This is something you can also use to make the most out of cross selling. You can present limited-time deals with popular items along with a customer’s original purchase to get them thinking. Be sure to stress the fact that the deal does expire eventually.
Other great ideas that can increase the sense of urgency are:
- Flash sales/Today’s deals
- “Special Day” discounts
- “Last Chance” promos for customers who previously showed interest
- Clearance sales
- “While stocks last” special offers
You may try giving them up to six hours to decide if they want the deal or not. Just don’t make the timeline too short as it may stress out the customer, or too long that the offer may lose the sense of urgency altogether.
“In my experience, the number one process for maximizing cross selling conversions is to make an offer and then, set a deadline. Make your cross selling offer as enticing as possible; then, start the clock. FOMO [fear of missing out] helps close more sales than just about anything I’ve observed. Sure, your cross sell offer has to be something they desire, but setting a deadline and creating urgency is what moves the needle.”
―Mark Brinker, President, Mark Brinker & Associates
17. Offer More Convenience
At the heart of an attractive offer is customer convenience. This is where the concept of getting one’s money’s worth bears the most weight and guides a shopper’s buying decision. Make sure to present how your cross selling product adds convenience to the customer and that this feature outweighs the few extra dollars they will have to spend.
For example, if you offer a subscription-based tool or service, sell the option on its ability to improve the clients’ experience for a few dollars more than what they’re already paying. Emphasize that they’ll get more advanced features by upgrading their current plan.
18. Focus on the Problem
When trying to cross sell more expensive services to your clients, don’t be too blunt about the whole “you’ll need to spend more if you want more results” message. Sounding like a profit-focused business often won’t do your brand any good, especially for startups. Choose to repackage your message in such a way that you show how much you want to solve a problem.
For example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer or marketer that’s just starting out, you may already have a set of predefined service packages for clients, ranging from entry-level to premium packages at different price points. To convince customers to purchase a complimentary service, your message should focus on the solutions that this service can provide to enhance the value of what they originally bought.
19. Cross Sell Through Retargeting
Retargeting is a great technique for capturing follow-up sales from customers who have previously purchased from you. The trick to implementing this technique successfully is to track customer purchase history and segment your retargeting based on the audience and consumer behavior.
“Retargeting is a great technique for capturing follow-up sales from customers who have previously purchased from you. The trick to implementing this technique successfully is to track customer purchase history and segment your retargeting based on the audience and consumer behavior. Offer specific cross selling promotions based on the buying behavior or purchase history of the customer. For example, a hair salon could cross sell their shampoo or hair care products to customers who had a cut or style but left without making a product purchase.”
―Alex Membrillo, CEO, Cardinal SEO Company
20. Offer a Free Trial
For startups selling digital products, a free trial is an opportunity to prove how good your product is. You should provide clients with limited time or limited capability offers, but just enough to show what your product can do. However, it’s also important that you plan out your free trial program carefully.
Think about how long it will take for your clients to see the benefits of your product, the basic features you need to include in the free trial package as well as the length of time you can financially support a free trial. With people putting more value in experience while buying, allowing your clients to test your product is one of the best ways to win them over.
Businesses must attract customers to stay competitive, and cross selling is a great strategy for standing out. Learn the best practices that make cross selling effective, and you’re bound to build customer loyalty that will keep your business thriving.
Got more cross sell tips worth sharing to our readers? Let us know in the comments.