Would you like fries with that? Could I interest you in the premium package? You’ve heard these questions and others like them. They are classic examples of the upsell, and not only are they effective when orchestrated correctly, they are integral to the continual and compounded building of a brand.

As you brand and market your business, remember that there must always be a next step. It doesn’t have to be an upsell every time; however, your customers should never have to wonder [in vain] what’s next or feel that they’ve reached the end of the road with your brand. Instead, they should feel like their customer journey with your business is continually improving…with more exciting, more satisfying, more enjoyable experiences always on the horizon.

So let’s talk about how you can do this for your customers, whilst increasing our business’s profit at a steady clip.

Tips for Building an Effective Upsell Strategy

  • Build trust with the first sale. One of the biggest deciding factors in the success of an upsell isn’t the upsell at all…it’s the way the customer felt about the first sale. Any initial sale is a leap of faith; people are deciding if they can trust your brand and if they should “try it on for size.” Keep your promises. Over-deliver. Make yourself and/or your customer service team readily available. Stay in touch and offer support. Your customers will use this experience as they decide whether they will continue with your brand, and if they’re delighted, you will barely have to upsell them. They’ll want to know what’s next.
  • Start new customers with products that suit their needs. There seems to be a tendency among salespeople to always want to start new customers with their baseline product or service. When, in fact, people will be at different stages of expertise and in varying stages of need when they come to you. Some are beginners; others have started a process with another brand and weren’t satisfied; yet others need an advanced product because they are already moderate experts. Some have more money to spend—and tell you that from the onset. Others are looking for a bargain, and don’t have much time or money to splurge. True, some of these people won’t be your ideal customers. Yet, every brand should have degrees to which they can begin (and continue) to serve people. Determine where each customer is starting from, and upsell him or her from the start if necessary.
  • Aim to satisfy customers, not pad your pockets. I say it all the time: Aim to serve, rather than sell, and you’ll end up selling. When you honestly assess each customer’s needs at the time of the sale and beyond, and provide them with information about the product(s) and service(s) that will suit them best, you will not only be upselling on a regular basis, you will be consistently solving problems and filling needs—making even a sideways glance toward the competition Not every customer is ready for the upsell. Realise this. Pay attention to clients as they express their needs. Give them what they need…rather than what you want them to have. This will practically guarantee a number of future upsells, not just the one that scares them away.
  • Make it clear to the customer that they’ve asked for the upsell. Random attempts at upselling are not only transparent, they are insulting. If your customer is a single working woman on a budget, and she needs a two-door economy car—but you sidestep her needs in order to show her the new Mercedes Benz sedan—she’s going to run to the competition. Instead, allow the customer to ask for something more. This may come in the form of a direct question, but more than likely, it will come as an innuendo, or a statement of dissatisfaction or a yearning for something more (even if that “something” isn’t named directly). Point out this need or aspect of dissatisfaction and ask your customer if they would like you to help them to solve that problem, improve their life or build their business. Any customer will be receptive to the upsell if they believe they are the one who has asked for it…so give them the room to do that.
  • upsell-strategyGive them options. No customer wants to feel that they’re being backed into a corner or being bullied onto a one-way street. Instead, they want to know that when they decide to upgrade, they have choices….and that you will give them the power to make their choices on their own. You’re simply there to guide them through the process and answer their questions. Choice is empowering. Give this to your customers, and they will be more likely to make a choice than to walk away.


Your unique, branded upsell strategy should be created with only your ideal customer in mind. He or she has specific needs and preferences, and when you take the time to get to know what they are, you will create a strategy to upsell more effectively. As a brand, you will need to create a plan—a flowchart of sorts—laying out your upsell options. Use the products you already have in place to take people to their next step, and if you feel that there isn’t a good upsell option for a particular stage or need, then create one. Write that book. Publish that magazine. Host that webinar. Create that club. Do whatever is necessary to take your customers higher and higher, to a progressively more successful relationship with your brand.

Need more help with upselling? Or selling in general? Then why not join the Brand Builders Club? It’s a How to Build a Brand organisation established for freedom-focussed owners of purpose-driven businesses who want to network, challenge themselves to build their brands on a daily basis, and join a mastermind community that gets things done. Click here for more information.

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