What is Cross Selling and How Can It Boost your Small Business Revenue?

What is Cross Selling and How Can It Make You More Money?

Getting a customer to spend more money on your goods and services is a priority for small business owners and cross selling can help you do that. This sales technique is designed to get a client to buy something that’s directly related to the purchase they’ve just made.

What is Cross Selling

Here’s an example. If you walk into an electronics store to buy a new computer and the salesperson asks you if you want to upgrade the memory, that’s cross selling. In the digital world, the options that prompt you with a “customers also bought this” type tag have been designed as part of a cross selling technique.

If you’re wondering how to implement cross selling into your sales toolbox, there’s some strategies that brick-and-mortar and online retailers can use to get started.

Cross Selling Strategies

Showcase Accessories

Some of the best strategies can be implemented quickly whether you’re a digital, brick-and-mortar or even omnichannel outfit. For example, if you own an electronics store, having accessories close to bigger ticket items is a great way to cross sell.

You might stock your shelves with memory cards, charging cables and upgraded batteries and place them around the display units that have computers in them. If you’re an online only store, you can build links to separate pages and use keywords like computer accessories.

It’s also possible to put a tab at the top so the navigation for your users is simple and accomplishes your cross selling objectives.

Give Examples

You don’t have to look far for examples. In fact, the next time you’re up for fast food at McDonald’s you’ll run right into some cross selling when the counter person asks you if you want a dessert with your food or if you’d like the latest “meal deal.”

Keep in mind you need to train your employees on the real value and techniques behind cross selling if you’ve got a physical location. For example, people selling windows for home renovation companies should stress the added savings customers will get on their heating and/or cooling costs.

Separate Lanes

If you need a little more convincing about how successful this technique can make you, Amazon reportedly gets 35% of their sales from cross selling. That number stretches back to 2006.

It’s important to keep cross selling and up-selling in their separate lanes. They are two different sales techniques and in an upsell you’re trying to sell the client something more expensive and upgraded.

For our computer store example, an upsell would be trying to sell your customer a  computer with better built in features like a touch screen. Both techniques are useful ways for small businesses to increase their bottom line.

Here’s a few more cross selling techniques that are easy to implement and work well.

Get the Timing Down

Patience is one of the cornerstones of cross selling if you’re using emails or other digital techniques. Getting the timing right means understanding how to schedule a series of emails to sell other services or goods. For example, if you’ve sold web design services to a client, you might want to follow up with another email a week later on the importance of good content and copywriting.

If you look at the analytics involved generally in the open, click and reply rates specifically you can automate the system and tweak the timing.

Bundle Items

Bundling items together so you can cross-sell them as a package is as easy as using the “frequently bought together,” method online. Offering a discount on packages that complement the existing services is a method you can use in a brick-and-mortar location.

Use the Right Language

Engaging your customers so that you can cross-sell to them is one of the techniques you can’t afford to miss. When you remember one of the tools that makes cross selling successful is engagement, you’ll be able to better understand the best kind of language to use.

The language of cross selling communicates on a personal and individual level. If you use words like yours and you, you’ll be helping the shopper to imagine how they might use the goods or services.

Set Limitations

It’s good to remember that scarcity is one of the cornerstones of making any kind of sale. If you put a time limitation on an offer that you want to resell, you’ll be helping the client to make a quick decision.

Reporting that there’s only four backup chargers left that go with that smart phone your client is buying is a good example.

One of the other tips that you can use to enhance your cross selling efforts is user generated content. There are still lots of e-commerce businesses that struggle with gaining customer loyalty. Having reviews and customer testimonials on the website can help smooth any doubts over and help your cross selling efforts in return.

Know Your Target Market

Revisiting your target market can help you better understand how to cross-sell to them. Of course you’ve more than likely already done that by now, but it’s a good time to check social media feeds and analytics to see what can be tweaked.

This type of information can help you stock your shelves and position your inventory and links on a website.

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

2 Reactions
  1. If you know your customers well, there are usually fairly obvious related needs when someone purchases your product. If you sell a mattress, they probably need sheets, pillows, etc. If you sell grass fed beef, they might need a new seasoning or cooking utensils. Just don’t stretch too far or it gets spammy.

  2. Cross selling is recommending related items. It works especially well if you manage to hit your market’s needs.