Cross-selling is the technique whereby you optimize your sales process by selling across your product/service offering. While upselling could be considered as offering the customer more of the same thing (for example, a 12 month contract instead of a 6 month contract, or a large milkshake instead of a regular), cross-selling would be the equivalent of adding a tablet to a mobile contract, or a slice of gateaux with the milkshake. (Anyone else hungry right now?)
Whichever way you slice it, cross-selling makes good business sense. You don’t want to have to book two appointments with a customer to discuss two different products, right? That’s a waste of your time and theirs. Equally, we wouldn’t advise sitting in front of a customer with your product brochure, flipping through it page by page to see what takes their fancy. That’s not going to win you any sales.
The key to increasing cross-selling in sales meetings is to be prepared and seize on opportunities as they come up. But what does this mean in practice? Let’s take a look.
Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%
What does the customer need?
Whatever your sales process, this question should always be your starting point. As a consultative seller, it’s important to put the customer first. Aim to understand their business and - crucially - their challenges in order that you can become a solution provider. Remember, you’re not selling a product or service - you’re solving their problem.
When you approach sales from a consultative perspective, you don't need to think about cross-selling and upselling strategies per se; it’s all just part of the process. Talk to the customer, ascertain what it is they need and then make recommendations accordingly.
In order to recommend, you first need to research
Researching your customers is always good practice. Check out their website, their competitors’ website, your contact’s LinkedIn activity, what’s going on in the groups they are part of, is there any recent news about the company, and so on. A quick flick through all of this should give you some insights as to what the company is working on, what they’re facing, what their industry is up against, any action they’ve taken so far to address those problems, how their competitors are dealing with it, etc. etc. Having done your research, you should have some idea of how your company can add value and you can go to the meeting prepared knowing how to cross sell the solutions you offer to match their specific challenges.
Keep an open mind
Even after your research, it’s important to keep an open mind. You might not have the complete picture so it’s best not to begin the conversation by telling them what their challenge is and how you can help them overcome it. Listen first - really listen - and make sure you have understood their situation before offering them advice. This is your opportunity to win their trust, so don’t blow it by trying to push solutions that don’t fit their business.
Be prepared to follow the conversation, wherever it takes you
One of the difficulties that salespeople have traditionally experienced with cross-selling in a meeting is that they can’t always answer questions as they arise. They don’t have the right content to follow the sales conversation, so they have to resort to fudged answers or a weak ‘I’ll have to get back to you on that’.
Relying on print collateral is a serious limitation to cross-selling, since for most businesses it’s not possible to carry every single brochure and case study in your briefcase. Even if you have what you need, finding the right resource at the right time is really tough, especially in a high-pressure sales meeting.
Digital sales collateral has made all that much easier, but it’s not enough to simply have all the files stored on your laptop. In order to serve its purpose your sales collateral needs to be:
- Easy to find
- On brand
- Easy to share
That’s where a Sales Enablement Platform can help you out. Marketing creates the content and stores it within the app. It’s on-brand; it’s up-to-date; it’s approved for use. Salespeople can then access all that material on their mobile device, wherever and whenever they need it and present it direct to the customer. And because all the content is in one place, it doesn’t matter that you went into the meeting to talk about one thing, and halfway through realized you could sell an additional solution - everything you need is right there.
Bonus tip for iPresent users
In iPresent you can create playlists - seamless presentations assembled from any of the content stored on the app, built to suit your sales scenario. These work for all kinds of situations. You could make the ‘elevator pitch’ playlist, the 30-minute sit-down playlist, the ‘A’ playlist, the ‘B’ playlist, the ‘A+B’ playlist - you get my drift. If you see commonalities among your customers that frequently combine two or more of your offerings, it makes sense to produce a playlist that fits this scenario. That way, when a customer starts leading the conversation in a different direction, you will be ready with the content that answers their questions.
Preparation breeds confidence
Sales is a confidence game. Knowing you have all the resources you need to convince your customer is a huge confidence boost. Add this to the consultative selling mindset and cross-selling becomes simply part of the sales process.
If you’re interested to learn about our Playlists feature and how we can help your salespeople cross-sell with confidence, why not arrange a personalized demo.