​3 Upselling Techniques for Your Service Business

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Upselling presents an opportunity for you to increase your bottom line with minimal effort and next to no risk.

“Buy 2 get 1 free”

“Frequently bought together”

“Do you want fries with that?”

“Other customers also bought this”

“Add this to your order for only a few dollars more”

You probably get the idea, but for the sake of clarity, here’s the definition of ‘upselling’ from BusinessDictionary.com:

A sales strategy where the seller will provide opportunities to purchase related products or services, often for the sole purpose of making a larger sale.

If you don't ask, the answer will always be no

Think about all the upsells you encounter day-to-day. On billboards, as you shop online, via email, at check-out counters, at the drive through.

How many times do you say yes to an upsell? Maybe you’re happy that a feature or product you didn’t think of was brought to your attention, or maybe the upsell sold you on indulging a bit.

When you say yes to an upsell, you’re getting value and the company offering the upsell makes a sale with minimal effort. They just asked you a question! And when you say no, there are no hard feelings—it’s low risk. You both go on with your day.

In other words, upselling presents an opportunity for you to increase your bottom line with minimal effort and next to no risk. A no-brainer—so here are 3 techniques for upselling your services like a pro.

1. Provide real value

Upselling can be pushy—picture a car salesmen trying to sell you on a sports car when you asked for a compact commuter vehicle. But upselling doesn’t have to be that way.

The key to avoiding the pushy factor is to focus on providing real value to your customers, so focus on a few things when offering an upsell:

Speak to your customer's original need

Your customer already has a need in mind, so make them aware of other services that might help them further fulfill that need.

If a customer calls your lawn care company to book a lawn aeration in the spring, consider offering them services that are a rif on the theme of spring cleaning, such as such as cleaning up dead grass and leaves or tree and hedge trimming.

Avoid offering them totally unrelated items. For example, if they call your HVAC company to clean their vent system, don’t push hard on selling them a new air conditioner.

Help solve a problem

When a client calls you it’s because they need help solving a problem. Their fridge is broken and they don’t know how to fix it. Their home is a mess and they don’t have time to clean. Their office windows are grimy and they don’t have the ability to rappel from the roof and squeegee them.

You are in a position to help them solve or eliminate a problem, so keep that in mind and upselling will come naturally.

If adding on an additional service will extend the life of their fridge, keep their hardwood floors shiny longer, or keep their office windows spot free then let them know! Chances are they’ll say yes and thank you for making their lives easier.

Act like the expert you are

Tips 1 and 2 speak to your position as an expert in your field. You know better than your customers how best to handle the situation they’re calling you about, so step up and provide expert advice.

If a customer books you to repair their water heater, you know best that regular maintenance will help them avoid a costly repair down the road. Fill them in.

At the same time that you’re genuinely helping them make a better long term decision, you just might turn a one-time customer into a contract customer. Win-win!

Speak to your customer’s original need, help solve a problem, and lend your expertise. You’ll build trust with your customers and you’ll rest easy knowing that your upsells are simply good advice.

2. Time your upsell appropriately

An upsell doesn’t have to happen at the same time your customer is booking their service. Keep upselling in mind before, during, and after a job.

Before a job

If there is an obvious opportunity to offer an additional service or an upgrade at the time of booking, go for it.

Remember, you’re the expert when it comes to your industry and your business service offerings, so you likely have knowledge and insight that your customer would appreciate. They think they’re fixing their problem by requesting a basic service, but you know they actually require a more comprehensive service.

During a job

Actually being on site at a job after talking about a space, yard, or issue on the phone may reveal many unforeseen upsell opportunities.

Maybe you’re clearing snow and come upon an icy hazard that needs additional attention. Maybe routine HVAC maintenance reveals a faulty part.

Plan for this possibility by putting employee smartphones to work. If an employee sees a need for an additional service or upgrade that your customer would appreciate, have them snap a photo.

If you can send a photo to your customer right away, they can make an informed decision to go forward or not.

After a job

Snapped a photo or made note of something on a customer’s property that needs attention?

If you aren’t able to get in touch and get to work during a job, attach your photo or note to their invoice or a follow-up email as an option for a future job booking.

3. Be thoughtful about your upsell pricing

While it’s important to determine service pricing that ensures a healthy profit for your business, upsells are a little different. Know how low you can go, but don’t start there. Test out different prices to find out what your customers are willing to pay for additional services.

Here are a few different ways to approach upselling from a pricing perspective.

Upsell additional services

You’re already going to be on site at a customer’s property, so you can potentially offer slightly lower prices to tack on an additional service that still boosts your bottom line.

For example, if you’re already mowing a lawn, it might be worth offering a slightly lower price on a hedge trimming.

If a customer is booking an $80 service, they might not want to pay another $80 for an additional service, but might say yes to an additional $30 or $40 service, so price and offer accordingly.

Upsell additional parts or materials

Are there treatments or part upgrades that you can offer clients? For example, a spotless window rinse or stronger premium part for an appliance repair.

There’s often no need to discount these add-ons when it comes to upselling as it’s more a matter of letting your customer know the options exist.

Offer package deals and bundle services

If your clients often book 1 or 2 months of services at a time, you might offer them the option to book 5 sessions and get 1 free so that they’re covered for the next 6 months.

In the case of packages, a limited number offered for a limited amount of time might get people to bite. Create a package, post it on your Facebook page, and play with how you word the deal. “Buy 5 services, get 1 service free” might perform better than “Buy 6 services for the price of 5” but you’ll never know until you try them both out.

You can also pre-bundle certain services that go well together. This way you have a set price for paired services and can start to advertise them as a single deal, such as a spring cleaning or a winter prep package.

4. Don't forget about your existing customers

Existing customers who don’t have current bookings are upsell opportunities too. If you keep track of customers in a CRM system like Jobber you can tag them with certain phrases like “winter client,” “repair,” etc, then send appropriate emails to let them know about new package or bundle deals, or ongoing maintenance options.

You can also have happy customers do some ‘upselling’ for you. According to BrightLocal, people are searching for local services online more and more, and they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

Ask happy customers to describe the services you provided in a review on your Facebook or Google Business Listing page and a potential customer looking for a service like yours just might decide they need some extra services before you even talk to them.

Have your own upsell insights to add to this list? Let us know what works for your business in the comments below!

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