Upselling Techniques: How to Upsell Services Without Being Pushy
Want to increase your average invoice price and make more money for your service business? These upselling techniques will help.
You’ve likely come across some form of upselling technique before. Maybe a restaurant tried to get you to upsize your meal. Or an insurer offered add-ons on top of basic coverage.
Companies use these types of upselling techniques because they work, and both businesses and customers can benefit. Companies can boost revenue with little effort and at no extra cost while customers get more value.
To help your service business, here’s a list of four upselling techniques and tips to help you get the most out of them.
What Is Upselling?
Upselling (or up-serving) is a sales technique where you encourage or invite customers to purchase more expensive services or add-ons, in order to generate more revenue. Upselling techniques include marketing more profitable services, or simply making customers aware of different service levels you offer.
For example, if you run a cleaning business, you can upsell a customer by inviting them to upgrade from a basic cleaning package to a more premium, deep cleaning package.
⚠️ Upselling is not just a pushy sales tactic. It’s about helping your customers. They’ve already identified they have a problem, which is why they called you in as an expert. Upselling helps customers by offering them more or providing a better solution to the problem they’ve identified themselves.
What is Cross-Selling?
Cross-selling is a different but related sales tactic. With cross-selling, you encourage customers to purchase a complimentary service. For example, a logical cross-sell for a landscaper could be to offer a hedge trim to a customer who’s just requested a lawn mow.
How to Upsell Services: Five Common Upselling Techniques
1. Offer Different Service Packages Alongside Each Other
It’s not uncommon for professionals to provide three service packages alongside each other. Each package offers different services or service levels, moving from the entry-level package to the middle-of-the-road package, and all the way to the premium package.
Each subsequent package also offers more value than the next. Consider the lawn care professional who provides a lite package (mow) for $89, a standard package for $149 (mow and hedge trim), and a premium package for $199 (mow, hedge trim, and specialized treatment, e.g., weed control).
The key with this upselling technique is to get your pricing jumps right to encourage the upsell. For example, if you want more customers to purchase your standard package, make sure it’s marginally more expensive than the lite package and provides more perceived value. If you price it too high, customers may cheap out and choose the cheapest option.
2. Provide Additional Upgrades or Parts
Let your clients know about additional treatments or part upgrades you can offer. For example, you could provide a spotless window rinse, a stronger premium part for an appliance repair, or a particular type of fertilizer when mowing the lawn.
There’s often no need to discount these add-ons when upselling. It’s more a case of letting your customer know they exist.
3. Expand Your Services to Solve Client Problems
When you work with a client over a period time, you often notice other services they could benefit from. In some instances, your client will explicitly ask for these services. For example, if you work in window cleaning, a client may also request gutter cleaning, pressure washing, and screen repairs.
In other instances, you may need to do some digging to uncover these services. You could ask clients if there are jobs they need help with or run a short survey. Alternatively, you could start looking every time you’re on the property to identify any related services.
Once you have your service list, instead of referring clients to another company, get the necessary skills to do the job and add those to your service offering so you can upsell them on these services yourself.
4. Inform Clients About All Your Services
“Upselling indicates how well a business truly understands their customer needs. The six most dreaded words we can hear from a current customer are, ‘I didn’t know you did that’ (as in, I bought it from someone else!) Money left on the table here is the number one reason businesses don’t succeed.”
If your clients don’t know what services you offer, they’ll hire someone else. That’s why it’s crucial to keep all of your customers informed of new and existing services. This will ensure that your average invoice price, an important business metric, remains high.
You can keep customers informed by keeping your social media pages up to date, updating your website, or using email marketing. The latter is great because emails go straight to people’s inboxes, and have a much higher likelihood of being read.
For example, you could group all customers who’ve bought a particular service into one audience. Then, send an email explaining the other service packages you offer, encouraging them to upgrade on their next purchase. Or you could inform them of any new service additions so that they end up using you when they need those services instead of the competition.
Learn more about email marketing in our starter guide for small businesses.
5. Get Your Team Involved In Customer Upgrades
Your team is the face of your business. They have direct contact with your customers and the job site. This makes them perfect candidates for identifying upselling opportunities.
The key, though, is to make sure they have the upselling skills to identify any opportunities. This means you may need to train them.
Have them shadow you a couple of times while they observe and learn. Create a one-page document they can carry with them clearly showing what to look out for.
Include examples of different upsells for reference and reiterate that upgrades should be a logical service extension that taps into an existing customer need and be viewed as a way to solve a problem (see upselling tip one and two).
Also, provide them with the tech to do it: smartphones to snap a photo. If your employees can send a photo to your customer right away, your customers can quickly make an informed decision to proceed or not. If not, you can, as mentioned, attach the photo to your invoice with a note.
Finally, consider incentivizing employees, so they’re excited to upsell. A small commission for each ‘upsell’ goes a long way in getting employee buy-in.
Upselling Tips and Best Practices
It doesn’t matter what upselling technique you use, just make sure you use these best practices to get the most out of them
1. Speak to Your Customer’s Original Need
Your customer already has a need in mind. Avoid offering them totally unrelated items as this may come across as overly ‘salesy.’
For example, if an HVAC customer called you to clean their vent system and you notice some broken or old parts, you can upsell them by offering to replace those parts. Don’t try to sell them a whole new air conditioner.
2. View Upselling as a Way to Solve a Problem
As mentioned, upselling is more than a sales tactic. It’s a way to help your customers.
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 can’t 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 extra 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.
3. 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: When the customer first calls, make sure you ask probing questions to find out if there are any problems they aren’t aware of. Once you have an idea of additional services you can offer, include them as optional add-ons on your quote, so your client can decide for themselves.Remember: you’re the industry expert, and you have knowledge and insight your customers don’t but will appreciate. Don’t be afraid to upsell extra services before the job.
- During a job: 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. Or perhaps routine HVAC maintenance reveals a faulty part.
- After a job: Snapped a photo or made a note of something on a customer’s property that needs attention? If you can’t 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.
4. Use Technology to Make Up Selling Easy
Technology simplifies upselling. Instead of feeling like a pushy salesperson, you can track your customers’ info in a CRM, and make genuine service recommendations. And with digital quotes, you can send customers optional add-ons, that they can approve or not with one click.
- Optional service add ons and service packages that boost quote totals by an average of 35%. These features empower clients to choose what works for them and their budgets, and stops them from comparing your quote against the competition because they’re so busy comparing your service packages.
- Optional line-item photos of services that double quote totals. Visuals improve the chances of a sale because it makes the service more tangible, and customers can quickly identify and visualize what service you’re talking about.
- Automatic quote follow-ups to remind customers about a quote and move them beyond the “awaiting response” phase.
Jobber also offers a CRM system to keep customer notes, so you know which customers are likely to respond to an upsell or have mentioned a need for additional services.
You can tag customers with specific phrases like “winter client,” “repair,” and so on, then send relevant emails to let them know about new packages, services, or ongoing maintenance options.
The Bottom Line
Upselling is a superb way to make more money while giving customers more value.
You can offer different service packages, provide various parts, expand your services to solve problems, or inform clients about all your services.
Just make sure you follow the upselling tips to avoid coming off as pushy and to maximize your revenue for each job.