10 Expert Cross-Selling Tips for Sales Professionals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Sales professionals often look for ways to sell more products and services. One effective method is cross-selling, which is the practice of selling an item in addition to an item the customer is already going to purchase. This technique can help you increase brand loyalty by offering convenience and boosting customer satisfaction.

In this article, we discuss 10 cross-selling tips sales professionals can use to exceed their quotas.

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a sales technique where a company sells a product that complements a customer's original purchase. Companies may introduce the extra item during the shopping experience by advertising it near other goods of interest.

Some companies have cashiers introduce the extra item during the checkout process, an approach that often encourages the buyer to say yes. Cross-selling is also popular among online retailers who give customers the option to quickly add relevant items to their carts.

Ideally, the extra items are directly related to the original purchase or the customer's unique preferences. For instance, consider someone that buys a hot dog from a street vendor. The vendor realizes that the customer might be thirsty if they eat their hot dog without a drink, so they ask them if they want to add a soda to their purchase.

Another example of cross-selling is when a website recommends additional purchases after someone adds a pair of shoes to their cart. Algorithms can recognize the style of these shoes and suggest articles of clothing that complement the user's interests.

Related: 40 Sales Strengths Every Salesperson Should Have

Cross-selling vs. upselling

While cross-selling and upselling are both sales techniques, the two terms have important differences. Cross-selling is when a customer buys an additional product, whereas upselling is when a customer buys a more expensive version of a product.

For instance, consider someone who orders a small popcorn at a movie theater. It would be cross-selling if the cashier encouraged the customer to buy a box of candy along with their small popcorn. If the cashier convinced the customer to upgrade to a large popcorn, they'd be upselling.

Understanding the difference between these two techniques helps you determine when to implement each. For instance, you might use cross-selling if you think customers would get more value out of a combination of products. Upselling is more appropriate for companies that specialize in one type of product. Some sales professionals combine both techniques to offer maximum value while optimizing revenue.

Benefits of cross-selling

Here are some benefits of cross-selling:

  • Increases revenue: One of the most obvious benefits of cross-selling is that it increases revenue. The more products a salesperson sells, the closer they are to meeting their quota and increasing company profits.

  • Decreases marketing costs: In addition to increasing revenue, cross-selling can boost profits by decreasing marketing costs. Companies use a consumer's preexisting interest in a product to advertise other products of interest.

  • Improves customer satisfaction: Recommending relevant products to customers can make them feel valued. It also provides convenience by saving them from going to different stores to get various products.

  • Increases brand loyalty: Increased satisfaction often translates to long-term brand loyalty. Customers continually choose companies that offer the products they want and cater to their unique preferences.

10 tips for cross-selling

Here are 10 tips for implementing cross-selling in your sales strategy:

1. Limit the number of recommended products

It can be challenging to convince customers to buy more than what they originally intended to, so try to limit the number of recommended products. You can increase the chance of a successful cross-sale by suggesting one or two of the most relevant items. Fewer recommendations make it easier for customers to see their value and choose the one that suits their preferences.

Related: 20 Promotional Sales Ideas To Attract Customers (With Tips)

2. Combine products and services

Many companies try to cross-sell products with other products and services with other services. For instance, a shoe store might try to convince you to buy shoe cleaner in addition to your new sneakers. Similarly, a car wash might cross-sell vacuuming and detailing services. If you want to get more creative with your offerings, try combining products and services. For instance, a department store might offer discounted wrapping services with every purchase during the Christmas season. Customers are likely to appreciate the thoughtfulness and convenience of this offering.

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3. Create bundles

Bundles are a group of related products that consumers purchase at a single price. The total cost of a bundle tends to be cheaper than the cost of a customer purchasing each item individually. These savings can encourage the customer to buy the bundle instead of only the product they originally wanted.

4. Conduct consumer research

Conducting consumer research can help you recommend the appropriate products at the appropriate times. For instance, you might administer surveys to determine what types of items users are most likely to purchase in addition to other items.

You can also analyze your website's analytics to determine when to recommend these items. One website might find this ideal time to be during the shopping experience, while another might get better results when they recommend products at checkout.

5. Use the rule of 25%

In some instances, it's appropriate to recommend items that are about the same price as the item the user originally wanted. Companies often use this approach when selling inexpensive items or when a similarly priced item complements the original item exceptionally well.

In other cases, a user may hesitate to buy an extra item when its cost exceeds their budget. You can account for this hesitation by using the rule of 25%. This rule claims that users are more likely to buy an extra item when it costs less than 25% of their original item.

6. Create limited-time offers

Limited-time offers create a sense of urgency that compels users to act at the moment. For instance, if you sell toys, you might ask customers whether they want to buy batteries with their purchase. This recommendation is logical, as the toy eventually requires new batteries to continue operating. Stating that the batteries are only on sale for a limited time can encourage customers to purchase them now instead of later.

Related: 10 Goals To Develop Yourself and Your Team as a Sales Manager

7. Design convenient displays

Companies that have physical locations can design convenient displays. For instance, if a company sells hot cocoa mix, it might include marshmallows in the same display. This simple strategy reminds consumers to purchase marshmallows with their hot cocoa mix and prevents them from having to go to another part of the store to get the ingredients they require.

8. Provide rewards for extra purchases

A customer who buys more than they intended to may question their choices. The valuable product is often enough to make them feel good about their extra purchase, but you can reaffirm their decision even further by providing rewards. Consider giving them a discount, gift or points toward the company's reward program. Receiving an award often makes customers more receptive to future cross-selling attempts.

9. Ask probing questions

In-person sales representatives have the advantage of talking to customers in person. You can use this opportunity to ask probing questions and make personalized product recommendations. For instance, you might help a customer who's looking for a fun toy for their child.

Asking about their preferred price range can help you recommend an appropriately priced toy, but it can also help you recommend additional toys while staying within the customer's budget.

Related: What Is Sandbagging in Sales? (Definition and How To Do It)

10. Demonstrate the product's value

Customers who see a product's value may be more likely to make an additional purchase. You can highlight a product's features by clearly explaining its benefits and relating them to the customer's needs. If it's a piece of clothing, consider modeling it on a mannequin. In-store samplings are appropriate for food products, and other products may benefit from demonstrations or videos.

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