arrowAlthough it may have a negative connotation, upselling is not a dirty word. An upsell is simply the process of selling add-on services to your clients. And when you focus on upselling the services your clients really need, you can offer them a tremendous amount of value by using this technique.

In order to upsell, you do not need to adopt an over-the-top sales approach. Upselling just becomes another part of providing great service to your clients when it’s done appropriately and genuinely. Here are some ways to work upselling into your business.

Package It/Upgrade

Packaging services is a great way to create an upsell. For example, the client is interested in logo design, but from talking with the client you know he will also need a website designed, too. Consider bundling logo and web design services into one package to make it more easily digestible for the client. This makes one transaction out of two of their major needs, which may appeal to them.

You can also create upgrades that accomplish the same thing. If a client hires you to design their site, but mentioned she also plans to do a series of HTML e-mail marketing messages and create custom business cards for her employees, you can create an upgrade package that includes these add-ons for one price.

Offer a Limited-Time Discount

When a client contracts with you for a specific service, you can upsell by offering them additional services at an additional rate. Unlike the package option, which simply combines multiple services, you can offer a discount off the add-ons for a limited time. This is also effective in enticing clients to act quickly.

Do a Free Analysis

Once you have established a relationship with the client, one way to identify new opportunities is by figuring out their most pressing problems. You can provide the client with a free analysis for an improvement they really need and then explain how you can make it better. For example, analyze the past three months of their Analytics account and create a report outlining areas of their site that aren’t getting much traffic, have a high exit rate, etc. Create a proposal based on this information to work on correcting the problems.

Provide an Ongoing Service

One of the best ways to upsell is by offering clients a regular ongoing service. If you create their site, propose an annual maintenance contract, ongoing monthly link checking, SEO monitoring, etc. There are a lot of possibilities for offering ongoing support, especially with web design clients.

Tell Them What You Can Do

Clients don’t always know the depth of your skill and experience because they zero in on the specific support they need at a given time. And once you are hired, how often do your clients visit your website? Not very often in most cases, so they don’t have much of an opportunity to see new services you may be offering. Check in with past clients periodically to let them know what you’ve added to your service spectrum, and give them a chance to consider one of your new offerings.

The most important part of upselling is creating a relationship of trust with your clients and then only offering add-ons when it’s reasonable. The relationship has to come first. This assures your clients that you’re not trying to sell them things they don’t need and they may be more likely to consider the additional services.

What are your thoughts on upselling? Do you do it in your business?

Image credit: Darren Hester

Alyssa Gregory is a small business collaborator and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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