How To Boost Your Sales By Utilising The Up-Sell, The Cross-Sell And The Down-Sell

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If you want to be a successful internet marketer, it’s crucial that you understand the marketing process.  Ultimately your aim is to sell your product at a healthy profit, but if you’re really savvy, you’ll realise that the real profits are not in the first sale, but rather in the cross-sell, up-sell or down-sell.  These concepts aren’t anything new, and are something that shrewd marketers have been using for years, but do you know exactly what these terms mean?

If you don’t, not to worry, we’ll explain everything you need to know about cross-selling, up-selling and down-selling.


The Up-Sell

The up-sell, or up-selling is a marketing technique that we all come across in our daily lives.  Have you ever been to a takeaway, ordered a meal and then been asked if you’d like to ‘go large’ for a few extra pence?  This is up-selling, and involves selling the customer a more expensive product rather than the one that they intended to purchase.  Other variants exist, such as selling the customer something that complements the sale and increases the overall profit margin.  An example of this would be if you were to buy wrapping paper at a gift shop.  You may be asked if you’d like some gift tags to go along with it.  A related, useful item for the customer that also increases the revenue and profit for the seller.

Up-Selling Tips

•  The benefits and positive outcomes of your offer should be clearly explained to the customer.

•  Use perspective – “It might seem a little dearer now, but in the long run you’ll find it works out more cost-effective…”

•  Don’t limit your options and oversell the dearer product, completely ruling out the cheaper alternative.


The Cross-Sell

The cross-sell, or cross-selling is a similar technique to the up-sell.  It involves selling new products or services to your customer that aren’t necessarily related to the one being purchased by the customer.  This can be for one or two reasons.  To increase the the profit of the sale and/or looking more long term, to strengthen your relationship with your customer.

An example of this could be if you sell web design services.  Many clients may not know how to optimise their sites and maximise their search presence.  By cross-selling search engine optimisation services (either through a partnership with another company or by providing them yourself), you can both increase your profitability and strengthen the relationship you have with your client by providing added value.

Cross-Selling Tips

•  You should always offer the customer more than they are initially looking for.

•  Packaged deals are very effective.

•  Don’t be too pressurising.  You don’t want to ruin a long standing business relationship over one sale.


The Down-Sell

The down-sell, also known as down-selling is a clever marketing technique that can enable you to make a sale when many other marketers will have lost their customer.  If for whatever reason the customer decides that the product or service you are offering is too expensive for them, you offer them a cheaper alternative.  If price was the only barrier, then this has now been removed and there is a high chance that the offer will be accepted.

An example of this is when buying a new car.  If you enter a car showroom with the intention of buying a Volkswagen Golf, but are presented with prices that are too high for your budget, the salesman may suggest a Volkswagen Polo, a car that still carries the Volkswagen badge, is excellent quality but is significantly cheaper.  The dealership do not have the same revenue from the sale, but they may have the same rate of profit, or possibly even more.

Down-Selling Tips

•  Don’t be in a rush to down-sell.  Wait until you are 100% positive they are not going to buy the more expensive item.

•  Focus on how similar the two products are rather than any ways that they are different.

•  The down-sell, when done properly can be great for cementing relationships as it shows you are are listening to your customer, are responsive to their needs and have their interests at heart.


We hope you’ve found our advice useful.  If you’d like to know more about how to maximise your use of up-selling, cross-selling and down-selling, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and if you enjoyed this article, leave us a comment below!

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Sue Worthington

Discover how to get more online visibility, income and freedom, by leveraging Social Media and Online Marketing to grow your business.... By ... Connect with me on Google +


  1. Some awesome tips there guys

    Given me a lot of food for thought


  2. Hi Sue, even though your post is one-year-old, I still learn a lot from it. Thank you for making it simple to understand. I think your explanation is powerful enough to help any marketer to achieve growth in their business.

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