How to Upsell Customers to Increase Your Business Revenue

ByJyothiikaa Moorthy


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Your customer is about to renew their subscription plan for your product or service.

You tell them they could choose the same plan or spend a little more to get an even better plan with more benefits. So, now, they are more likely to choose the more expensive plan because of the better deal.

Essentially, you have convinced them to spend more than they initially planned to increase your revenue. This pretty sly sales strategy is what people call to upsell in the business world.

You might think it can't be that easy, but it is. Research shows you have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer than a brand new one.

And that's a whole lot, so don't let go of this potential. If you don't know how you should do it, this guide will show you how you can upsell to your existing customers.

Table of contents

What does upsell mean?

Upsell or upselling is a sales strategy that brands use to persuade their customers to get a higher-end version of the product they currently have or want to buy to generate more revenue.

It is a tactic used by B2B, B2C, and D2C companies to help customers be more satisfied with their purchases while getting them to spend more on their products or services.

Example of upselling

Let's look at an example to observe how you can upsell. Grammarly is a writing assistant that offers people suggestions to help improve their writing in terms of grammar, tone, etc.

They offer a free plan with sufficient features for an average user to check their writing. But they restrict how many suggestions or errors the users can see and put them under the paid version of Grammarly, as shown below.

Grammarly upsell

So, if a person is already using their free plan, they'll have to upgrade to the premium plan to complete in-depth grammar analysis and get access to other features they offer. And, people now get the premium plan as it provides more functions they require that are not available in the free version.

Upsell vs cross-sell

Before discussing upselling benefits, let's clarify the difference between upsell and cross-sell. Most people confuse the two because they are both meant to get people to buy more from your brand and increase revenue. But while they have the same final goal, the way they work is different.

Upsell is when you convince your customers to buy a better version of the product they plan to buy. Cross-sell is when you suggest a few more products or services that will work well with one they purchased or are about to purchase, as shown in the example below.

Upsell vs cross sell

Benefits of upselling

Alright, now that you are clear about what selling is and how it works, let's look at what are the benefits of upselling:

1. Inexpensive to upsell to existing customers than to acquire a new one

As discussed previously, you are 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new prospect. You would have to spend a lot more money on marketing and advertising to get a new customers. After all, it's much easier and economical to sell to an existing customer who already trusts you than to sell to a new prospect who has never heard of your brand.

2. Increases customer lifetime value and boosts revenue

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend on your brand products or services in their entire relationship with your brand. So, if you upsell to customers and buy your products/services, you increase the customer lifetime value. An increased CLV implies that each customer would spend more on your brand, thus generating more revenue for your business.

3. Increases customer retention and prevents churn

Upselling can help your customers get a better experience as they will be using premium versions, upgraded products, or add-ons that deliver more value. And by providing more value and a better user experience, you increase customer satisfaction. When customers are more satisfied with your brand, they will trust you more and stay loyal to your brand, thus preventing churn.

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8 tips to help you upsell your customers the right way

If your brand's upselling strategies feel forced or unnecessary, you may lose customers and, in turn, sales. So let's find out how to upsell the right way:

1. Personalize the upsell

Understand what your customer would appreciate and upsell something relevant to them instead of recommending random upgrades. Look at what your customers have purchased, their preferences, and suggest a better product or service that's more suitable for their needs.

2. Offer exclusive discount

People usually refrain from buying the high-end version because it is not affordable. So, try giving them exclusive coupon codes or a one-time discount to get them to upsell as Contentpace does in the example below. Make sure the offer is time-bound so you can use FOMO to get more upsells.

Postpace upsell

3. Don't upsell something drastically more expensive

As we mentioned before, people are likely not to buy premium because it's expensive. So don't recommend something that's way too expensive in the attempt to upsell. You might get ignored or completely lose the customer. To play it safe, upsell products that are only 25% more expensive than the amount they planned to pay.

4. Accept no as a response

Don't be that pushy and clingy person who doesn't know when to quit. Respect your customer's decisions and stop trying to force them to upsell. By accepting no as a response, you maintain a healthy relationship with your existing customer and leave the door open for any upsell opportunities in the future.

5. Show comparison

Comparison between the products can help customers understand the value of the more expensive product version.

Skillshare upsell

And you can also show them a comprehensive comparison like Skillshare has in the example above. This detailed comparison can help you answer all the questions in your customer's mind and increase the likelihood of upselling.

6. Nurture and educate the customer

Don't be basic and say, "buy the premium plan because it is better." Show them how it could help them and how it is better for their needs.

Let's imagine a person is having trouble achieving his health goals. He's now using your app to keep track of his daily steps and meals. You do, however, have a premium plan where you can create a customized food plan for him and help him track his progress. So you'll have to explain how this plan would assist him in achieving his objectives and living a healthy lifestyle.

7. Know your customers

Make an effort to understand your customers better. Analyze the data or talk to your customers about what they like and dislike, hobbies, etc. Use that knowledge to make a better connection.

Always ask open-ended questions and actively listen to what they have to say. This way, you can find out their pain points and suggest an upgraded product that can help alleviate those problems.

8. Show testimonials

Social proof is not just crucial for the first purchase; it also works as a reassurance that gets people to upsell easily. Showing the data to back your statements will encourage customers to trust you more and help them see the value in the upsell you're offering.

Bonus tip: If you are a SaaS company, use this upselling email automation sequence to increase your revenue.

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Up, up, and away

We hope you understand how to upsell correctly because if done incorrectly, it could alienate the customer, and you can even lose them. So, start selling your customers today and increase your brand's revenue.

Now, apart from upselling, if you want to know another way to increase sales without investing a lot of money, check out our guide on word-of-mouth marketing. You will gain great insights into generating more ROI with little cash inflow!

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

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  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


Get smarter with our email resources

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