So What’s Up Selling?

Up selling is when you convince a customer to purchase or contract for a more expensive (and higher quality or more versatile) product or service than the one they’ve already decided on. It’s a difficult sales style that oftentimes runs the risk of backfiring on the salesperson because it presumes many things that are not necessarily facts about the customer.

Up selling happens every time a fast food restaurant asks a customer if they want to supersize their meal. Up selling happens every time a customer rep asks a customer to consider spending just a few more dollars than they already spend on a product that is serving the customer well as far as the customer is concerned. Up selling happens every time a salesperson navigates the customer away from his or her choice and towards a more expensive option, using “free” add-ons to make the more expensive purchase more likely to happen.

And sometimes up selling comes in an unexpected upside down sales approach where old inventory is used to convince the customer that the newer inventory is just marginally more expensive and worth vastly more than its predecessor. Who wouldn’t want a product that’s selling for just a little more that offers so much more than last year’s version?

Are those the only examples of up selling? Of course not. Up selling is also having a display with a photograph of an item with the words “just released” emblazoned across it with the price in a big, bold, bright font!

Of all the styles, up selling is the style that creates the greatest amount of buyer’s remorse and can lead to resentment if the product or service doesn’t live up to the sales pitch that led to the purchase in the first place.  And it oftentimes makes life difficult for those who are responsible for those sales as up selling is oftentimes associated with the concept of meeting monthly quotas.

No one likes to feel as if they’re under the gun … not as a customer and not as a salesperson … and this is why I prefer to go with suggestive selling and cross selling coupled with building customer satisfaction and an ongoing business relationship.


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