Upsells, add-ons, cross-sells, support packages, insurance – they can all substantially increase your revenue and profit.
And that’s what we’re trying to do in this email series – increase your profits!
But improving the Items-Per-Sale lever is perhaps the hardest of all of the 7 Levers to improve.
Not because it’s physically difficult (it’s not); or that it takes a big investment of money or time (it doesn’t – it only requires you to change how you interact with existing clients).
It’s difficult because it requires a lot of thinking.
And unless you’ve done it 100’s of times before (or have the help of someone who has), it’s hard to do it effectively.
When upselling Items-per-Sale is done poorly:
- It doesn’t actually increase sales at all;
- It “feels dirty”;
- It takes a lot of effort – and doesn’t work effectively;
- And you burn your most valuable asset – existing customers.
This first point is where I’m going to focus today. Because when some people think they’re increasing sales – what they’re actually doing is very different.
When Upselling ISN’T Upselling:
Upselling is easiest to understand when thinking about businesses that sell lots of products or services.
- You buy a car – you add-on sunroof, metallic paint and leasing package.
- You rent a car – you add-on the insurance.
- You buy a burger – you add-on the fries.
But if you’re not in a multi-product, or multi-service business, upselling gets messy.
Are These Scenarios Upselling? Or Not?…
- If you sell auto parts to mechanics – is it upselling to get a customer to increase their purchase from 10 units of a particular product, to 20?
- If you’re an elevator maintenance company – is it upselling to get a client to sign a 2-year contract instead of a 1-year contract?
- If you’re running a café – is it upselling to get a client to purchase a “coffee card” for 10x coffees instead of one?
In all of the scenarios above, you’ve increased the total value of a single transaction – or the number of items the client has purchased.
But you really haven’t shifted the needle on your Items-per-Sale figures.
Instead, you’ve just “borrowed” future repeat sales – which is a different lever in the 7 Levers process.
That’s OK. You can do it. But you need to be clear that these types of improvements don’t actually count towards increasing your Items-per-Sale figures.
This is an important distinction to make between what improves the Items-per-Sale lever – and what doesn’t.
These changes “fudge the figures” – instead of actually and measuably increasing sales.
(And if I’m working with you – I won’t let you fudge the figures.)
Where to Focus to Avoid “Fudge”…
Increasing your Items-per-Sale figures requires you to be smart with your customers – and find the additional items that go beyond what they’ve buying.
- In service-based work – increase scope, deliver greater features or functions or outcomes.
- In product-based sales – enhance the product by adding helpful additional accessories.
- Or add unrelated side-products and services that help the customer in other ways.
These improvements generate real and measurable improvements to your Items-per-Sale figures.
The Bigger Framework…
This one improvement sits inside the bigger framework outlined in our recent whitepaper – 7 Levers and the Growth Paradox. Make sure you get a copy.