Constantly generating new, unique sales leads can be exhausting. It’s hard work to always seek new customers to replace the ones who have purchased your products. One way to relieve the burden is by using a method of conversion rate optimization called upselling, also known as ascension paths. This involves selling a complementary product to a customer who has already purchased one of your other products. While it shouldn’t totally replace lead generation, it can provide a nice boost to your revenue and help keep your customers happier so they will keep coming back.
Upsells and cross-sells are both important parts of ascension paths, but there is a difference between them. Upsells involve adding something that complements the product the customer is buying, such as an upgrade, extra features, add-ons, or a more expensive version of the product. Cross-selling involves a product that is different but possibly related, to the product being purchased. Both have a place in the ascension path, but it’s important to know when to use each one.
The most common place in the ascension path to upsell is in the shopping cart. Once a customer has decided to purchase one product, they are in a buying mood and will likely buy a related product or upgrade.
Customer support, such as emails and live chat, are great opportunities to advance customers along the ascension path. Once a customer has solved a problem or received an answer to their question, they are happy and in a good mood, which may make them more likely to buy a product, especially if it is an upgrade or feature that will improve their experience with a product they have already bought.
Customer milestones could include:
Each time a customer reaches a milestone, you could take the opportunity to congratulate them, thank them for being a customer, and suggest products or services that could offer value for the customer.
While customer interactions are a great time to offer additional value, be mindful about each customer’s state of mind. Are they angry, upset, or frustrated? These customers will not be in a buying mood, and they will feel that you are just trying to push products. However, if they feel satisfied with having the issue resolved, they may feel happier and more open to the idea of a new product or extra feature. In fact, they may appreciate the extra value that will enhance their experience with the product.
Don’t just try to push the most expensive product you offer. It may not be something that the customer will ever need or appreciate. Customize each ascension path so that customers are getting suggestions for products and services that are related to products they have and enjoy. This helps them realize the need for the extra product or service, which makes it easier for them to buy. It also leaves them happier and more willing to upgrade in the future, since you are adding genuine value to their experience with your product.
An upsell won’t feel like an upsell if it comes at a discounted price. Upon checkout, customer support interaction, or a customer milestone, offer a related product, service, or upgrade at a discount - and make sure the customer knows it’s a special discount to thank them for their business. You can also offer special offers, such as a free trial of a service that will enhance the product they’ve bought.
Ascension paths offer value to your customers. This improves the experiences they have with your products and with your brand. This, in turn, makes for happier and more loyal customers. This allows the upsell to boost your revenue beyond the point of sale when the customer purchases the upgrade - it keeps them coming back in the future, sometimes multiple times, due to their positive experience with your company. It will also lead them to spread the word about your services, allowing you to take advantage of referrals. By providing value and excellent customer service, you can boost your bottom line and extend your customer base much further than if the relationship ended with that first sale.