Upselling or Downselling
How many times have you been told in business sales training to look for ways to upsell your buyers? Certainly, selling more to existing customers is easier than winning over new customers. And if you do upsell effectively, you provide more value for your customer. Win-win. But there is more to the story of the benefit of putting your customers first.
Upselling only tells part of the story. In fact, there are times when instead of upselling, a successful salesperson ought to try the opposite technique — downselling.
Establishing Credibility and Trust
Think about meeting a sales prospect for the first time. They may have little reason to trust you. Buyers may believe you have an agenda that deprioritizes their needs and that you’re there to make the biggest sale you can. But what if you show them you’re willing — even happy — to make a smaller sale if doing so truly serves their interests?
A Large-Scale Study
Our microlearning experts point to researchers from three U.S. universities — Elon, Georgia, and Temple — that enlisted the cooperation of a national restaurant chain for the study. The researchers gave the servers involved the option of upselling four expensive dishes or downselling four inexpensive options. Several hundred customers were served under these conditions, and the researchers then went back and surveyed the responses. As it turned out, slightly more than half of the customers were upsold, and indeed, the upsellers got more short-term gain thanks to the higher price.
But more significantly, the customers who were downsold reported significantly higher “repurchase intentions.” The researchers also found that downsold customers rated the restaurant higher on perceptions of quality, value, and overall satisfaction.
Downselling, the study showed, had a long-term positive impact on sales and enhanced the brand.
In other words, when you go back to customers you’ve downsold, they’re more likely to trust you, refer you, and buy from you again.
When you first encounter buyers, they’re often looking for reasons not to trust you. They fear that salespeople will overpromise, hide negative information, and recommend high-ticket options that yield the biggest commission.
Downselling — as early in the sales process as possible — disrupts these perceptions. Buyers are more likely to see you as a trusted advisor, listen to your recommendations, see you as a long-term collaborator, and buy more from you if you show them that you put their interests ahead of your own.
The Bottom Line
Putting the customer first is always the right thing to do – not only because you should have the customers best interests at heart but also because it provides the benefit of a longer lasting relationship. Are you keeping a true customer-first focus in all your dealings?
To learn more about the benefit of putting your customers first, download 30 Effective Sales Questions that Matter Most
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