Upselling is an important and valuable sales strategy for most businesses. Done right, upselling provides additional value to your customers, and it provides additional revenue for your business. But, contrary to what some aggressive salespeople would have you believe, there are times when upselling is a poor long-term strategy. For instance:

  1. When the product being up-sold doesn’t meet a need. If a product doesn’t legitimately provide value for your customer, you shouldn’t try to upsell it. Why? Because the goal of a world-class business is to build long lasting, mutually trusting relationships with customers. Your customers won’t appreciate being pressured into spending money on products or services that they don’t need. They’ll see it as a waste of money, and trying to talk them into wasting their money is a sure way to generate mistrust and damage relationships.

  2. When the customer is unhappy or dissatisfied. Train your team to upsell tactfully. When you’ve got an upset customer on the phone complaining about the products / services that he already paid for, upselling will further irritate him. (This point should be obvious… but if you have ever spent time on the phone with your telephone or cable company, you realize that it’s not!) The best time to upsell is when a customer is pleased or at least satisfied, when that’s not the case, use extreme care to avoid harming your relationship.

  3. When the product being up-sold is unrelated to the original product. Finally, don’t upsell just to do it. If a product doesn’t make sense as part of the original purchase, up-selling it makes you look bad, either desperate, or clueless. Upsell when it makes sense, and only when it makes sense.

Upselling is a valuable tool for your business, but you need to use it wisely. Upsell only when the time is right and make sure your team understands when NOT to do it!