‘Do you want fries with that?’

Upselling is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. McDonald’s is the classic up seller with every customer asked, ‘would you like fries with that?’

Upselling can involve marketing more profitable services or products, or just exposing the customer to other options that were not considered. Upselling is more successful when the up sellers know more about the individual customer and understands what the customer values and wants. This information includes the customer’s background, budget, preferences, interests, and previous buying history.

Some examples of upselling include:

  • Suggesting a premium brand of alcohol when a brand is not specified by a customer.
  • Selling an extended warranty for an electrical appliance. Harvey Norman has this on many electrical goods.
  • Selling luxury finishing on a vehicle, such as leather upholstery and metallic paint.
  • Suggesting a brand of watch that the customer hasn’t previously heard of as an alternative to the one being considered.
  • Asking the customer to supersize a meal at a fast-food restaurant – McDonalds.

Research shows that approximately 25% of customers will purchase the recommended upsell product or service. Most companies teach their employees to upsell products and services and to offer incentives and bonuses to the most successful personnel. Care must be taken with upselling as a poorly trained employee can offend a regular and loyal customer and damage their trust and credibility. Also with some businesses, such as car sales, the customer’s perception of the attempted upsell can be viewed negatively and impact on the desired result.


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