14 Smart Ways to Upsell to Your Customers

Martin Zhel
Martin Zhel

Last updated on

February 8, 2023

Upselling is one of the best ways to increase the revenue of your company.

Why not to convince people to spend a little bit more when they are already about to buy from you?

Studies show that you have a much higher chance of selling to an existing customer than to a new one. So take advantage of that.

Amazon reports that 35 percent of their revenue comes from upsells and cross-sells. So big companies must be up to something.

In this post, we‘re going share with you 14 smart ways to upsell to your customers to help you with your marketing.

Upsell in the shopping cart

The moment people add a product to your shopping cart and they are ready to buy is one of your best opportunities to upsell them.

It’s important to understand that your upsell should always add value to the product they’re buying.

Dell is doing this very well by offering different options for extended premium phone support.

dell upsell

Make the upsell relevant to the customer’s original purchase

Your upsell should always be relevant to customers and their needs.

That’s why it’s extremely important that you develop your buyer personas and understand what people want.

There is no point to upselling a gaming machine to someone who is searching for a business laptop.

So always ask yourself:

  • What are my customers going to use my product for?
  • What benefits and features do they hope to get out of my product?
  • Can I offer a product that has more or better features or benefits?

A great example of a company that upsells relevant products is Bluehost.

bluehost relevant upsells

When you’re signing up for their plan, they try to add a few features to your plan that you might need:

  • Domain privacy protection – a lot of website owners don’t want their information publicly shared on the internet, so that’s a very relevant upsell.
  • Site Backup Pro – shit happens and, if your website goes down, you don’t want to lose all of your information. Even if Bluehost has astandard backup for free, a lot of people will be willing to pay extra for safety.
  • Sitelock security – Sitelock scans your website for malware to ensure it is not being blocked or spammed. The badge on your website also adds trust and helps you increase conversion rates.

Make the customers upsell themselves

Use the oldest approach in the sales book: simply present your customers with several options of prices and features.

Help them realize the limitations of your cheapest plans and they will upsell themselves the more expensive ones, simply because they want more.

This approach has been widely used by SaaS companies.

A great example here is HubSpot where they present you with three plans:

hubspot upsell

Unfortunately, the Basic plan allows you to use only their CMS, which is a great way to upsell you the Pro plan in case you’re already using something else (WordPress, Shopify, etc.).

The Pro plan also has more advanced features such as marketing automation, custom workflows, A/B testing CTAs, and A/B testing emails.

That way, when people are looking at the features, they realize they need at least the Pro plan to take full advantage of this product and they upsell themselves.

A great thing that HubSpot does here is make the basic plan very limited in terms of features. The Pro plan includes the things people actually need.

Make the upsell discounted

The 60x60 rule states that people will buy an upsell 60 percent of the time for up to 60 percent of the original price.

If you try to upsell more than that, you will fall flat.

Keep in mind that customers are also not stupid. They know that you’re offering them a more expensive product because you want to make more money.

So when you do that, focus on the value they’re receiving in exchange for their money.

To make the upsell look more valuable, you can discount it. That way, they will be more interested.

Make the upsell after the original purchase

The number one reason why people abandon shopping carts is because of added or increased prices.

That’s why upselling before checkout is risky. However, there is another option – to upsell to the customer after he has made the purchase.

To make it even easier for your customers, don’t ask for their payment information again in order to complete the transaction.

The reason why this works so well is because you allow your customer to focus his attention on what he wants at the moment without adding more confusion when it comes to what upsell is better.

At the same time, you have a higher chance to close the initial deal. Once it’s done, you can proceed to upsell.

Upsell something that solves a problem (your original product is causing)

The main reasons people buy stuff are to solve problems or achieve certain goals.

In many cases, when they buy something, this product is causing them new problems that they need to solve.

For example:

  • When people buy sunglasses, they get dirty with time. They need to be cleaned, , so you can upsell them a cloth.
  • When you buy a knife, it gets dull. You can upsell them a sharpener.
  • When you buy hosting and you build a website to sell things online, you also need an SSL certificate. You can upsell them one.
  • When people buy a printer, they need paper to print on. You can upsell that to them.

Always think about what new challenges your customers will be facing after they get the products from you. Then upsell the customer the solution to the new problem.

Upsell quality over quantity

Upselling too many things will irritate your customers. Especially when you do it at random.

Instead, focus on a small number of upsells that really add value your customer and compliment your core product.

Limit your upsells to three per checkout. Once someone becomes a customer, you can always upsell him again later.

Especially if he’s happy with his purchase.

You can create special email marketing campaigns to educate your customers on how to use your products. That way they can learn about other things such as features that they might need to get better results.

Learn from customers what to upsell

A great part of being successful at upselling is learning about the right products, features and benefits to upsell.

The best way to do that is to ask and learn as much as you can from your customers. They will tell you and show you what they need.

By surveying them using tools such as SurveyMonkey or Qualaroo, you will find more about their needs, problems and goals.

Ask them questions such as:

  • What are your challenges/problems when it comes to [your niche]?
  • How can we help you solve them?
  • What can we add to our products/services that you need? What else will help you?

You can also use data from customer support like live chat, emails, and phone calls. Most often, people will contact you and will ask for more information about your products.

A lot of them will likely ask if you offer certain features or benefits they are looking for.

Don’t forget to dig into analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Mixpanel to better understand the behavior of your customers.

You can see how they browse your site and at what products they are looking at. That way you will know better what you upsell them.

Create a sense of urgency

If people know that they can upgrade their product at any time, they won’t be as pressured to do so.

However, if they know that they can only take advantage of the upsell right now or for a limited them, they will be more likely to jump through that hoop.

For example:

You can mention that the item is almost out of stock or is going fast:

upsell urgency

You can add a special label for products in low quantity so it stands out more. Or when the deal is running out soon.

upsells urgency

Upsell the most popular products & best sellers

Ninety percent of customers admit that they make their buying decisions based on reviews.

This means that you’re more likely to be able to upsell them a more expensive product if it has higher ratings and/or more reviews.

In fact, this is how a lot of people buy – they go to a website and they check which product has the highest ratings and more reviews.

You can do the same thing with your best selling products. Most of the time they will be the ones with the best rating and reviews, but not always.

The reason these products sell so well is because they do the best job fulfilling the needs of your customers. Which means others are more likely to buy them as well.

So upsell your best selling products and they will sell even better.

Upsell the newest model

Why would you let the customer buy an older model of a product if there is a newer one on the market?

Especially when the new one has better features.

Amazon has been doing this for years, especially when selling electronics.

You will see that when you check the page of Canon EOS 70D, they try to upsell you the newer model Canon EOS 80D.

canon eos 80d upsell newest model

And the newer one costs $200 more. An easy upsell.

Upsell after customer reaches account limit

This works great for SaaS products that offer several packages with different options, features and limits.

Imagine someone subscribes to your basic plan. After he reaches his limit, you can easily send him a message and suggest that he upgrades his plan so he can continue using your service.

This is done very well by Dropbox, which informs you that you can upgrade to get more space.

upselling in dropbox

That way the company offers you a way to solve your problem before it even arrives.

The same thing could be done for any kind of limitation – sending certain emails per month, lifting the number of users allowed to use the software, etc.

Upsell in your membership site or dashboard

Let’s say that your customer buys an information product from you. In order to get access to it, they need to log in to a membership site.

When they do so, they can also see the other products you’re offering, which you can easily upsell them.

For example: a few months ago, I bought from Grant Cardone the course “Master the Cold Call.”

When I log in into the training center, I also see the list of other courses that I haven’t bought yet.

grant cardone upsell inside membership site

Let’s say out of curiosity I click on “Understanding the Buyer.”

grant cardone upsell 2 inside membership

They offer you the other course for $695 and, at the same time, they give you an option to upgrade and get the entire Grant Cardone Sales Training University (all courses) for $4,995.

Upsell a feature when the customer needs it

When people first subscribe to your product, they don’t think about all the features that they might need.

As they start using it, they might realize they need additional functionality that they had never before thought they would need.

And that’s exactly the right way to do that.

A good example is MailChimp, which offers a free plan allowing you to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month.

However, the automation part is now included in the free plan. Still, users have the Automation tab in their dashboard.

mailchimp automation tab

When they click on it, they see a message that this is a paid feature, and they have an option to upgrade their plan to get it.

mailchimp automation upsell

They’re doing a great job explaining how you can use that feature for all types of businesses and situations – eCommerce, nonprofit, education, software, etc.

mailchimp automation education

In conclusion:

When you upsell your customers, always think about relevance and value.

What you offer them must make sense at this moment, and it must increase the value that they get from your product.

The strategies that you use might vary, but the principles are the same.

Do you currently upsell to your customers? What strategies do you use to do so? Let us know in the comments below.

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