Mastering Sales and Selling More -Part 1

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on October 08, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Business Marketing, Tips in 10

Businesses need to sell more. If for no other reason, you will want to sell more to keep up with inflation. But, there’s a very good chance that you want to sell more because you want to grow your business and increase its successfulness.

There are a few ways that you can sell more. Obviously you can go out there and “pound the pavement” to generate more leads. Then, without changing a single aspect of your business, you will sell more because of the magic of numbers.

If you had 100 prospects one month and converted 5% of them into customers, then in the next month you found a way to generate 150 leads and you still converted only at 5%, you’d grow your sales from 5 customers to 7 or 8 customers!

Finding ways to get more prospects and sell to them makes sense. But it’s not the only way to sell more. In this issue of Tips In Ten, and in the next issue, we’ll look at a few ways to sell more without actually doing any more prospecting.

The big secret is not really a secret at all: You need to simply earn more money from your current customer base. No, I’m not talking about raising your prices. I’m talking about selling more stuff.

In this article, we’ll look at upselling and ancillary sales. These are similar, but there are differences and you might find that implementing one in your business is easier than the other. However, if you can implement both, you should consider it.


Upselling is when you offer the customer the ability to add more value to their purchase by extending it in some way. If you’ve ever gone into McDonald’s and they offered to “supersize” your meal, you’ve just been offered an upsell. For a few cents more, you get what is perceived as a higher value product.

Ancillary sales

Ancillary sales are when you offer the customer additional products or services that add more value and enhance how they use the original product or service. When you go into the gas station to fill up and they offer to check your oil (and add more) they are selling you an ancillary product.

One industry that does both upselling and ancillary sales is the car rental industry. Last time I went to rent a car, they tried to upsell me into a larger vehicle for just a few dollars more. And, they offered me their rental insurance to provide me with a $0 deductible on collision.

Another industry that does both upselling and ancillary sales is the credit card industry. The credit card companies might offer a no-fee introductory card but try to “upsell” customers into fee-based cards that have additional value. And, they offer ancillary products when they sell you insurance that will pay your credit card bills if you lose your job.

So, how can you offer this in your business?

And, how do you do it in ten minutes?

Finding upsells in ten minutes

First, I’d suggest that you take 10 minutes right now and think about what kind of upsell opportunities you can offer your customers. This is wide open and depends so much on the product or service you currently offer them. Think about if there is a way that you can give them additional value but increase the rate by less than the normal scale.

For example, if you are a graphic designer and you charge $75/hour for a project, you might sell someone a 3 hour project at $75 but then “upsell” them by offering them a 4th hour for $50 in which you will redesign their business cards.

Brainstorm different ways to offer “supersized” versions of your products or services. Granted, this won’t always be easy (and it might not be appropriate for your situation) but it’s a great way to add just a little extra income. See what your competition is doing for upsells. And, don’t forget to look outside of your industry for inspiration.

Note: Upselling might not be appropriate if you are swamped with work. That’s because it doesn’t make much sense to offer a “value added discount” to someone when a pay-in-full customer would take their place. Ancillary products might be the better choice.

Finding ancillary products in ten minutes

In a similar way, take 10 minutes right now and think about what kind of ancillary opportunities you can offer your customers. These will likely be some kind of product rather than a service. (It’s not out of the question to offer a service except that a service will take some of your time to deliver so it’s less profitable for you). Are there products that someone could buy from you that would help them to get more out of the products or services you offer?

For example, if you’re a coach and you give one-on-one coaching to clients, perhaps an ancillary product to sell would be a transcript and an MP3 recording of your call with them. There are other products that take longer to develop but this one is a great example of an ancillary product that is fast and inexpensive to produce.

For many small businesses and freelancers, information publishing and instant downloads will really help because they allow the customer to receive immediate acquisition of an ancillary product rather than forcing them to wait.

Selling these upsells and ancillary products in just 10 minutes a day

Well, that subtitle is a little misleading. It should actually take you less than 10 minutes a day. All you do is simply present an offer every time a new customer buys from you. (Some people even go so far as to present an offer every time they talk to a customer). Since offering them something only takes a few seconds, you’ll easily sell more in far less than 10 minutes a day.

Keep your offer fairly light and focused on the benefits. After all, you don’t want to drive them away from the entire purchase just because you were offering something extra! For upsells, try saying something like, “I can give you that widget for $50 but if you want a slightly bigger one, I’ll give you a deal on it for $60.” Or, for ancillary products, try saying something like, “I’m happy to deliver that widget for you. By the way, if you wanted to get more out of your widget, I also offer this gadget for $5 and it can turn your widget any color you want.”

You don’t even have to be involved in offering these upsells or ancillary products. Many website shopping carts and ecommerce systems have built in functionality to allow for upsells and ancillary sales. If you’re using a shopping cart or ecommerce system, find out if it has that functionality and put it to use. Then, you’ll be upselling and making ancillary sales in zero minutes a day!

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.