McDonald's hit up-selling nail right on the head with their iconic question, "Would you like fries with that?" While independent consultants may have to find a more elegant approach to getting clients interested in investing additional budget dollars in their consulting services, using similar tactics could lead to bigger profits. Consider these tips when up-selling your current clients and see what difference they make to your bottom line.
Make sure what you're offering is relevant
One of the most important rules in being able to successfully up-sell your clients is to make sure the product or service you're offering is a highly-relevant, value add-on to the primary purchase. You don't want to try to sell your clients oars when they've purchased a bike. However, if you've developed a marketing strategy for a client, you may find the client to be receptive to a social media program to support their marketing efforts.
Focus on selling solutions
Since most people purchase products or services to meet some need, identify what the common needs are among your clients and offer solutions that meet those needs - as long as they are within your area of expertise. For example, tennis clubs sell rackets and tennis balls. A yoga studio will likely sell mats and yoga apparel. It's the same for services - if you're doing IT consulting for a client that isn't tech savvy, you might offer to sell training services. If you are working with large amounts of your client's data, offering to streamline or organize their information systems might garner interest.
Options, options, options
Another important aspect of up-selling to keep in mind is that clients have varying budgets and providing several options will help your add-on services be attractive to budget-conscious clients as well as those with deep pockets. Special deals, promotions or bundling can also sweeten the pot. For instance, if you offer content writing services and you write web copy for a client, then perhaps you can offer ongoing edits as needed for an additional flat fee. Perhaps you can offer weekly blog posts to the site for an even higher rate.
Highlight the benefits
Make sure your customer knows all of the benefits that come from the service or product you're offering. Focus on areas like cost savings, added security, peace-of-mind or an all-in-one solution. Be able to show your clients that the up-sale offer is a beneficial purchase. Where possible, provide the numbers on long-term savings to make benefits sound even more compelling. For example, let them know if they'll be saving $110 a month or $1,320 a year, etc.
Timing is everything
It's also important to point out that up-selling is most successful if you strike while the iron is hot. Offer add-ons when the client is in the mood to buy - usually immediately after the primary purchase is agreed upon. It's at that point the client is likely feeling confident about their decision and open to all the possibilities your solutions will bring. Take advantage of this time.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the September 19, 2016 edition.