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As IT professionals, we need to wear a whole lot of hats! We’re part fix-it technicians, part strategy consultants, part troubleshooters, and we’re even part salespeople! When you know your customers would benefit from a more inclusive plan, it can be tough to get them to see the value for themselves and commit to spending more each month to gain that extra value.

Here are three top tips that can help you to become expert sellers and leaders in upselling and cross-selling.

Tip #1: Map upsell opportunities across a customer journey

Don’t announce an upsell opportunity out of anywhere, or your customer is much more likely to feel that they are just being sold to. Make sure that you schedule quarterly business reviews or technology business reviews at a regular cadence, and always discuss a short, medium, and long-term plan according to the customer’s goals. These can come with upsell opportunities attached, giving the customer a chance to get used to the idea of the need for added budget and buy-in.

For example, when you onboard a brand new customer, they will need to commit to a certain monthly contract, and will understand what that includes. At that stage, explain that at the six-month or one-year mark, you’ll have a better idea of their requirements, and can suggest cybersecurity extras to shore up their defenses for example, or a more inclusive package that will ensure they have everything they need.

Looking 2-3 years ahead, you can anticipate that they will need more support, and so on the roadmap is a boost to your VIP package, which you can talk more about at that time. This is far enough away that it won’t cause pushback at this stage, and prepares the customer with an expectation that they will be expanding their business with you, and that it’s already on the roadmap.

Tip #2: Clearly explain the value of the upsell

How do you advertise your pricing? Whether it’s your website, a business directory, or through direct referrals and emails, this is your chance to get customers to opt into upselling opportunities of their own accord.

Think about how a business might say their pricing plans “start from $99”, but then offer add-ons and extras to encourage a customer to choose a more inclusive option. This is upselling 101. Your basic plan needs to be comprehensive enough to be worth the price tag, while the upsells should be clearly valuable to the customer so that they feel it’s worth the extra cost each month.

If for example, you include a certain amount of storage each month, set up a scale where each package offers slightly more storage capacity, at an amount that’s going to be useful to different sizes of companies or types of customers. You can do the same with support, offering 9-5 support for the basic tier, and then allowing customers to choose out-of-hours or even 24/7 support on a higher tier. This approach gives customers a powerful “should I, shouldn’t I?” moment, where they decide if the risk of not having support when they need it is great enough to be worth the extra monthly cost. You can also have a basic package, and then a number of “add-ons” that all have a monetary value, allowing customers to pick “a la carte” to create their own package.

One example of a company that upsells with great effect is Apple. They have a set price for an iPhone or an iPad, and then allow customers to upsell with extended warranties, extra storage, different colors and designs, add-ons like stylus pens or graphics tabs, and more. The airline industry also uses this approach, where there is a set price for a seat, and then customers need to opt in and pay extra for a cabin bag, a preferred seat, a meal, and so on.

Tip #3: Experiment with social proof

In his 1984 book, Influence, Robert Cialdini coined the idea of social proof as one of his six powers of persuasion. Simply put, people like to know that others are satisfied with something before they buy. It’s why we read reviews, it’s why we ask our friends for recommendations, and it’s why a shop full of people looks better than one that’s sitting empty, even if the products are the same in the window.

Social proof can be a helpful way of gaining upsells from your customer base. Here are a few ideas for how to use it:

  • Create a most popular package: Which package do your customers usually opt for? It’s probably not the bare-bones basic plan. Mark out with a sticker or a banner which price plan gets the most hits, which will help customers to see its value.
  • Ask for testimonials: Speak to your satisfied customers and find out what they like about your premium offerings. You can then use quotes and testimonials on the pricing page to encourage other customers to get clicking.
  • Use company logos: Social proof can also be found in other brands you work with that are tried and tested. If you have big logo customers, put them on your website under a header like “trusted by” or “proud to work with”.
  • Share your vanity metrics: While vanity metrics like social media followers or newsletter signups don’t do much for your revenues – they are awesome social proof! Put them on your pricing page to subtly explain to customers that you’re the real deal.


Sell less, benefit from upsells more

If you’re like a lot of IT pros, the act of the hard sell is an uncomfortable place to be. You prefer to get on with the work and hope that customers see your value and show loyalty. That’s a great strategy, as long as you have upselling strategies working for you in the background.

Make sure you’re regularly speaking to your customers about their long-term roadmap, including upsell opportunities that are along the route, and then optimize your pricing page and marketing materials to ensure you have the best chance of upselling naturally to both existing and new customers alike.

Need some ideas for upselling opportunities to provide your customers? Have you tried Network Discovery from Atera, which highlights opportunities that are laying dormant on the table?

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