How To Upsell Convincingly

Upselling is a skill used by retail clerks, car salesmen, and PR representatives all over the world.  Some people don't like to use it, because they feel dishonest or dirty after persuading a customer to make a purchase.  However, it's a very natural method of convincing someone to buy your product (and especially that little something extra, or that slightly higher-quality piece), and if you don't use any deceptive language or evidence, you don't have to feel guilty -- in fact, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being a good businessman or woman.

Upselling an antique table

For the rest of this article, for the purposes of making examples, we'll use this scenario: you have a stall at which you sell handmade handbags.  You also sell matching wallets for a few dollars more, and you offer a bargain deal if the customer purchases both at once.

Engage your customer in conversation, then customize your spiel.  If you are genuinely interested in who they are and what their needs may be, then you can accurately point them down the path towards wanting your upsold item.  For instance, maybe your potential customer is a single mother with three kids who seems disorganized.  She may tell you about how crazy her day was, and how she couldn't find her money at three different stalls.  As she expresses interest in the handbag, explain that the matching wallet would keep all of her currency and cards in one place for easy access.  For a businesswoman, emphasize the fashion; for a younger customer, emphasize the trendiness.

Emphasize any unique traits your goods possess.  Maybe your handbags are made of alpaca wool that you harvest from the llamas on your farm, dye yourself, and make into thread before weaving it into your final product.  Explain how this is unusual, and how getting a product that is handmade from start to finish is a rare thing in this country.  This works very well for upselling -- explain that the wallet, too, is woven, an unusual method for wallet-making and something unique they should consider adding to their collection.

Emphasize the positives of your product.  Clearly, every product has a negative side, and if they ask directly about it, you shouldn't lie.  But you can definitely place their focus on the good things about your product, and especially about the benefits of buying the upsale product as well.  For example, tell your potential handbag and wallet customers that having a matching pair means you never have to worry about coordinating more than one color with an outfit.

Flea markets, auctions, garage sales -- we know all about all the ways you can get secondhand merchandise!  If you'd like to see us blog about a specific topic, shoot us an email at

Comments (2) -

Stephen Perfonteir
Stephen Perfonteir
4/3/2013 6:57:47 AM #

Personally, I like those sellers who are honest about their product. I even appreciate them even if it means that there is a possibility that they wouldn't get the chance to sell it. It doesn't make you a lesser person if you tell the truth rather than bragging about something which is not true. That's just my opinion!

Albert Francisco
Albert Francisco
4/8/2013 5:55:45 AM #

Dishonesty may not be the correct word, it might be "strategy." As a business person, you really have to use this in order for you to succeed. Sometimes, you need to use some flowery words in order to sell up everything and I know it's a fact. Even fruit vendors on the street says their products are good, sweet and etc., but the things speaks for itself. It says otherwise. They do that in order to sell! In the end, it's all a marketing strategy. It would be best if we educate ourselves with the products we want to have.

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