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Did You Remember to Order Your Takeout Also: Upselling and Alignment

If you decide to upsell or market another product to people who have already bought something from you, make sure your offering is in alignment with what they actually need.

The other day, I opened a fortune cookie and discovered a sales blunder. "Did you remember to order your take out also" failed because I was already sitting on my couch, having just finished my takeout. I didn't need anymore. Too often, marketing campaigns to current customers fail because they contain offers that miss the mark.

"Upselling" is really about providing customer service and account management in a profitable way. It's about providing ongoing value and securing a client. My good friend Jim Cathcart brilliantly calls it "upserving."

The key, however, is to ensure that whatever next step you're offering is in alignment with your customer's needs and expectations. In my case, I had no need for takeout. I'd already gotten it. Consider the simplest example of upselling: french fries. Fast food restaurants don't train their people to ask if a customer would "like fries with that" if they've already ordered some.

This may seem like common sense, but it's anything but common. And it's as important to B2B sales as it is to B2C. For example, receiving a discounted offer for an upgrade I just bought at full-price does the opposite of what it's authors intended. It causes buyer's remorse. Why didn't I get the discount? I'll never buy from these people again!

With advances in technology, there's no excuse for failing to provide service that's in alignment. Now that we're firmly entrenched in Sales 2.0, salespeople should be more fully engaged with their customers than ever before. In complex, B2B sales environments, salespeople have an obligation to remain aware of the goings-on with their clients.

So, don't offer your customers takeout that they already bought. Offer them their next meal!