Sell Smart to Increase Your Profits (Part 4: Cross-Selling)

We’ve already covered up-selling, down-selling and packaging in our ‘Sell Smart’ series, and now, we’ll cover one of the most lucrative selling strategies of them all – cross-selling. 

Cross-selling simply means recommending other items from ‘across’ your range to a customer at the point of purchase.


For instance,

  • If you sell silver jewelry you might cross-sell a jewelry cleaning cloth.

  • If you are a restaurant you might recommend extra side dishes with the main meal.

  • If you are a mechanical repair shop you might recommend a wheel alignment when people come in for a quick service on their vehicle.


In many situations, very little effort is spent on maximizing the money you receive from the leads and customers that your business already has.


Cross-selling capitalizes on this untapped potential in your business, providing a number of benefits to both your business AND your customer, including increasing:

  • Average order value

  • Exposure for higher margin items

  • Customer satisfaction (suggesting related items can enhance the product and user experience)

  • Awareness about the breadth of your product offering


YBT Recommends: 5 Ways to Maximize In-Person Cross-Selling Opportunities:


  • Educate your team about the impact of cross-selling on the end-user experience of the product. Help them to understand that cross-selling is less about ‘selling’ and actually more about enhancing the customer experience.

    For example, without a Water Proofer, those expensive Italian Shoes could be easily ruined. When you look at it this way, you may actually be doing your customer a disservice by not recommending appropriate complementary items at the point of sale. 


  • Develop a range of potential ‘no-brainer’ cross-sell items for each different item category, such as a gift cards, warranties, batteries, etc that make logical sense to purchase together – so they are easily are easily understood by the customer and easy for the salesperson to introduce after closing a sale.


  • Create a Special of the Week or Month – each week or month identify a product that you can offer at a great price. Make sure it has universal appeal and high perceived value but relatively low cost. You can create Point-Of-Sale displays and material for these particular items.


  • Make cross-selling a performance standard – a ‘must do’ activity for each and every sale in your business. It is vital in maximizing your profits, so make cross-selling a condition of employment or create team bonuses (this is easily measured by recording items per sale).


  • Identify the best and train the rest – you’ll find that one or two of your people will outsell other people by a factor of 2 to 1. Find the most successful salespeople and get them to train the rest.

 The internet now provides an exciting range of cross-selling opportunities and possibilities. If you are currently selling products or services online, integrating a cross-selling strategy into your online shopping cart or check-out is easy, profitable, and measurable.


Online Cross-Selling ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’:


  • Use phrases like ‘Special Offer When You Buy X’, ‘Especially for You’ or ‘Bonus with Purchase’ to communicate value, exclusivity or savings.

  • Use emotional pullers such as ‘Need Accessories?’ or ‘Want to add a Lipstick?’ and make sure you use the word ‘You’ instead of ‘We’ – for example instead of saying ‘We Recommend:’ you could say ‘You Might Also Like.’

  • Create urgency or scarcity around the offer with words such as ‘Limited Stock’ or ‘Limited Edition.

  • Offer a mix of price points when suggesting items to accompany the purchase (display higher margin items on product pages and then finish with lower margin items at the view cart stage) and make sure that you cross-sell items with price points relative to the original purchase (e.g. a cross-sell item that is 10-20% of the value of the purchase makes for an easy purchasing decision). 



  • Clutter your product pages, shopping cart or check-out with every offer you have or unrelated offers.

  • Never suggest competing products at the point of purchase - this only confuses customers who were ready to purchase, creates indecisiveness, and can cause lost sales.

  • Navigate away from the original product page or check-out page when showcasing cross-sell offers. You can lose sales if your offer opens in a new window or makes your customers confused about where they are on your site. Many customers will not add an item if they think that doing so will make them lose their original purchase or shopping cart.


When creating online cross-selling campaigns, remember to start simple (e.g. one or two items) and test and measure before creating a sophisticated cross-selling system. A good place to start is to check out the cross-selling strategies of your favorite online retailers before deciding on the best approach for your business.


If you’re not sure where to start, YBT has detailed Strategy Guides that explain how to implement Cross-selling, Up-selling, Downselling and Packaging strategies in your business (these are also great for training your team members!)

Questions or queries? Contact the YBT team today! Phone 03 479 3890 or email