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Upselling vs Cross-Selling

We all know that trying to find a new customer is far more timely and costly than retaining an existing one. It can always be tempting to go chasing something new and shiny, but sometimes you have a hidden gem already, just waiting to be teased out.

As well as being much cheaper to retain, loyal clients are always more likely to purchase more frequently than new prospects. All of this reminds us just how important it is to look for cross-selling, or upselling opportunities.

This then begs the question; what on earth is the difference between the two?
Well, in this article, we are going to look at cross-selling and upselling, and make very clear the differences between the two.


Put very simply, upselling is a strategy in which a customer is encouraged to buy anything that would make their primary purchase much better. Think of it as an upgrade.

One of the best things about this technique is that it becomes a mutually beneficial decision; a win-win situation. Your prospect is getting a much better offer, for only a slight bit of money.

Now, don’t ever be put off trying this technique, because put simply, we have ALL been upsold in our life. Here are some simple examples of upselling that you have most likely agreed to:

  1. Paying a tiny bit more money for VIP seating in the cinema
  2. “Would you like to make that a large for just 20p more?” When ordering food at a fast food restaurant.
  3. Being convinced that paying a tiny bit more money for premium tyres will give you much better mileage on your car.

As you can see, upselling does not have to be complicated, and you don’t have to force your prospect into a hard decision. You simply just have to offer them a slightly better valued deal and you can look to scale up your revenue.


Cross-selling is a very good practice to encourage your prospects and customers to buy more from you. This strategy is utilised when a customer buys a product, and then are offered other products that compliment and enhance that offering.

Once again, this is something we have all been asked and many of us have agreed to; sometimes without even knowing. However once again, this can be a win-win situation for both you and your prospect if done well. Some prime examples are:

  1. Being asked if you want to make your order of a burger at a fast-food restaurant a meal.
  2. When buying a new pillow set at a furniture store, having the team ask if you would like to buy some pillow cases at the same time.
  3. This technique is very popular on e-commerce sites, when you could even on your monthly shop online buy a tub of ice cream, and be shown an array of ice cream sauces or cones that would compliment your naughty treat!

As you can see with both examples, although there is a clear difference between the two, they both work as great ways to increase both your sales, and if done right, your customer satisfaction too.

If you feel your team are not implementing these techniques as part of their sales strategy, we are always here to help and support. Be sure to get in touch with our team today, and let’s discover how we can help you and your team’s sales efforts.

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