To cross-sell to a customer you simply see what they have purchased and then sell them appropriate other products and services that are related to the original purchase. To up-sell to a customer you look at their purchase and then over time increase the customer’s financial value to your business by encouraging them to purchase new versions, ongoing upgrades or additional elements of the original product or service.
There is an often missed third sell which can be both ignored or mis-understood and this is the more subtle ‘back-sell’.
Consider, as an example, a law firm who takes on a new client in order to deliver legal conveyancing services for them as they move home. Ordinarily the firm would then think about cross-selling in the future by offering services like wills and probate. These being future services the client may need. In many ways we are all focused on the future and what we can market and sell to customers in front of us.
But pause for a moment and consider the client and where they have come from. Are there services you have to offer, that would have been relevant before they found you? Have they missed a product or service that you could go back and sell to in-fill essential things they should have? In the law firm example it could be related to family legal matters, prenuptial agreements or perhaps employment or commercial services if they have a business.
The way that this is possible is that as well as creating a ‘customer journey’ for the client, you need to consider their personal lifecycle before they became your customer. By plotting their life stages and then overlaying the products and services you offer at each stage, you align what you do with what they need at specific moments in time. Then you are able to look backward on the timeline to moments before they engaged with you to check with them they have everything they need.
This intimacy with customers is key to truly understanding their needs and acting appropriately at specific times. If you are able to back-sell you will at the same time be creating otherwise missed revenue and thereby generate increased customer lifetime value.
Here’s another article written by John Hawthorne that discusses how you can use this thinking to enhance customer satisfaction (including case studies).
For help in plotting customer lifelines and journeys do get in touch with us.