Cross-selling makes the selling of services easier and increases the value of existing and new customers. This article explains what cross-selling really means.

Cross-selling is where you attempt to sell a customer additional products and services. For example, a mobile phone company may attempt to cross-sell mobile broadband packages to customers who are on a monthly package. The customer would go from just using their monthly mobile phone package to additionally buying the mobile broadband package.

Cross-selling is not just for existing customers. It can be done at the time of an original sale. For example, when you buy a pair of shoes the shop keeper will normally aim to cross-sell shoe polish, shoe horns or products to help you take care of the shoes.

Cross-selling to existing customers is an area often overlooked and yet this is probably much easier than always looking for new customers. A business with many customers who have all purchased single once-off sales can represent a major sales opportunity for cross-selling other products. Large companies often acquire small innovative businesses for the purpose of cross-selling new products to their existing customers.

Strategic cross-selling
Certain products and services may be easier to cross-sell to existing customers than to new customers. This could be for a variety of reasons including a weaker competitive position, a requirement of a leap of faith, or they already have a supplier they are happy with.

A good example of strategic cross-selling in action is a company that wanted to sell marketing services but were finding it hard to compete. They changed their focus to selling websites and then got good at cross-selling additional marketing services. Indeed they got all their support staff involved in recommending add-on services.