Be Helpful, It (Up)Sells
Ways to build trust with your prospects, offer better solutions and sell more.
By Alex Yewdell
In sales, people regularly talk about the “art of the upsell.” While it is often framed as an effective sales tactic, it can immediately feel inauthentic when poorly executed. Upselling doesn’t feel like a sleazy sales move if you have developed a strong and trusting relationship with the customer. When you have put the effort into building that bond, your marketing partners often come to you for advice on how to increase their visibility—giving you the chance to help them upgrade to a bigger, more comprehensive program.
At the end of the day, customer service based non-dues revenue sales is all about establishing relationships, standing behind the offerings you provide and putting the advertisers, exhibitor and sponsors first. In order to establish such relationships, it pays to put in the time and work to understand the following:
- What you and your customer are selling
- The value of what they are selling
- The industry and space they serve
- How the opportunities they sell work for the providers in the industry
It all starts with a fundamental understanding of what both you and your potential customer are selling. What are they trying to get out of the opportunity? Are you providing an avenue for brand awareness or lead generation? Does that goal align with the one they are inquiring about (or the one you’ve suggested to them)? If you know the ins and outs of the opportunities you are selling and take the time to understand the advertiser’s goals, you will know how to best direct a provider to the right option. And, if your suggestion yields positive results, the advertiser will likely trust your input moving forward.
By understanding the value of what you are selling, you are able to promote it more authentically. You know exactly what each opportunity will do for an advertiser. That, in turn, allows you to tailor campaign and program selections to fit the advertisers’ needs.
But knowing what you are selling and the value behind it is rarely enough; you must also have firm grasp on the industry and space you serve. Every customer’s needs and goals are going to be different. You must recognize how they fit into your space and how your opportunities will work best to achieve their goals.
Last but certainly not least, as noted above, you must to realize how the opportunities you are selling will work for the provider. Knowing your audience is essential when evaluating the potential success of a campaign. You must know who will engage with each opportunity and how they will do so.
Let me be the first to say that this is not easy. No matter the industry you work in, there will always be changes and you must evolve with them. It can be difficult at times, especially when a provider is interested in an opportunity that isn’t the best fit for them. Acknowledging that potential disconnect, even if it means losing that specific sale, can potentially lead you to bigger, more meaningful sales in the long run.
There is an art to customer service based non-dues revenue sales; just know it starts and ends with putting the industry providers first. With this approach, you are more likely to build long-term relationships and establish yourself as a resource your partners can really trust.
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