Your Dream Studio: Upsell Strategies to Incorporate Into Your Sales System with Jeff & Lori Poole
Upselling: Rounding Out Your Sales System
For the past several months in The Business Corner, we’ve been building your sales system from the ground up to help you reach your target sales average (see our August 2018 article to learn how to determine your target average). We started with cost-based pricing as a foundation (October), then looked at alternative pricing methods for products (November) and digital files (December). Next, we curated a svelte and profitable à la carte list (January), all with the goal of driving clients to shop from your bundled options (February). Our goal this month is to round out your sales system with clever and desirable upsell options to entice your clients to get the most out of their experience with you (and to get you the most profit).
A quick note about terms: In the strictest sense, upselling means selling the client a higher-priced product than the one they were considering. The terms cross-selling and add-on sales describe selling the client additional items beyond the one they were considering. It’s become commonplace to use the word upselling for all methods of achieving a higher sale. For the purposes of this article, we use the broader meaning of upselling.
Upsell Strategies That Are Built Into Your Price List
We’ve already covered some upsell strategies that can be used when building your à la carte and bundled options. Here’s a quick recap.
Pull-through: Incentivizing higher packages by offering desirable products that are unavailable in the lower packages. These products help pull your client through to the higher packages.
Good/better/best: By offering three or more options, clients will gravitate toward the middle. This allows you to strategically plan where the middle falls.
Whopper: An over-the-top item that most clients will not purchase but that adds another tier to your good/better/best offering, thus effectively moving the middle.
Quantity discounts: Offer clients a discount on additional items when more than one is purchased.
Gift with purchase: Incentivize the purchase of specific products by offering a gift item, a discount on an additional purchase or simply the ability to purchase a previously off-limits item.
Tiered discounts: Offering increasing discounts or rewards when increased levels of spending are met.
Ideally, the above options should be considered when you are first building your price list. They affect your product lineup, how you tier your bundles and how you lure clients into reaching your target sale. Keep these options in mind anytime you need to encourage a sale. It is not uncommon for a client to debate between a lesser and more expensive option. You can always sweeten the deal to help the sale along.
Example 1: A client is torn between her two favorite images for her wall portrait. Offer her a quantity discount on the second image so she can have both.
Example 2: Clients have chosen the product options they love, but are hesitating over the total invoice amount. You sense they just need a little extra sweetener to justify the price. Offer a gift as a value-added incentive that has a low cost of sale but high perceived value, and close the sale.
I don’t recommend using closers often or with every client. They can be perceived as a hard-sell tactic. Routine discounting and gifting can also hurt your bottom line and devalue your standard pricing. If you pay close attention to your clients throughout the sales process, you will know when a client wants to invest more but just needs a soft push to justify it.
Additional Upselling Strategies to Use on the Fly
While the upsell strategies we’ve discussed so far are laid out within your pricing, there are other ways to upsell that will occur more spontaneously during the sales process. These on-the-fly upsells are generally easiest to offer with in-person sales, but if you are creative in your problem solving, you can find ways to incorporate these techniques with other selling platforms.
Suggestive selling during the shoot: You know how you get excited when you nail a shot during a session? Use your enthusiasm to your advantage. Show the back of the camera to your client while exclaiming: “This would look amazing as a large metal print to hang over your mantel! Look at the detail and texture!” Or: “Look at this series of expressions I just captured. These images would look great together on an album spread.” Don’t be afraid to suggest products your clients thought they weren’t interested in. Your artistic vision can help them see new benefits in a product they initially dismissed.
Product upgrades: These are essentially upgrades in style, size or quality, such as upgrading a wall portrait from photographic paper to metal or adding pages to or upgrading the cover style of an album. It is upsizing basically anything. Clients may initially book a lesser option, and decide they want more. Perhaps a client’s package includes the 8-inch album but they really want the 12-inch. If your chosen bundling method is preset packages, make sure the upgrade the client wants isn’t a part of your pull-though. If it is, sell them on the larger package. On the other hand, the create-your-own collection or base-product-plus bundling methods are designed for selling upgrades. If either of these are your bundling method, product upgrades are going to be your new best friend.
Impulse buys and other small add-ons. Every photographic niche has its own line of tchotchkes to sell. Cards/announcements, accordion minis, gift prints, ornaments and other novelty items are often difficult to sell profitably, and should therefore be omitted from the à la carte menu. But they make great add-ons to an already profitable sale. Once your client has chosen their primary product goals, it’s time to present them with your smaller options. “Have you thought about…” “Did you know we offer…” and “Have you considered…” are great ways to casually toss your impulse items into the mix.
While these on-the-fly upselling strategies may not add thousands to every sale, they will add hundreds to most sales. The incremental upsells add up to a higher average sale, getting you ever closer to your dream studio.
The 1-2-3 Punch
These last few months have been devoted exclusively to making a strong sales system. Why? Because a strong sales system is the key to consistently meeting your target sale. Your total sales system has three components: a foundational à la carte menu, an irresistible bundle menu and enticing upsell strategies. Together, this 1-2-3 punch carefully guides your client through the purchasing process—casually rewarding spending, offering a path of least resistance and making their experience with you fun and exciting.