What is Cross-selling?

Cross-selling means getting customers to purchase additional products from a business (also known as "share of wallet"). It's typically an active process, which means, in the context of a call center, that an agent has to make an offer to a customer to purchase add-on products or services, often at a reduced price. Cross-selling works best when customers are offered products that are complementary to the one(s) they have purchased.

Catalogers are often heavy users of cross-selling strategies. For example, a women's clothing cataloger may try to sell customers accessories from a predesignated list when they call to place an order. Similarly, agents may offer warranties to callers who purchase phones or small appliances. Cross-selling should not be confused with up-selling, which is the process of selling customers a more expensive item than they originally intended to purchase, say a fine leather jacket instead of a cotton hoodie. Not only is successful cross-selling good for revenue, but getting customers to purchase more products can increase brand loyalty.

Cross-selling in practice

Some agents struggle with cross-selling because they think it's pushy. This, and other agent objections, can be overcome with a well-executed rollout that includes training as well as role-playing. Agents also benefit from listening to call recordings in which other agents model successful cross-selling techniques. Additionally, cross-selling efforts can gain from offering individual or team incentives. Even if there are no incentives, businesses should measure cross-selling results and make the information visible on the call center floor.

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