Upselling customers may make them less likely to buy from you in the future

A few week ago, I made the tough decision to retire my trusty 2006 Ford Fusion. It was a tough decision — I liked the car, and I hate shopping for a new car. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

While it’s not very often that I shop for a new car, I think the worst part about it the whole process is when I get handed off from the sales person to the finance manager. That’s the person who usually tries to sell me a bunch of extra services that I, the buyer, never asked for after I’ve already agreed to make my purchase. After already agreeing on the price of the car, now I’m trying to be talked into extras… GAP Insurance, underbody coating (whatever it’s actually called), scotch guard…blah, blah…blah. You get the idea. 

As far as I’m concerned, no buyer ever wants to be up-sold after the decision to buy already been made. In fact, what happens in that financing office has a big impact on whether or not a buyer will become a one-time only customer or a repeat purchaser. 

Much to my surprise, I sat down in a car dealership financing office a couple of weeks ago, signed a few things and was told I was done. No add-ons were brought up. No scare tactics implemented (which typically go along with an upsell). In less than 15 minutes, the sales manager was shaking my hand and tell me to enjoy my new car. That approach had a huge impact on me, as well as my perception of the honesty and integrity of the organization — and, when I’m ready for a new car again (hopefully not for a long time), I’ll be sure to go back to that dealer. 

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you're involved in some stage of the sales process. So, here’s a few questions you should ask yourself about your tactics: 

  • Is upselling part your process? 
  • At what point in the sales process do you introduce the extras? 
  • Do these extras benefit your customers or you more? 
  • How many customers receive these extras as a benefit to them? 
  • Are these add-ons profitable enough to risk losing a long-term customer? 

I’m no expert on the subject of upselling, just a guy with an opinion about that type of sales practice. I believe good organizations puts their customer first, and if your customer needs something “extra” that’s not included with what they are already buying, a good sales person will bring it up at the start of the sales process, not at the end.