Upselling and cross-selling are important contributors to business success, but it's important to get the balance right between offering additional value that will really help the customer and trying to sell them something they clearly don't want. I was reminded of this the other day after putting petrol in my car at a BP garage. The pleasant chap at the counter asked me whether I would like any danish pastries, pointing to the large pile on the counter. 'No thanks' I replied. He clearly was on some incentive plan to sell as many as he could, as he kept asking me the same question. In fact he asked me 6 times, by which point I was just a bit irritated....I don't even like danish pastries!
I read a short story on CatererSearch that shows how getting the approach right and being truly customer-focused leads to longer-term business benefits.
'I remember reading Nico Ladenis' book many years ago where he wrote about a lovely incident which sums up the difference between up selling and good hospitality - it was about a wintery cold night when a popular national food critic walked into his restaurant (unrecognised obviously). She asked the sommelier for a good wine suggestion, expecting him to 'up sell' the most expensive wine but to her surprise, he suggested one of the cheapest wines on the menu which he recommended would go well on the cold wintery night with her food. She left more than impressed by the modest and honest hospitality she received and in return, she wrote a glorious review in the national paper, earning the restaurant well deserved fame and lot of business.
This small story has stayed with me for many many years now and sums up my beliefs on this subject - 'right selling' for long term returns rather than pushy, untactful or bland up selling for short term gain.'