How to Increase your Income with Cross-Selling Techniques

The technique is very simple. If we have already sold a product to a customer -or we have made a service for him- and have been satisfied with it, we are in an unbeatable position to acquire other products -or services- that our company offers. The strategy takes as a reference both the base products and those other annexes that can be linked to the main sale. If a hotel, in addition to the stay, offers excursions to the surroundings and the services provided satisfy the client, it is clear that the base product – the hiring of the hotel room – is reinforced.


Cross selling is a technique that can be developed by any company, large or small. It is applicable to both single-product and multi-service companies. The former use cross-selling to favor the more continuous use of a service. For example, a restaurant that offers other activities such as meeting rooms, musical performances, etc., but whose main objective is to use them to increase sales in its main business: the restaurant.

In the case of multiproduct, what is sought is to become suppliers of their customers of more than one range of products / services. It would be the case of a computer sales company that also offers the technical repair service or the installation service of a computer network.

In any case, what is involved is to maximize the value of each client. A priori all sectors are prone to this type of practice, but there are some, such as travel agencies, which is special. The customer who purchases a vacation package usually has a good purchasing level, as well as an ideal profile to complement it with other services. Think of a trip to New York with tickets to a Broadway show, or a trip to the Canary Islands to which is added, for example, the rental of the vehicle: more than one would accept it.

However, it is not a widespread practice in the sector because the commercials themselves have their reservations about charging the client too much. They are afraid that he will back down and not buy the trip.

  • Direct contact. As in other marketing strategies, the key factor of cross-selling is knowing the customer to the fullest: the degree of acceptance of new services, what products demand, etc. SMEs play with advantage because of the direct contact they have with the client, which allows them to know their needs at all times.
  • This direct contact is decisive. We are all aware that, as we get closer to a specific commercial, we acquire a greater degree of confidence. Something that serves to configure a rich database with a barely noticeable economic cost. First with the basic data from the first contact, and then with complementary data -as a history of consumption- collected in subsequent contacts and that enrich the database.
  • Computer help. Today there are a multitude of CRM (Consumer Relationship Management) solutions. Commercial management tools are commercialized for SMEs that include cross-selling modules. However, we must recognize that SMEs do not usually handle so much information, so it is not so necessary to have great analytical tools to cross-sell.

If you have a trade, for example, you can use the information provided by a good POS. Today, the terminals have small computers that record the sales made, the amounts of each sale and even associate them with the customer. Some dry cleaners, when wearing a garment, keep all this information. The use of this data not only allows tracking-calling someone to pick up a garment, but also could be used to cross-sell: a call is made to remind the customer that it is a good time to bring quilts, for example. Or to see if he wants his coats picked up now that the winter is over – remember we know how many coats he has.


The passport to success in cross-selling requires taking into account several factors:

A good database. That is, to include the basic data of the client and those that tell us what are your shopping habits, circumstances and preferences.

  • What the offer is suitable. It is necessary to analyze how the offer should be in all its aspects: advantages, price, etc … from the perspective of the profile to which the action is directed. It is important to study the supply eltarget well and avoid massive actions.
  • An adequate collaborating company. When the offer is not of a product or service itself, we must ensure that the brand and company with which we have a commercial agreement have a good image and a sufficient degree of satisfaction of their customers, so as not to take risks of losses in our own wallet.
  • Measure the effectiveness of cross selling. To know the effectiveness of cross-selling without using large measurement programs-within the reach of few SMEs-you can make a small statistic with specific data focusing on measuring the improvement of certain ratios: average number of products per customer, average income per customer, rate of customer lows on highs or on portfolio -of a commercial, for example-, its average age…


Several lines of action can be chosen, but it will depend on our business so that one or the other is more convenient for us. These are some:

  • Managers of the commercial network. They are the ones that can provide more direct information to the client since they are face to face with him, from a computer store to fabric suppliers. Everyone who sells must know their customers to be able to offer them what goes best with their tastes and needs.
  • Direct marketing actions. They are set in motion for the client to take the initiative. An example might be asking the customer to fill out a coupon, call by phone, go to the office, etc. This is the case of a real estate agency that hires an apartment for the summer. The agency delivers a small questionnaire so that, at the end of the stay, it will be returned indicating the maintenance status of the apartment. So, take the opportunity to ask ourselves in what other areas within the Peninsula we would like to spend a few days on vacation and what kind or what comfort should the house have. With this we are giving you very interesting data to make us more offers with what we really like.
  • ‘Callcenter’ management. Many cross-sales are often made from these centers. When a certain customer calls, the client’s history and the additional product that can be offered appear on the telemarketer’s computer. This route is especially for medium-sized companies that have customer databases and can make their cost profitable, either own or subcontracted.
  • Pricing and promotions policies. They are, in fact, cross-selling formulas. For example, the discount on the second purchase – we buy two boxes of cookies and they give us the cheapest one – or on products of the same brand – they give us a certain discount depending on whether we take one, two or three. Likewise, the delivery of samples of other products when buying a certain one is a practice widely used in perfumeries, where they always tend to show samples of men or women, depending on who buys. Finally, the discount checks for the purchase of products that you want to promote.

Bases to establish the cross sale

It is essential to know what new products or services can be offered to the customer, for which it is essential to have an effective database. This implies:

  • That is normalized. It refers to the information it collects, so that the different fields are filled in identically to avoid duplicates, errors … For example, that all addresses have “Type of track” and not that some put street and others do not put nothing.
  • That is updated. That is to say, that the information handled reflects the current reality of the clients, not information without updating that can lead to errors when performing analyzes and segmentations. For example, if the customer is another company, that has the data of an address that has changed, or a contact that no longer works in that company.
  • That is homogenized. It is important to have the same information collected from all the clients that make up our database. For example, the annual expenditure data by type of product / service to be able to segment those fields.

We have permanent information on the company-client relationship, or with data from our own and other sources. For its update, for example, economic magazines and newspapers report new appointments or billing information for a specific company.