The Power of the Up-Sell: Business Hack Series

One of the most valuable hacks any business can make is to consider ways to upsell existing products or services.

The Up-Sell Hack Defined

Up-selling is the simple act of turning a sale (that is in process) into a larger sale.  This is usually accomplished by offering a premium version of the product or service a customer is already interested in purchasing.  

The idea is that the person buying your product or service is already convinced they want it. Therefore, offering them an opportunity to buy an even better product or service gives you a chance to increase your sales ticket, or overall revenue.

Up-Selling Example

One of my favorite examples of up selling comes from a Subway restaurant on the north west side of Indiana near Chicago.  As I travel, I have visited dozens and dozens of Subway restaurants, but no other restaurant seems to up-sell like this one does.  

This subway restaurant has mastered the art of up-selling.

They do this by asking every single customer if they want extra meat and cheese on their sandwich or salad.  Extra meat and extra cheese cost an additional fee, so when a customer agrees to this up-sell, the sales ticket is increased and the subway restaurant brings in more revenue.

This works well with this particular store because the subway is located inside a truck stop where in majority of the customers are truckers, who probably enjoy larger sandwiches.  While this location does seem to have a somewhat unique customer base from the general population of Subway restaurants, the simple act of asking if a customer wants extra meat and cheese gives the restaurant an opportunity to generate a larger amount of revenue.

It is interesting to me that not a single other subway restaurant that I have visited has tried this technique with me, though they all offer extra meat and cheese on their menus.

Business Hack Application

Up-selling is a powerful business hack that every business should consider, regardless of the industry.  The following are ways any business could hack their sales model and offer an up-sell:

  • Premium Product - If you don't already offer a premium version of your most popular products or services, consider this as an opportunity to up-sell.
  • Ask Every Time - While some customers may decline an up-sell, the reality is that others will accept it.  If you ask every time, your total revenue will increase due to customers who accept your up-sell.

What other ways could you hack your sales model and offer an up-sell?