Business Smarts: Best Practices for Upselling Services - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Business Smarts: Best Practices for Upselling Services

It’s often said it’s easier to sell services to your existing clients, rather than finding all new ones. This is why upselling is so profitable as you are simply asking a customer if they want to add on another service to the existing ones you’re providing.

While you might be reluctant to upsell out of concern you’ll come across as too pushy, there’s a right way to go about upselling that can earn you additional profits without irritating or driving away your existing clients.

Here are some of the general best practices when it comes to upselling your services.

Target the Right Customers

Not everyone will respond well to upselling, which is why it’s important to be selective about which clients you target. Look for long-term clients who are familiar with your company and the quality of work you provide.

If you’re a lawn care company and you’re trying to sell more services such as aeration, overseeding and pest management, you need to focus in on clients that are looking for that perfectly maintained yard and have the funds to afford it. Clients who live in high-end residential spaces or in neighborhoods with homeowners’ associations are more likely to care about this aesthetic.  

Shawn Edwards, owner of A+ Lawn & Landscape, based in Des Moines, Iowa, says it depends on what service they’re currently selling that will determine what additional service they’ll try to upsell.  

“If we’re selling them our lawn care package, then we always try to sell them aeration and overseeding,” Edwards says. “If I’m selling them landscaping, we’re trying to upsell night lighting. If we’re selling them sprinkler systems, we’re trying to upsell them Wi-Fi controllers or night lighting again.”

Educate the Client

While you might think a client already knows what all services you provide or the benefits of them, it’s important not to assume. Edwards says customers are often not aware the company offers these other services.

“If you want to sell it, you need to educate them,” Edwards says.

By taking the time to educate the client and making sure they’re properly informed, they’re more likely to see the value in a service such as aeration. This also helps you avoid sounding too sales-forward.

At A+ Lawn & Landscape, they also have the production manager do the upselling later on when they’re on site for a job. For example, when the company comes out the day before to flag the site for installing an irrigation system, they’ll let the client know they can also run wiring for landscape lighting and they can save $500.

“We have somebody else do it so they’re hearing it from somebody besides the salesman,” Edwards says.

Having a production manager, field manager or someone else whose sole job isn’t to sell can put the customer at ease as they’re just notifying them of an issue or opportunity they spotted.

Edwards says if a client declines an upsell pitch, they may bring the service up again if it will help solve a problem they’re dealing with.

“A lot of times the more they hear it, the more receptive they become,” Edwards says.

Offer Discounts

Another way to upsell to clients is to offer them discounts. If they see the value in the service and they can save money, they’ll be much more likely to pull the trigger. One way to offer discounts is with service bundles. You can also offer good, better and best models so the client has more choices and you’re more likely to make a sale.

Edwards says customers are usually receptive to their upselling because they’re saving them money.

“We’re doing landscaping, and say ‘Hey we’re already here, the lighting usually for six lights is $1,500 but if you do it while we’re here tomorrow it’s only $1,000,” Edwards says. “So, they’re receptive because of the discount.”

Edwards says there is less cost when they’re already on site and they offer the discount because they want to sell more work while they’re there. He says it’s not a hard sell at all when it comes to offering additional services. They simply tell the customer about the savings available if they opt to add the additional work while they’re there working on another project.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.