Upselling the Complex Product: 6 Ways to Not Confuse Your Customer

Congratulations! You sold a customer on the basic package of your product – but that is only the first stage in the sales process. You want these customers to be using your products to the fullest, which helps them understand the product better, and improves your ROI. Unfortunately, your customer may not understand the new features very well, and it’s up to you to upsell to them without overwhelming them. With my experience in upselling features of Google AdWords, “overdoing” it, even when you’re just trying to educate, can quickly end an upsell. That’s why there are only six steps for not overdoing the upsell!

1. Ask your customer questions to narrow your focus.

Ask questions about your customer’s company, but with the intention to narrow down the features that would be useful to them, not to increase the amount that you could potentially sell to them. Take what you already know about the company – perhaps what they’ve already bought, or what their account looks like – and use that to generate your starting list of features. As you receive answers, star pieces that would fit perfectly, and cross off pieces that are not quite as good of a fit. You can pitch those later (Step 6), but for right now, forget about them.

2. Say only what you need to say, and nothing more.

This is when the idiom “opening up a can of worms” has never applied better. At first (and I have fallen into this trap many times), it may seem great to mention this little feature that isn’t super pertinent, but is clever and potentially useful nonetheless. It could even be free. However, if it’s not directly connected to the big feature you’re trying to pitch, ignore it. Pretend it’s not there. Don’t even tack it on at the end, as your 30-minute conversation will turn into an hour conversation while you try to explain it. While it may seem like your customer is asking questions because they’re dedicated, they may actually be getting frustrated because they just want to understand the extra feature.

3. Use your product/service’s lingo – don’t substitute words.

The technical lingo in some products can often get a bit overwhelming – not all engineers are salesmen, after all – but it’s still pertinent to use the correct terms. It’s okay to make analogies, but make sure that they’re clearly analogies, or else your customer might think that’s the actual term. Why is this so important? If they happen to speak to support or another representative, the rep may not know what they’re talking about. This is also why you want to focus on only one feature at a time, as there’s nothing worse that learning a new vocabulary while trying to learn the feature.

4. Have a demonstration – if your customer has time.

Demonstrations, or demos, are often extremely effective in helping the customer understand, as long as they’re used in moderation. They also tend to be very time-consuming, so if your customer is able to dedicate the time, it’s worth it to walk them through. This can become one of the more overwhelming parts of the pitch, however, so keep it as simple as possible and always reiterate why the feature is important to the customer or their business. That way, even if you can’t avoid some confusion (and there are some times where you just can’t), your customer will not glaze over.

5. Don’t forget to use your resources

Anything that your customer has asked about is best followed up with a written resource – but only if you talked about it. Chances are, you have a lot of content about your product (and if you don’t, it’s time to get started creating some), but that doesn’t always mean you can’t write your own as well. A summary of what you talked about or step-by-step instructions on what you did (with short notes on why) can be extremely helpful.

Don’t use this step to add in those extra features, though – remember step 6! If your customer appeared savvy enough, you could add them at the end under a spot clearly marked “extra features we didn’t talk about”, but it’s not necessary. These follow-up emails are useful to you as well, as you can refer back to them before your follow-up with the customer.

6. Following up and fetching compliments – or complaints

Even though a customer may have agreed to use a feature – and some happily so! – it’s still a good idea to follow up. I find that phone calls are best if you spoke over the phone the first time. Since the follow-up may be a couple weeks after the initial pitch, the customer will likely have other things in mind, and an email is more likely to be passed over.

The follow-ups are so important because not only can you pitch additional features, but you can assuage any complaints before they become full-blown. It’s much easier for you to explain why a certain feature is working a certain way because you knew what you have said before, and can solve the problems in that context.

The sale never ends!

With the complex product, the sale should never end. Chances are, there are multitudes of features to pitch on top of following-up with the customer for the base product. Customers can feel overwhelmed by too much, even if it’s all good stuff at a good price, and this can slow down a sale. At a more appropriate level, a sale can go a long way towards not only increasing revenue, but also improving the rapport between you, the salesman, and your customer. Use strategic lead nurturing strategies to keep in touch with your customers, and watch revenue climb up!