Possibly The Dumbest Sales Strategy I’ve Heard: No Cross-Sells, No Up-Sells

As reported in Internet Retailer’s article “New retailer’s directive for customer relations: No cross-sell or up-sell.

“As it expands from wholesaling into retailing, Inventive Solutions wants to gain more control of managing relationships with customers. And to build an image as a helpful retailer, it has directed its customer-service team to avoid up-selling and cross-selling.” John Gibney, the company’s president and CEO says, “I don’t want any of my customers to ever call Inventive Solutions with the fear of getting cross-sold.”

Bottom line:

  • If you have a good solution that does what you say it does, you do a diservice to your customers by NOT offering them additional ways to benefit from your company.
  • There are many ways to offer cross-sells and up-sells without offending or turning off a customer. Why not train the reps in the right way to cross-sell and up-sell instead of telling them not to do it and killing profitability?
  • Here’s is an interesting test: Are your offended or afraid when Amazon offers you related material to what you are buying… or do you find it helpful?
  • This strategy stinks.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous February 18, 2005 at 3:02 am

I think Mr. Gibney is erring on the side of caution. He seems overly sensitive to possibility of their customers being offended by aggressive and inappropriate up-selling or cross-selling. Too bad because they are missing an opportunity to be of additional service to their customers. And, isn’t that why we’re in business?
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2 Anonymous February 18, 2005 at 8:02 am

I think Mr. Gibney is erring on the side of caution. He seems overly sensitive to possibility of their customers being offended by aggressive and inappropriate up-selling or cross-selling. Too bad because they are missing an opportunity to be of additional service to their customers. And, isn’t that why we’re in business?——-

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3 Anonymous April 5, 2004 at 6:04 pm

A lot of cross selling in retail is designed to pad the retailers margins, and has nothing to do with actually meeting customer needs. He might believe that negative results of offending customers from overly aggressive upselling outweighs the positive from the few that buy more than they planned. I could certaintly see that being the case when dealing with technial customers that know what they want, and why.

Amazon’s suggestions are all passive and easy to ignore. If you are dealing with a live person who is intent on not giving you exactly what you asked for it can be quite annoying.

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4 Anonymous April 5, 2004 at 6:04 pm

I’m not suggesting battering the customer as a strategy. Overly aggressive upselling is a lot different than upselling. It can be done well and in a way that helps the customer. To go from one extreme (trash the relationship by being so aggressive you scare off the customer) to the other (no upselling whatsoever) is nuts and sacrifices what for many businesses is its highest source of profit. (There is no additional cost of sale associatied with an up-sold or cross-sold item/service/solution.)

Reply

5 Anonymous April 5, 2004 at 11:04 pm

A lot of cross selling in retail is designed to pad the retailers margins, and has nothing to do with actually meeting customer needs. He might believe that negative results of offending customers from overly aggressive upselling outweighs the positive from the few that buy more than they planned. I could certaintly see that being the case when dealing with technial customers that know what they want, and why.
Amazon’s suggestions are all passive and easy to ignore. If you are dealing with a live person who is intent on not giving you exactly what you asked for it can be quite annoying.

Reply

6 Anonymous April 5, 2004 at 11:04 pm

I’m not suggesting battering the customer as a strategy. Overly aggressive upselling is a lot different than upselling. It can be done well and in a way that helps the customer. To go from one extreme (trash the relationship by being so aggressive you scare off the customer) to the other (no upselling whatsoever) is nuts and sacrifices what for many businesses is its highest source of profit. (There is no additional cost of sale associatied with an up-sold or cross-sold item/service/solution.)

Reply

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