Have You Mastered the Art of the Upsell? 4 Tips for Dispatchers

Posted by Stacey Papp

“Would you like fries with that?”

“Before I connect you to technical support for your cable service, I wanted to mention that right now, our super-duper package with 1,000 channels is just $100 a month more!”

“What type of vodka would you like in that martini – perhaps Grey Goose or Ketel One?”

If you’ve ever been asked any of the above statements or something similar – and the odds are excellent that you have – then you’ve been upsold to.

The art of the upsell can be a tricky one – it’s when someone is already buying, but a business is trying to get them to spend more. The right balance needs to be struck so that it seems to be to the customer’s advantage to cough up a little extra right at the time of purchase, whether that’s because it fills out their current order (the first example above), because there is a special promotion (the second example), or because they’ll get the same product they’re asking for – but one of superior quality (the third example).

If you’re doing it right, the upsell brings in more revenue for business and creates happier customers, because you’re educating them on an offering that they may not have realized you had or that they needed, and possibly solving another problem for them. 

At a field services business, it may be the dispatcher who is in the best position to upsell, because they’re taking the customer’s order – and bringing in more money and making the customer happier is going to make a dispatcher look pretty good to the boss. 

But do you know how to upsell? Check out these four tips.

Make it natural for the situation. Think about when you’ve been on the other side as a customer, and when you don’t want to be sold to. That second example of an upsell above also could be an example of a bad time to upsell. If a frustrated customer is calling to say they need tech support because something doesn’t work, then chances are they are not going to be very receptive to giving a company more of their money when the current product isn’t even functioning as expected. Make sure to listen carefully to what they are asking for and read the situation.

Help them be in the moment. If you’ve ever ordered pizza from one of the big delivery companies, you know that they always offer add-ons like soda pop and dessert. Someone ordering pizza might not be thinking just then about what they’ll drink with it or whether they might want something sweet afterward – and the whole point of pizza delivery is so you don’t have to leave the house or pause Netflix for more than a minute – so the company puts it in front of the customer during the time of order. 

It makes it a one-stop shop for the customer … and of course, the pizza place makes more money when you realize you don’t want to change out of your PJs for a Diet Coke run (zero calories, so it basically makes the pizza healthy!). Make an upsell on the original call for service about something they might not be thinking about just then, and you’ve made your company that same one-stop shop.

Match the upsell to the original order. Fast food places ask you if you want fries with your burger because fries go with that food item – asking someone if they want a chicken sandwich to go with their burger makes less sense (unless they are really hungry, in which case we wouldn’t judge if they wanted both). So if you work for a landscaping service and someone calls to order leaf removal for their home because it’s autumn, a dispatcher can say, “We can definitely handle that – and our company also can prep your shrubbery and flower beds for the winter as well for just X dollars more, if you’re interested.” 

Highlight the benefit to the customer. Without droning on and on – an upsell should ideally be no more than two short spoken sentences, so that you don’t waste the customer’s time or give them time to lose interest – quickly state the benefit to them if they take the upsell, whether it’s a discounted price if the service is paired with their current order or a problem that is related to the one they’re calling about. 

The art of the upsell can be tricky to master, but as long as a dispatcher is able to put herself in the customer’s shoes, upselling will soon become second nature. 

And speaking of shoes, a piece of advice: When the shoe store sales associate upsells by assuring you that you definitely do need both pairs, she is absolutely right.

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