Companies offering inbound call center services are fortified with the innate skill of gaining more sales and revenue for the businesses to which they serve by making use of several cross-selling and upselling techniques.

Upselling and cross-selling, in fact, are the processes by which a customer support agent tactically offers additional products to the customer or similar product of more value in which the concerned customer is likely to be interested. Most of the call centers train their resources regularly on various techniques including upselling and cross-selling. So, for a typical agent, it comes naturally while interacting with the customers.

inbound call center sales techniques

Call center sales techniques

Inbound call center providers have always encouraged and appreciated cross-selling and upselling as they get more business to their clients and this adds more value to the service being provided.

Putting forward a recommendation to buy more or buy products of more value is something to be planned shrewdly. In between the conversations, there will always be some instances where call center upselling techniques or cross-selling can be tried. The representatives should maintain consistency in a pleasant manner and in all the interactions no opportunity should be missed. Call centers should also plan some incentives or prizes for agents who fetch more businesses.

The agent should in fact not blindly follow the sales call center script. Every customer is unique, and their scenarios and issues vary significantly. Staying unflinchingly adhered to the script presents the agent as a robotic element representing the company and people hate speaking to machines. Moreover, chances of upselling and cross-selling are lost when the agent revolves around the script. The company offering inbound call center services should also provide agents with enough flexibility and freedom to do things creatively and smartly while maintaining the expected level of professionalism.

Cross-Selling and Upselling: The Ultimate Inbound Call Center Sales Techniques

Deals getting closed by sales personnel only has become a thing of the past. Nowadays, high spirited Customer success managers (CSMs) are playing a crucial role in leveraging an organization’s revenue generation potential and inspiring more customers to come within the organizational fold.

CSMs not only are retaining customers with their stellar work but also triggering cross-selling and upselling. This means CSMs themselves are instrumental in making sales. Through strategic interventions, they are facilitating companies in earning better revenues from existing clients.

The new selling methodologies sharply depart from the conventional ways to cold call and prospect potential customers. However, the impact is not lessened in any manner. The theme is to retain present customers which will spontaneously drive more sales and revenues from them.

The return on investment on new selling tactics engaged in by CSMs is significant. Acquiring new clients require high capital outlay compared to retaining existing ones. Retained customers are those who are satisfied with your company’s offerings. Hence, they would definitely be spending more on purchasing your brand’s products on regular basis.

It is significantly easier to market your products or services to existing customers compared to potential customers. When you upsell and cross-sell to existing customers, you are monetizing on a favorable business opportunity.

CSMs are strategically well placed to leverage these selling techniques appropriately. They know about customers better than anyone. Consequently, they can make offers which would complement the objectives of customers. The offers would be made based on current preferences of customers and products/ services they have been using.

This post would discuss useful cross-sell and upsell tips that would help CSMs generate more revenues easily.

What is cross-selling?

In cross-selling, you are motivating existing customers to buy something in addition to the products/services they are regularly marketing for. If your customer, for example, has subscribed to SAAS (Software as a Service), you can encourage him to subscribe to PAAS (Platform as a Service) from your company.

what is cross selling

You must have often come across cross-selling whenever you may visit your local retail shop for purchasing household or other goods. In addition to the primary product being bought by you, the shopkeeper would frequently suggest you new products which can add value to your pursuits. Encouraging the purchase of complementary product along with staple product is cross-selling.

Cross-selling is evident in all sorts of marketing ventures. If you land in a shop with the intention of purchasing a laptop, the rep over there would motivate you to purchase a printer along with the laptop. You may even be incentivized to make the additional purchase.

What is upselling?

In upselling, the buyer is encouraged to bundle up his primary product with another adjuvant product which would add more premium to primary product i.e. render it costlier. For instance, if you have purchased a subscription of Adobe Photoshop for your studio, you would be encouraged by CSMs to buy additional third-party filters which can be integrated in Photoshop for improving your productivity.

what is upselling

Cross-selling primarily is about motivating customers to buy complementary items whereas upselling is about offering something that would upgrade the primary product purchased by the customer and render the same more expensive. Upselling is like suggesting the buyer purchase mouse along with the desktop computer. Without the mouse, using and navigating the computer would be a tough task.

It has been observed that upselling has an edge over cross-selling and can be done more effectively. CSMs find it easier to inspire customers to buy an upgrade for a product/ service being purchased rather than make them buy additional value-adding items.

Difference between cross-selling and upselling

The difference between cross-selling and upselling is simple. In upselling, you are motivating the customer to buy something which would make the primary product costlier. In cross-selling, you are inspiring the customer to buy something in addition to the original product, something which would add value but is not indispensable.

upselling vs. cross-selling

The difference basically boils down to complementary item versus an upgrade. In cross-selling, you are encouraging sell of another product in addition to the primary one; in upselling, you are motivating buyers to pay for an upgrade that would render the primary product more useful and functional.

You can interchangeably use the methods for driving optimal sales. Based on the situation, the specific method may be used to motivate customers to spend more on your brand’s products/ services.

Ways to Cross-sell and upsell

Customer success managers can play a decisive role in cross-selling and upselling apart from the salesperson who engages in such methods in retailing.

CSMs need to keenly monitor the purchasing behavior and usage pattern of buyers. Based on this observation, they can motivate the customers to buy additional products after sealing the initial deal.

CSMs have to keep interacting with customers over emails and through telephonic conversations. Through persuasion and seminal talks, sometimes down the line the customer would exhibit interest in adding value to products purchased through additional upgrades. At this point, CSMs can discuss about available options and convince the buyers about their usability.

Some of the proven tips for engaging in vigorous cross-selling and upselling are discussed below for your reference.

  1. Learn about your customers’ goals

    Once a sale has been registered, it is time to go beyond registration details and learn more about the customer’s objectives. The demography and psychograph of customers can be blended with their feedbacks to learn about the reasons for making purchases of specific products. Once you have sufficient insights into their needs, you can upsell and cross-sell with confidence.

  2. Learn how your products would be used for facilitating customers’ growth

    It is important to understand the proposed usage of products and the way the products would come to the assistance of customers. If the product has helped a customer in accomplishing his/ her objectives, s/he would eagerly promote your product through word-of-mouth promotion.

    At this juncture, when your product is facilitating customers to achieve their goals, you can upsell and cross-sell. Customers would not mind spending money on upgrades or ancillary products that can render their pursuits more productive. However, your selling efforts will prove futile if you start approaching customers immediately after onboarding. This is because the value of your product has not become apparent to them yet.

  3. Try to provide solutions to potential problems with suggestions of product upgrades

    Before approaching the customer with a selling plan, you need to understand the upsides of your product. This would help you align the product’s competitive edge with the pursuit of the customer. You can also get a feel of the problems that have plaguing the customers prior to using your product. This way, you can customize the item you plan to upsell or cross-sell and showcase it as something which would further help in streamlining the activities of the customer.

  4. Try to hone your perception skills

    As a CSM, you must be able to identify situations opportune for making a cross-sell. The opportunity of selling may come your way on the go. During a telephonic conversation or email communication, you may perceive that the customer is ready to take his product journey to the next level.

To be perceptive about potential trigger points, you need to strengthen your listening skills and reading acumen. This would allow you to pick up subtle signs which indicate that the customers are willing to expand.

This cross-selling and upselling guide will prove extremely valuable if you adhere to the points discussed. Eventually, your success in triggering sales depends upon the agility with which you can leverage the opportunities available.

11 Effective cross selling and upselling strategies

Now let us see some of the most effective practices for upselling and cross-selling. Underlying are some popular ones, there are many and based on the innovativeness and resourcefulness companies can plan their own exclusive strategies.  Agents should keep the following things in mind

  1. Understand which method is more effective

    It is important to stay away from pestering your customers with a deluge of suggestions. Think about useful suggestions that can help your customers to feel happy about their purchases. According to studies, upselling techniques are effective than cross-selling.   Most customers don’t like to be advised once they have made clear decisions about the items to spend money on. So, concentrate on suggestions that can transform their primary choices into better ones. There are also instances where upselling is not at all a reliable option. Here, cross-selling could be used as the alternative.

  2. You should aim for availing more value

    Nowadays, customers are more inclined towards products that offer the maximum value for the money they spend. So, agents have to demonstrate the value of additional or more costly products they are intending to pitch. For the same, the agent should convince the customer to see the wider perspective. It has to be made palpable that the worth of product is not always testified by the price tag but via its longevity, reliability, and usefulness.

  3. Timing and the context are vital

    You have to give the immediate needs and requirements of customers’ highest priority. A frustrated customer calling with a complaint would never appreciate if you try to upsell or cross-sell. When it comes to serving customers, alleviate or eliminate their issues first. After the problems are resolved, if you can sense some pleasantness in their tone, you can attempt but again be careful.  This is among that crucial call center cross-selling techniques that if ignored, can cause disaster.

  4. Credibility is of huge importance

    Trust matters the most. While trying to sell more, you can cite some recommendations of professionals or industry experts. This increases the comfort of customers in a dilemma, and they are more likely to place orders. Above all, you should also gain the faith of customers by emphatically listing to their needs and suggesting them viable solutions.

  5. Being relevant benefits in long run

    Never try to cross-sell or upsell products that are of no use for customers. This is one of the basic call center sales techniques. Even if you succeed in getting sales, sooner or later the customer will feel deceived when he sees the product. Thus, you lose your credibility and may even lose the customer permanently to other smarter businesses. When it comes to running a business, long-term things should be kept in mind. Doing something unethical for immediate profits is the most unwise thing to do, for sure.

  6. Know your limits and exercise restraint

    Bombarding customers with recommendations and suggestions, again and again, makes them confused and irritated. It may do harm than good. Never suggest a really long list of items as the attention span of the customer may not be supportive enough.  They may forget the first few suggestions when you finally conclude your list.

  7. Give offers to loyal customers and make them feel special

    This is perhaps one of the best and most operative techniques. Loyal customers already trust you and are more likely to buy from you again and again. Offering something like customer pre-sales, family and friend vouchers or early bird offers exclusively for them can work well. This keeps your loyal customers happier and not only that by such gestures you are motivating your loyal customers to refer your brand to others as well.

  8. Make festive season a celebration

    People spend more money during festive seasons, and this is a point that every business keep in mind. You should come up with some great discounts or offers to sell more products through upselling or cross-selling techniques. Through smart tricks, try to get personal details of customers and send them special offers on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries etc.

  9. Bundled discounts

    With bundled discounts, you can sell more. On complimentary items, bundled discounts can work wonders.  You should take care of providing all needed information on the items. Customers should also have the provision to compare before they buy. Make sure that you keep related items in a bundle. However, there are exceptions in some cases.

  10. Honor faithfulness

    If you have successfully managed to apply upselling and cross-selling techniques, it is time to reward customer loyalty. After all, they have followed your suggestions and faithfully agreed to splurge more on those extra products. The token of appreciation can be shown in the form of a thank you letter, special gift items or future discount offers.


If you are looking towards outsourcing inbound call center services in India, inquire in detail regarding the strategies the concerned service providers are planning to implement for fetching your maximum sales. This will guide you properly in selecting the right call center outsourcing partner for your business. While they manage lead generation and conversion, you can focus completely on your main business activities.