Cross-selling refers to the process of selling an additional product/service that is related to the primary purchase that a customer or client makes.


Very often the approach to sales is usually linear and only focuses on the funnel process. It is always how you can best take a prospect from being a lead through various buying stages until they have made a purchase. At best, there will be an after-sale follow-up process to assess the customer’s satisfaction with the products or services you sold to them.

The truth is that there is nothing as stimulating as completing your sales cycle and closing the deal. However, we need to start developing the practice of cultivating more value from our clients. There is more value that we can add to our clients than we realise. This is through cross-selling. Before we go in-depth, let us understand what cross-selling is.

Cross-selling refers to the process of selling an additional product/service that is related to the primary purchase that a customer or client makes. The additional product/service is intended to enhance the customer’s experience with the primary product/service. A simple example of cross-selling that I am sure many of us can relate to is when buying fast-food from a street vendor or a franchise and they ask if you would like a cold beverage with your food, encouraging you to buy something to drink in addition to the meal that you had already bought. There are so many examples and scenarios that one can think of when it comes to cross-selling.

Cross-selling mainly focuses on increasing sales volumes and, according to McKinsey, cross-selling can increase sales by 20 percent and profits by 30 percent. Invespo has also revealed that personalised cross-sells make up 7 percent of their website visits and account for 26 percent of their total revenue. Now that you have a better perspective on cross-selling, let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages with this approach.

Firstly, let us start by looking at the advantages: It helps businesses build customer satisfaction, stimulate sales of low margin products and services, and businesses can use it to establish a differentiation factor against your competitors. If done properly, cross-selling will add value to the customer through lower bundled prices and more variety in terms of products, as well as provide a one-stop shopping experience.

On the negative side, some customers may find cross-selling distracting. It can create a culture of promotion maximisers. These are customers who gravitate towards steep discounts and avoid regularly priced items. It increases the risk or revenue reversers. This segment of customers will generate revenue but will take it back. This is typical for product sellers through returns - the more they buy, the more they will return.

Now that we have discussed what cross-selling is and the advantages and disadvantages associated with it, let us now look into how we can strategically implement cross-selling strategies that positively add to both an increase in revenue and profit.


Cross-selling seems so easy, but there is an art to it if you really want to unlock its full potential. One of the best and simple approaches is by making recommendations to your clients based on their past purchases. Look back into your database and analyse what products they buy frequently, what they spend most of their money on and what they are interested in. Many e-commerce companies have mastered this.

Have you ever wondered why, when you buy a product, there is a recommendation on what you might also be interested in? It is not by coincidence or chance. It is a deliberate cross-selling strategy generated by an algorithm based on your buying history. This is why it is important to always review your buyer’s history.


This strategy comes across as cliché but it actually works when it comes to selling more to your existing client base. Usually a client will be offered a discount for the entire package if they want to choose a part of the package and will be motivated to spend more to acquire the entire package that is offered by you. Education providers are usually good at this strategy because they know they can monetise the same programme in many ways by breaking it into different levels with the highest or last level holding higher credibility, e.g. levels 1, 2 and 3.



Offering loyalty rewards is one of the best and most used strategies in the world and in every industry. For a customer, what is better than staying loyal to a brand and being rewarded for it? This influences customers to buy more and businesses can always influence sales of slow moving products and slow selling services by just offering a higher reward if a customer purchases those products and services over other items. Commonly a customer is given a card or token that adds points or e-cash when they make a purchase on participating products/services. This strategy works even better when you put an expiry date on these loyalty points or e-cash. We all know telecommunications do this a lot by granting from 20 percent of your airtime purchases as on net balances while banks always offer you cash back when you swipe your card.