Up-selling and cross-selling are a natural part of business. If you buy a large coffee instead of a smaller, cheaper option, that’s up-selling. If you buy a muffin as well, that’s cross-selling.
It happens everywhere, and if you want to do well as a freelancer, you need to get used to up-selling and cross-selling your services.
Clients will likely come to you with a specific need and will disappear once you’ve done what they require. You therefore need to turn them into a returning client, or at least offer them additional services that they may not have considered before they vanish and the opportunity has gone.
Think “attachment sales”
In retail, an attachment is an additional item that compliments another a customer is already planning to buy. The muffin with your coffee, or whipped cream and marshmallows in your hot chocolate are extra sales on top of what you were already buying.
What additional services can you offer your clients that perhaps they haven’t considered?
If you’re a web designer discussing a project with a client for example, a possible cross-sell would be branded Facebook and Google+ covers, Twitter and YouTube backgrounds, and uniform avatars for all their social media accounts, on top of that new site design.
If they want a YouTube background, do they also need a custom title graphic that will be displayed at the start of each one?
Sell clients benefits
Businesses don’t like spending money. Therefore they need to see the benefits of the extra services you’re offering before they’ll consider investing.
The client may not have considered branding their social media accounts, but by explaining how it will help improve their overall brand awareness, you’ve got a good chance of them agreeing to go ahead with it.
If they’re unsure about that title graphic you mentioned, explain how this will help their brand exposure if someone embeds their videos on another site.
Team up with other people
It’s worth building up a contact list of other freelancers and businesses who compliment your own skills, and negotiating a fee for referring your clients to them.
I get a lot of enquiries about web design projects but since I don’t offer web design as a service myself, I instead prefer to outsource these to designers and developers I know, taking a small fee in the process.
Just be sure that whoever you’re passing work onto is reliable and produces work to a high standard.
Why up-selling is essential
Many new freelancers seem to struggle with the idea of attempting to get more money from clients.
Trying to convince someone they need a more expensive service may somehow seem greedy and underhand, but all businesses do it because it increases their profits.
And if you’re freelance business isn’t profitable, sadly it’s only a matter of time before you’re in financial trouble.
Don’t come across as desperate or pushy, but do try and squeeze extra money out of your clients. After all, I bet they’d happily pay you less (or nothing) if you gave them the opportunity.