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How to Earn More With a Productized Service: Upsell and Cross-Sell Like a Pro

productized service upsell
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On today’s agenda we have: the art of upselling.

To upsell (verb): to convince a customer to buy a higher-end version of the product they wanted to purchase in the first place.

This could be convincing the client to buy a 65 inch tv instead of the 60 inch one, because the difference in the price is not that big.

Now, the foundation of upselling seems to be laying in products. Because who of us hasn’t heard the proposal of extending the warranty when buying their new coffee machine or laptop?

But upselling is a technique used not only with products.

Wherever there are clients, there is upselling. And that’s how you’ll find upselling in SaaS, in ecommerce, in your local McDonald’s, at Starbucks, and in your favorite clothing store.

We all come across this technique, but tend to overlook it, as long as the seller is not too pushy about it. Why? Because we’ve already decided to buy the product or service anyway.

And that’s why upselling is one of the best and the most effortless marketing and sales techniques out there. We’re working with a client who’s already in the purchase mode.

In this article, we want to dig a little deeper and analyze upselling in productized services. We’ll also touch a bit on cross-selling and showcase a few examples to really seal the deal. 

Let’s not waste any more time and jump right in!

The Blurry Line Between Upselling and Cross-Selling

Before we get into upselling productized services we need to address the elephant in the room. And in the room of upselling, the elephant’s name is cross-selling.

We’ve already given the definition of upselling right at the beginning of this article. So let’s do the same with cross-selling.

To cross-sell (verb): is to convince the customer to purchase products that are related to the product they are already buying.

So, upselling would be convincing the client to purchase a higher-end version of a product, while cross-selling would be convincing the client to buy additional, related items.

Try to remember these definitions as we go through this article, because those two terms usually get mixed up and even tend to be used interchangeably by some.

3 Pillars of Upselling Productized Services

Now we can go ahead and map out three main pillars of upselling that we should stick to when selling our productized services.

Therefore, the productized service you’re trying to upsell should:

  1. be relevant to the core productized service you’re selling
  2. be higher-end (more expensive)
  3. give customers more benefits than the starter option

Basically convincing your clients that they can get a quick win for a bit more money and get multiple benefits at the same time.

It’s like being at the Apple Store and finally choosing an iphone with more storage than the one you initially wanted to purchase. You still get the same phone, but you will have more memory to use for just a bit more money.

7 Different Methods of Upselling and Cross-Selling Productized Services

Now that the theoretical part is out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this article – upselling and cross-selling productized services.

We all know that productization of services is very much on the rise and many service based businesses go for this specific model to get blessed with its many benefits.

You can find productized services in inbound marketing, in graphic design services, in consulting services, translation, food delivery, copywriting, SEO, podcasting, wordpress website management services, you name it.

Moreover, there are different approaches to productization as well.

Some take advantage of a subscription service, e.g. you can be someone’s personal graphic designer and offer a subscription to 40 hours of your work time in a month. Others go for one-time services, e.g. writing a 2k words article on a specific topic for $200.

But whichever productization model you choose, there’s always a way to earn more.

Here are seven methods of both upselling and cross-selling we find worth using when selling your productized services.

Cross-Selling

Cross-Sell Method #1: Offer Add-Ons

Starting with the most natural and logical method for cross-selling productized services: offering add-ons.

Add-ons are basically extra products or services that you offer as complementary to the base service/product.

This could be offering a social media fitted version of the graphic designs you’ll be working on for an additional $300.

All you have to do is add a specific checkbox for your clients to add the extra services when ordering the base productized service. These have their place in the checkout so that the client has easy access to the additional options and can pay for them while purchasing the base productized service they chose earlier.

Cross-Sell Method #2: Use Client’s Purchase History

Use your clients purchasing history to your advantage.

See what they bought and recommend similar, but higher-end productized services. Again, there’s a variety of ways in which you can reach out to your clients to offer them new products, whether that’ll be email newsletter or popups, you can definitely figure a way out.

Bonus tip: check your abandoned carts.

The abandoned carts can help us a lot when selling productized services. They can hint at what our potential clients find valuable in our offerings, see in which areas they hesitated to complete the purchase, and more.

An interesting way businesses decided to take advantage of abandoned carts is through a trend on TikTok. Yes, you’ve heard that right.

We all know that TikTok is a powerful tool in digital marketing nowadays.

One of the trends that took off on TikTok was when businesses randomly selected one of the abandoned carts on their website and sent out the items in that cart to that specific client, free of charge. Companies made TikToks following the process, marketing their brand with the video.

That’s one of the ways to use abandoned carts to your advantage.

But if you’re looking specifically to cross-sell, you should rather treat abandoned carts more as clues as to what your clients like or simply as reminders for your clients to complete their purchase.

An example of doing that with the help of software is Sprout Studio, a CRM for photographers. Their recently added feature automatically sends out emails to clients who have abandoned their shopping carts within 24 hours of doing so! 

Cross-Sell Method #3: Add Productized Service Suggestions

Since selling productized services is all about shifting your way of selling services into methods used when selling regular, physical products, you can also take advantage of adding productized service suggestions, just as many ecommerce businesses do.

Use the whole ‘because you liked this productized service, you may enjoy these as well‘ vibe.

Again, how you deliver this message to your customers depends solely on you and your imagination.

Upselling

Upsell Method #1: Compare Similar Productized Services

Whatever we’re buying now, we have many options.

On top of that, we have many different resources to compare our options.

We don’t have to buy whatever’s currently available. We can choose the best products for the best deals.

That’s why comparison is vital for our customers.

87% of customers agreed that knowing that they are actually getting a good deal is important in the purchasing process.

You can cater for the needs of your clients and show a comparison of similar productized services and save them the hassle of having to do the comparison themselves, upselling at the same time.

You’ll have the opportunity to present the productized services you want to upsell in the best way possible, especially when compared with more basic options. 

Highlight the benefits your customers will get, don’t go overboard with the price, and make the choice a no-brainer.

Upsell Method #2: Create Popups with Limited Time Offers

We all know the power of a limited time offer.

You may as well use this technique to upsell your productized services. Come up with a special offer that will appear to your clients as an absolutely not missable opportunity.

You can also go ahead and use countdown timers to create a sense of urgency.

The limited time offer may include a free gift to someone who completes a purchase in the time you set as final or include a special discount. Whatever you can imagine.

Sidenote: don’t make the pop ups annoying.

Upsell Method #3: Give Discounts and Special Offers

Who doesn’t love a good deal?

You don’t have to wait for Black Friday to come around.

Create special offers and discounts and incentivize your clients to purchase something better, something of more value.

The offers can reach your clients in newsletters, as popups, through your social media, member exclusive loyalty programs, contests and games, bundles, influencer marketing, and more. Whatever floats your boat and your business model.

Upsell Method #4: Offer a Premium Version of your Productized Service

When creating your productized service, it’s always best to think of it in variants.

The base productized service should be simple, yet give your clients enough for them to consider buying it.

However, it’s best to compare it with a higher-end version of that same productized service. The premium version will give your customers more benefits for just a bit more money, making the choice a piece of cake.

5 Examples of Upselling and Cross-Selling Productized Services

We don’t want to leave you empty-handed, so we went ahead and crafted a little list of real-life productized service upsell and cross-sell examples.

Example #1: Upselling Premium Version of a Product

Loganix already had an appearance in one of our articles about productization.

This time around, we’re going to take a closer look at their content writing services.

They offer two one-time content creation services. One is regular, well-written content and the other one is higher quality content that will also be optimized to rank high.

productized service upsell

The premium version of this productized service gives you a similar piece of content you would get in the first option, but better. Because this one will already be optimized for SEO and have images you need included. With the difference in turnaround of just two days, the second choice is very tempting.

Example #2: Upselling from a Free to Paid Option

Convincing customers to go from a free option of the productized service you’re offering to the paid one is also upselling.

This strategy is often used in SaaS businesses that offer their software solution based on a subscription model. The first plan is free, showcasing the basic capabilities of your solution, but further features are only available in the paid plans. This incentives potential customers to upgrade their subscription.

Not to toot our own horn, but here’s an example of upselling using this method from our own solution – Zendo.

productized service upsell

We have a completely free Starter plan that you can use cost-free as long as the number of agents in your team using Zendo does not exceed 2. Paid plans on the other hand, give Zendo customers access to additional features, such as custom domains.

Example #3: Upselling With Yearly Savings

Another common in SaaS and subscription based productized service businesses method of upselling is offering discounts to customers who decide to pay on an annual basis, instead of making monthly retainers.

The yearly plan gives business owners more money upfront, while the client gets a deal on the productized service they wanted to purchase either way.

Here’s an example from Kapa99, a graphic design agency that offers two subscription plans: Business and Business Express. Their customers get a 20% discount when choosing to pay annually for the same service they’d purchase when paid monthly.

productized service upsell

Example #4: Upselling With Fiverr’s Commit to Save: an Easy Way to Add Discounts

Fiverr creators decided to expand their offerings and stop limiting their users to offering one-time services only. Their new feature: subscribe to save gives online businesses an opportunity to turn their customers into subscribers.

You still get paid after every delivery, but you can offer your customers either 3 or 6 months long subscriptions to your services. Add a discount to the subscription and you can be sure to attract loyal clients into your customer base!

productized service upsell

Example #5: Cross-Selling By Adding Extra, Complimentary Services

Casting Words, a company concluded in 2005 and offering audio transcription services has mastered add-ons. If you choose their transcription service, you can complete your order in the form of self-service by uploading the audio file you want to get transcribed, add any notes, and then choose if you want to add any extra services to the base service.

In this case, the add-ons consist of adding timestamps on the transcription, adding subtitles, trimming the audio, and paying extra for difficult audio quality.

productized service upsell

Conclusion: Productized Service Upsell and Cross-Sell Techniques

Upselling and cross-selling productized services may seem like rocket science, but it’s actually not.

Especially once you get to know this particular business model and have caught up on how it works.

Once you shift your way of thinking and find the right path to selling productized services, upselling and cross-selling will be a breeze.

Especially because you can do it in so many different ways.

However, there’s one thing we’d like you to remember when using these techniques: don’t be too pushy.

Whatever it is, popups with limited time offers, special discounts, bundles, add-ons, or suggesting similar products, don’t be a productized service business that’s too much in their customer’s face.

No one likes pushy sellers. That can only drive people away from you as a business owner rather than help you earn more.

In the end, whether you decide to go for upselling or cross-selling, with the right amount of creativity and thoughtfulness, you can be sure to achieve some great results!

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Aleksandra Dworak
Aleksandra Dworak
Content Writer

Lifts weights at the gym and of off reader's shoulders to help them skip the daunting research part and get valuable information instead.

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