Five tips for up-selling in your small business

Authored by Hiscox Experts.
3 min read
Hiscox logo


In a previous blog, we explained how small firms could apply “up-selling” techniques to help boost their sales with little or no extra marketing spend. Up-selling is frequently used by retailers to entice shoppers to part with a little more of their hard-earned cash, but what if you’re not in the retail trade? Up-selling can still work well for your business. You just need to think of ways of applying it to your particular sector. Here are a few ideas:


Upgrading or bundling services

Putting together two of your products is an excellent way of making your customers aware of your full range of services and is a simple way of making an additional sale. So, for example, if you’re a design agency that has a client wanting a new logo, then why not offer to provide them with new office stationery bearing your new design, or perhaps a new website for a single flat fee?


Upgrading also opens the door to you forming new partnerships that expand your offering. If the client wants a new website, it is likely to need someone to write the words for it too. You could agree to introduce your clients to a copywriter in return for a commission and vice versa.


An audit or service

You can seek to understand what your clients’ future needs are likely to be by analysing what they already have. So, if you’re an IT consultant, you could offer clients an annual service of their computer systems, to see if their:


  • hardware is still up to scratch

  • software programs suit their needs

  • security systems are up to date.


As existing customers who trust you, they are likely to ask you for advice on how to fix any faults or weaknesses you’ve identified.


A warranty or service contract

I know many of you will grimace at my mentioning the infamous “extended warranty”, which has become the unacceptable face of up-selling. But offering your clients a rolling service contract can reassure them and tie them closer to you. The idea that, for a modest, regular fee, you will drop everything and sort out their problem when they’re in a real fix is a weight off the mind of the hard-pressed boss of any firm and offers you a great way of showing off your expertise.



Time-limited offers

If a client hires you to do a job, you could offer them the chance to buy another product or service from you for a discounted rate. By telling them the offer will end soon, you encourage them to act quickly. So, let’s say, a car mechanic who performs MOTs could offer a 10% discount on the price of a full vehicle service for a month after the MOT.


It’s also a good idea to offer promotions timed around your clients’ needs. So, a beauty therapist could provide a special price for a package of treatments in the run-up to Christmas, in time for work and family parties. Or a personal trainer could give a discount for a block of sessions before the summer holidays when people want to look their best for the beach.


Update your clients

Many of your clients are likely to know you for the specific things they buy from you. You’re likely to be fixed in their minds as “the firm that does X for us”, so it’s a good idea to update all your clients about what you offer regularly. You could consider an email newsletter, telling them about new products and services and even details of successful projects you’ve done for other clients.


It’s important to remember that your relationship with your clients comes first. Nothing you do to try to increase your sales should jeopardise that. But if your up-selling strategies are based on a genuine desire to go the extra mile for them, then it’s possible to boost your turnover and deepen the ties that bind you and your clients together.

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Hiscox Experts

The Hiscox Experts are leaders valued for their experience within the insurance industry. Their specialisms include areas such as professional indemnity and public liability, across industries including media, technology, and broader professional services. All content authored by the Hiscox Experts is in line with our editorial guidelines.