It’s a simple fact that you will not close every sale that you attempt, some people will simply say no even at the last minute. However there is a simple strategy that will enable you to profit on those sales that you would otherwise lose, and this is down-selling. This technique is used when the customer, for some reason, decides to back down from the purchase. In this case you can offer them a cheaper alternative product, which has higher chances of being accepted. The goal here is to acquire a customer, even if you will not profit as much as possible right away.
A good example are Car dealers, who down-sell all the time. If you enter a dealership looking for a BMW and get scared with the price, the salesman will certainly bring up many other options that cost a lot less. That is down-selling. Of course you have to have the lower cost options available, and I would not suggest discounting as this is not downselling, it’s just giving away margin.
How many times have you been offered additional features that you have no need for and that actually have no perceived value to you. Too often we see salespeople praying on their customer’s ignorance and up-selling even though there is no extra value being created for the customer. In this instance the salesperson is simply meeting their own agenda and getting the customer to pay for it.
The problem here is that the more the salesperson attempts to upsell the more likely they are to lose the sale. Up-selling is a powerful skill, but only when your customer is getting more value. Not less. When you down-sell you build trust and demonstrate you are acting in your customer’s best interests.
Down-Selling is about serving the customer, first and foremost. Listening to their needs, wants, desires, and recommending a solution (hopefully your company has a matching offer) that addresses those needs.
If salespeople “really” listened to their customers and appropriately down-sold they would have provided the customer with an opportunity to buy-in and they would have made the sale. They would have the potential to up-sell downstream when their customer needs better matched their extra value proposition.
McDonald’s has built a fast food empire on: convenience, average food, great systems and of course, “up-selling”. But when you drive through a McDonald’s and an attendant asks you, “Would like to upsize your meal?” and you respond, “No thank you” they don’t reply with, “Are you sure… I mean really sure?” They listen and then act accordingly.
Down-selling may not please your sales manager sometimes, but your customers will appreciate it and thank you with their business and loyalty.