alt text image of a five star rating

On Upselling

You must upsell your clients.

Upselling your clients isn’t about producing more revenue for you and your company, although it will certainly produce that outcome.

Upselling your clients isn’t about improving your profit margins, even though it will absolutely make you and your company more profitable.

Upselling isn’t about moving your clients upstream into a high priced solution as part of your sales strategy, even though it’s sometimes the right strategy and it often works.

It isn’t about your commission check.

Upselling is about creating the maximum amount of value for your clients.

Let’s say you walk into your dream client’s office for a meeting. They know what they need and share those needs with you. You have just the solution. It’s what they need and will get them the right outcome. All you have to do is help them buy it. It’s an easy sale. But that doesn’t make it the right sale.

What if there is something more your client needs? What if there is a larger, more strategic outcome you could deliver? Selling your client what they need isn’t the same as creating the maximum value that you can create. Stopping short of maximum value creation makes you transactional.

So why don’t you upsell your clients? First, it’s easier just take the deal in front of you. Some salespeople just take the easy sale and move on. But the second reason some salespeople don’t upsell their dream clients is because they’re afraid that by increasing the size and scope of the deal they lower their chances of winning it. They also believe that increasing the value created also means lengthening the sales cycle (and it might).

Not upselling means not creating the maximum value for your client. It means choosing to be transactional instead of strategic. Not upselling also means increasing the likelihood that one of your competitors (one who isn’t afraid of losing and isn’t afraid of a little longer sales cycle) will win their business—and their mindshare, their wallet share, and their loyalty.

Your job is to create the maximum value for your client in every deal. That doesn’t mean selling them more than they need (that’s about you). But it also doesn’t mean selling them less than they need (that’s about you, too).

Join my weekly Newsletter or apply for membership in my exclusive Inner Circle Mastermind Group.

Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.



  • Pingback: On Upselling | Sales Best Practices (

  • John

    If I’m working for my dream client the upsell is a logical choice, if I’m not working for my dream client it’s a bear and a deal breaker. Dream clients will say, “That’s a great idea, how can you help me make that happen.”
    Anthony, I love your blog. You’re doing a wonderful thing here!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Great point, John. Tough to create value for those that don’t appreciate it. Thanks for the kind words, too!

    • Alexander Jones

      Hi John, I have to respectfully disagree. I believe firmly that Every client can be a dream client if you show them how.

      You need to teach them what they are missing (or on what they should be focusing), tailor your messages to respond to their current and future pain points (based on your understanding of their business), and take control of the sale to deliver the maximum value to both sides of the table.

      I had a deal with a major media channel that flat-out refused to discuss our flag-ship offering. They had “heard about it” and had decided that it wasn’t what they wanted. What they wanted was our lowest priced offering. Not exactly dream material right?

      Well, after listening to the problem they were trying to solve, it became apparent that they needed that same flag-ship offering to achieve their business goals. So, I had to educate them.

      Keep in mind anytime anyone mentioned that flag-ship product by name during the meeting they got angry, and said “we already told you that is not what we want”. SO what did I do?

      I said “Well, the good news is that we can definitely help you get to where you want to be on that timeline”. I then went on to tell them how we were going to architect the solution.

      I got interrupted several times during my description by the question “What is the product name?” I told them each time not to worry about that right now, and even went so far as to refer to the specific product as the “product-that-shall-not-be-named”.

      Towards the end, I asked them how that sounded. They agreed that it sounded like exactly what they were trying to achieve, and then added sheepishly “That product is you flag-ship product isn’t it?”

      It was the flag-ship product, and they happily signed an hour later.

      I would recommend reading the book, “The Challenger Sale”. I get nothing from the recommend BTW :-)

      Happy selling!