Would You Like Fries With That? Hints For Cross And Up-Selling.


Recently, I had an informative conversation with a Commercial Director in my network. When assessing sales processes in their organisation, they had observed several cross-sell and up-sell opportunities had either been overlooked or simply gone unnoticed. In metaphorical fast-food terms, the team had missed opportunities to ask – ‘Do you want fries with that’?

This anecdote from the sales trenches is not at all uncommon.

In fact, it speaks to a furrow habitable by even the best and brightest in our commercial teams. Unconscious comfort zoning and mental laziness can spring up in salespeople from habitual behaviours and passable sales figures. Coupled with other performance crevasses, like lack of self-awareness, a neglecting of best practices, or a scarcity of quality coaching, observation, and challenge, and it is easy to see how these less than dynamic practices take shape. Sometimes, it is all too easy to sell what we know best and avoid risking the sale by throwing add-ons into the mix.

I’m not suggesting that these conditions necessarily speak to a lack of success at individual level. Many of us in sales are dopamine-fuelled hunters by trade, driven by internal wiring that moves us rapidly ‘across the prairie’ to chase down the next ‘herd’. As recently observed by productivity guru Darren Hardy, this can result in commercial networks ‘a mile wide, but an inch thick’. It can also mean that we are not offering clients the depth of our service to meet their challenges and costing our organisation golden opportunities to bolster our sales pipeline.

In the interests of impartiality, oversight on such matters must always start at home. After all, the key element of self-reflection is ‘self’!  A year or so back, my colleagues and I took a pragmatic look at one of my long-standing clients, an ostensibly happy buyer that had worked with us for years. It didn’t take too many probing questions for me to realise that there was so much more potential value available for the client.

Allowing my thinking to be challenged resulted in quantifiable business results for this client, a higher quality of service, and improved trust in our relationship. These buyer benefits were mirrored for us in a significant increase in ongoing order value.

If these common challenges ring a bell in your business, here’s just a few handy hints to get you back on track.

Step back – take a creative, objective look at each client to unlock opportunities to add value. Think about your services and ask yourself questions like ‘How can I improve my service to this client?’.

Invite challenge  – think like a dolphin pod, not a lone great white shark – invite coaching, questions, and challenge from your leadership peers to keep your mind fresh and uncover opportunities to delight clients and boost your sales.

Be an internal consultant – take the above two suggestions and deliver them as a service for your sales team; sales leaders should invite creativity and positively challenge team behaviours to drive results and contribute to a confident sales culture.

Create structured campaigns – work with your marketing and communication teams to create structured, client-centred campaigns to raise awareness and educate the customer on the full range of your services.

Develop your teams – in cross/selling processes to upskill and equip them to recognise opportunities to add value for customers.

Learn attentive and proactive listening to help uncover unexpressed needs.

Use consultative questions – provide a more complete solution, increasing value for customers, you, and your organisation.

Develop Initiatives – to reward around upselling and cross-selling – be creative with how you brand these projects to create emotional buy-in e.g., ‘Would you like fries with that?’


White Paper – Trust is Dead. Long Live Trust. Learn why trust is critical in the selling process and which attitudes are required by sales professionals to develop trusted business relationships.

Relationship Selling and Sales Academy – read about the Dale Carnegie approach to mindsets, skills, and leadership within the sales process. 

Graham Perkins is a Dale Carnegie Director, outstanding salesperson and trusted advisor to many brands. Supporting sales growth, leader and talent development, he is an expert in his field.