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Effective Cross-Selling Techniques

August 15, 2023

Customers are the lifeblood of any dealership. While dealerships often focus on trying to bring in new ones, there’s incredible value in selling additional products or services to your existing customer base, too. One way to accomplish this is with an effective cross-sell strategy.

What does cross-selling mean for dealerships, and how can you do it well? We’ll break down cross-selling strategies and techniques to try below.

What Is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is a sales technique that involves selling existing customers additional products or services that complement their purchase. It’s distinct from up-selling—pushing higher-end or premium versions of the products customers are interested in buying—but both have the same end goal of increasing revenue for the company. According to research from McKinsey, cross-selling can increase profits by up to 30%¹.

When a customer comes into your dealership to buy a vehicle, you can simply sell them that vehicle and wait for more customers to come in. Or you can increase the revenue from that customer by selling them the vehicle and accessories for it. That transaction would be an example of cross-selling in car dealerships. You create an additional source of revenue (the car accessories) without needing to bring in more customers.

Incorporating cross-selling into your business strategy can build stronger relationships with your customers, improve retention, and thus increase customer lifetime value. Done right, cross-selling benefits both your dealership and your customers by improving their experience.

5 Tips to Build Your Dealership’s Cross-Selling Strategy

1. Use Digital Sales Tools

More and more vehicle buyers are shopping and even completing purchases online. In fact, 92% of shoppers research vehicles online², which means your dealership has an opportunity to cross-sell them before they even show up in person.

Incorporate tools like vehicle configurators into your digital showrooms to sell customers accessories they might enjoy in addition to their vehicle purchase. Or simply have a section on each page recommending additional products that fit well with the customer’s browsing.

2. Analyze Customer Purchasing Behavior

Effective cross-selling comes down to knowing what additional products fit each customer best. You can improve your cross-selling product recommendations by analyzing previous buyer behavior. If your customers often purchase off-road tires when they buy SUVs, for example, you should push those tires to your new SUV customers. 

3. Bundle Products Together

Bundling related products together into one “package” often makes them more attractive to customers. If you’re offering one deal that has everything they need (even if they didn’t know they needed it), why wouldn’t they purchase that bundle? Businesses see average order value increase by 15 to 20% when they implement bundling³. Consider bundling vehicles with offers like winter wheels, insurance, or service packages. 

4. Emphasize the Benefits of Additional Products and Services

As with any other sales effort, cross-selling isn’t about pushing additional products or services on customers. Your emphasis should be on the added benefits that those products or services offer customers. Show your customers how they can use the additional product you’re selling alongside their original purchase. Share use cases and demos when possible to convince them they need both products—not just the one they came for. 

5. Don’t Overdo It

Pushing too hard in your cross-selling efforts will only overwhelm customers. It’s counterproductive. Instead, focus on cross-selling no more than a few complementary products to each customer. Limit the number of times your salespeople push additional products.

If you don’t have a strong cross-selling strategy in place at your dealership, you’re missing out on lots of potential revenue. Boost revenue and customer satisfaction by carefully cross-selling your customers with bundles, online tools, and an emphasis on the benefits those additional products offer.

Sources:

  1. Targeted online marketing programs boost customer conversion rates. McKinsey. Retrieved 17 May 2023 from, https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/growth-marketing-and-sales/how-we-help-clients/clm-online-retailer
  2. The Drive to Decide Survey. Think with Google. Retrieved 17 May 2023 from, https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/video/car-buying-online-research-statistics/
  3. Barkho, G. (11 May 2022). How 4 e-commerce brands are using product bundles to drive sales. ModernRetail. Retrieved 17 May 2023 from, https://www.modernretail.co/retailers/how-4-e-commerce-brands-are-using-product-bundles-to-drive-sales/