Do You Down-sell? If Not, You Should

We’re all familiar with up-selling and cross-selling. But are you familiar with down-selling? Down-selling is a terrific way to win new customers and begin lifelong business relationships.

Down-selling is simply where you have an offer that’s easy to purchase – doesn’t require a lengthy analysis, doesn’t require a big financial decision, and is easy to grab now. It’s a lower cost, lower barrier to purchase offer as compared to your core product or service.

Here’s how I use down-selling in my own business.

I’m a marketing and sale consultant…blah, blah, blah. I help solve revenue problems and create opportunity. Sounds nice. And it’s often hard to sell. The problem is many business people don’t know how to evaluate one consultant from another and when money’s tight it’s hard to justify spending money without a guarantee of a return. Just getting by is often thought better than digging a deeper hole. Fair enough.

So, what I’ve done is create a few low cost, easy to purchase services. Not loss leaders, but real services that are meaningful to my prospects, but fall short of requiring a big decision and commitment of their time and money. These introductory services serve as a great opportunity for me to introduce the breadth of things I can do for my customers and are effective at building trust and credibility. Down-selling lets would-be customers quickly move from prospect to client.

Can I make a living on down-selling? Yes and no. I couldn’t survive on my down-sell offers alone, but I’m not trying to do that. Down-selling merely lets me open new relationships, establish trust, and position my higher margin services. This works because the down-sell offers are real – real services that prospects really need and value. Win-win.

Down-selling is a great way to build trust and establish a business relationship, especially when your core offering is difficult to explain, highly competitive, and is complex and strategic to the buying party.

What do you think? Do you down-sell?

David Lee

David Lee

David is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. He has built and exited successful businesses and is now focused on investing. He holds a master's in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.