Five Tips for Strategic and Compassionate Upselling in Times of Uncertainty

Selling is an art and a partial science that requires a delicate mix of business knowledge, vision, and relationship building. It looks different in each sector, but the basics always apply.

Sales may seem more manageable as the business thrives, but how can you sell in times of economic uncertainty – more specifically now, in the midst of a global pandemic like COVID-19?

Sure, it would be easy to throw in the towel in such difficult times, but companies that can handle business development conversations strategically and with compassion during economic challenges are sure to be in a good position on the other side.

First: Upsell basics

While it may seem daunting, upselling is actually one of the simplest and cheapest ways to generate additional income.

Selling more products and services you already offer to customers you already know and trust (quadrant 1 in the table below) takes much less time and money to expand your business by creating new offers (quadrant 2) new customers Entering new vertical markets (quadrant 3 ) or create new offers for new customers (Quadrant 4).

Five sales tips in times of uncertainty

  1. be sensitive to market needs

During recessions or other times that create uncertain economic conditions, most companies are not willing to spend money on strategic or pleasant planning projects. Many need short-term strategies to deal with the specific situation and the results that keep the business running.

How can you adjust your offer to meet your immediate requests? If you can support them in difficult times (and even better, enchant them), you will probably be more open to your future ideas for selling them when the time is right.

Be patient and flexible.

  1. Speaking of flexibility, be willing to break the rules

No matter how much you personalize or personalize the offers, there will be customers who simply won’t be able to buy; and some will still have to cancel their existing service contracts or agreements.

This point is more of a relationship-building tactic than an immediate suggestion for the sale; but, since relationships are essential to cross-sell, that’s fine – be prepared to break the rules for your troubled customers a little, assuming you have the financial means to do so. You can eventually help them survive, which will be much more profitable in the long run than closing the doors.

People will remember how you treat them in difficult times and are likely to give back honestly. Building goodwill does not hurt.

  1. Identify customers who are doing well…

Use as much sales data or market research as possible to understand which of your customers survive or even thrive in uncertain times.

Put on your business development hat and find out how you can support it. Although a company is doing well financially, employees are likely to be stressed and possibly overwhelmed; ask your contacts how you can make their lives easier.

  1. … and those who are not

In the case of customers who are no longer spending on your offers, there is not much you can do to immediately receive a salary increase. I prefer to get in touch and ask how you can support them when the business gets back to normal.

This will not only assure them that your relationship is in good shape, but it will also help your company prepare for sluggish times so that you are not overwhelmed by a deluge of new purchases or wireless orders.

  1. Duplicate your value proposition

If you really are different from your competitors, now is the time to prove it.

Are you a technology company committed to solving problems quickly and in real-time? Test your processes.


In times of uncertainty, focus again on your minimally viable market (the only audience you need to reach) and minimally viable marketing (the cheapest way to get it) to keep your costs low and profitable.