Restaurants do it beautifully.

“Did you leave any room for dessert or coffee?” asks the waitress, with a smile.

At least one car-rental company my client visited did it obnoxiously.

“Did you want insurance, gas, a GPS or a toddler seat? Who will be responsible for the car if something happens to it? Oh, by the way, it’s extra now for the steering wheel. And if you want it to go in reverse from 4pm to 5pm, that’s an extra charge, too.”

How to up-sell

How does your company rate when it comes to the all-important up-sell?

Is it smooth like a restaurant waitress who smiles while she delivers her line? Or could it be improved?

While you don’t want to anger your current customer, you do want to fully serve their needs in a way that helps them and boosts your revenue.

Here are five tips to perfect and track the all-important up-sell:

1. Make sure you are up-selling

Once people have chosen to do business with you, you have their trust. They will want to know what else you have to offer.

Sometimes, you may feel like you are bugging the client, but it is really cheating your client not to let him know what else you can help him with.

Don’t be afraid to add up-selling to your communication with your clients in a number of places.

If you don’t up-sell, you are leaving precious money on the table, and most of all, you are under-serving your clients.

A small percentage of your customers will always purchase what you suggest.

2. Get the timing right

Add an up-sell option immediately after a prospect has landed in your funnel.

For example, if people signed up for your free newsletter, offer them your entry product or service on the landing, on your Thank You page or in your first welcome e-mail message to them.

If your product or service is relatively small in dollars, add an up-sell option immediately after any small purchases.

Do this right after the shopping cart has processed their order. Some carts have an automatic feature built in to do this. All you have to do is select the product you think the buyer would like.

Don’t up-sell right after you have agreed on a large proposal, but do up-sell at the end of that engagement.

If you meet a client periodically, such as monthly or quarterly, always schedule the next appointment before you leave, if possible.

3. Get the product right

Gradually move your client up in price. If he buys something for $100, offer him something for $500, but not $5,000.

If he signs a $5,000 contract, he might be ready for a $10,000 service next year.

4. Create the right language

Never put your customers in a position where they feel forced to make a decision or feel wrong for not taking the service. Try your up-sell line on your spouse or friend before you try it on a prospect to be sure of this.

Use language that is benefit-focused when you explain the options, and always let them know that you appreciate their business and the decision is theirs to make.

5. Package your offerings right in the first place

Services that should be included in the base price, well, should be included in your base price.

Don’t confuse up-selling with what should have been in your package in the first place. That is how most customers feel cheated during up-sells.

Tracking the up-sell

There are a couple of ways you can track your up-sell results.

If you offer the “y” product to every client who bought “x”, you can compute a conversion ratio based on your sales of x and y, assuming you keep them in separate buckets in your accounting system.

You can do that for every up-sell you have at the service line or product line level.

Another more general way to track up-sells is to compute revenue per client on a monthly basis and see if it is on the upswing.

You can get help calculating either of these methods or setting up your services and products correctly to create the up-sell tracking you want.

Up-selling is a vital part of every business. Fine-tune your processes with these tips and watch your sales increase and your clients become better served and more loyal.