The Art of Pain-Free Upselling in Field Services

The Art of Pain-Free Upselling in Field Services

All too often businesses in field services focus on the acquisition of new customers for growth and neglect to capitalise on their existing client base. Upselling is a golden opportunity and a quick and easy way to boost profits, especially since you are pitching to a warm audience who already value your products and/or services.

Upselling happens in all sectors, but in field services it can be particularly challenging, especially if maintenance routines have everything running perfectly! Nevertheless, it’s still an achievable revenue booster if an upselling strategy is carefully implemented.

There’s definitely an art to upselling. This blog tells you everything you need to know.

What’s the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

Upselling and cross-selling are sales techniques that are often used interchangeably. Upselling encourages customers to buy more expensive versions of a product, or upgrades. 

Cross-selling is used more to describe add-ons and complementary products. 

Both are used to expose customers to products or services that they may not have otherwise known about.

The 5 basics of upselling

1. Be sure your upselling has the right intention

It’s fair to say that most customers don’t appreciate a hard sell, especially if the goods or services you are trying to foist on them aren’t actually wanted or needed, or if the customer doesn’t fully understand the solution you are offering to them. 

Upselling anything and everything you can to every customer is a firm no-no. The whole point of upselling is to make your customers’ lives easier, and to save them time and money in the long run. Essentially. It’s about keeping customers, not scaring them away.

If your customer ends up with products or services they don’t really need, it won’t be long before they work it out, feel cheated, and take their custom elsewhere.

Instead of gaining business, poorly thought-out upselling could lose you customers.

2. Focus on individual customer needs

A true focus on individual customer needs is reliant on the observations of your technicians or engineers while they are on site. This is where the upselling opportunity sits.

Effective upselling has an essence of bespoke about it (even if your goods and services aren’t bespoke per se).

This means providing the most cost-effective solution bundle to each customer according to individual needs. It entails spotting opportunities at the perfect moment (i.e. identifying a need or problem that needs solving while a technician is on site) and responding to that with a specific solution. Timeliness is key.

Technicians should be able to quickly assess the type of products each customer may be interested in and focus on upselling those. There’s a skill to this, and technicians may need training (see more on this below).

3. Keep upsells simple and carry some upsell products

The easiest upsells are those that can be implemented quickly and simply without huge capital cost. Even better are those jobs that can be carried out immediately while the technician is already on site. Well-explained, this type of upsell is attractive because an additional call-out charge is avoided. Pitched in the right way, it also shows you are interested in helping to prevent unnecessary costs in the future.

Simple costings are also important. Rather than quoting for materials and time, try offering a simple flat rate for straightforward upsells that can be carried out there and then. It keeps everything above board and customers are more likely to make instant decisions if total costs are explicit.

4. Provide options

When upselling it’s always a good idea to provide options. Offer a few different solutions and explain the pros and cons of each. It’s a chance to show-off expertise. For example, you could offer economy, mid-range and high-end fixes. 

Consider bundling products and services to create savings for customers, and/or offer a discount for signing up for an upsell on the spot. At the same time, be careful not to overwhelm customers with too many choices. Overkill will go down like a lead balloon!

5. Train your technicians to upsell

Engineer being greeted at the good by a customer

Training your technicians to upsell is well worth the investment. Remember all technicians are service people first and sales may not be their natural forte, so some sales training is essential.

Steps to train your technicians:

  1. Identify product skills and soft skills your technicians need to enable them to upsell
  2. Provide training and mentoring opportunities to strengthen upsell skills
  3. Teach engineers/technicians how to articulate an upsell most effectively
  4. Teach exceptional customer service skills (the art of upselling relies on good rapport)

Reasons why your technicians are best placed to upsell

You may be inclined to lean on your sales team for upselling. They are after all trained to sell! But technicians (with the right training) are in the perfect place to upsell, so why not make use of them? Here’s why you should:

  • Technicians are on-site and have the attention of the customer
  • They already have the trust of the customer (and will be selling to a warm lead)
  • The sale can be handled immediately a problem is spotted
  • Technicians have the expertise to explain why additional products/services are needed – the upsell conversation flows naturally
  • It can save on the costs of sending a technician to assess the need

Most important of all, any upsell should be rooted in understanding a customer’s needs. It means identifying the gaps in each of your customer’s businesses and explaining to them how your products or services can solve challenges and even save money. 

Let’s consider an example. Now that energy prices are soaring, a heating engineer could upsell heating controls that help customers keep a tighter control on energy use. Technicians can make timely suggestions like these when they are on site with the customer having a natural conversation about energy price hikes. Even if the customer doesn’t bite straight away, technicians can use their expertise to sow the seed and follow-up later or at their next visit.

Technicians are also best placed to explain solutions that have worked with other customers.

The additional benefits of upselling

Cuts down travel time: Apart from the obvious additional income generated by upsells, there are cost-saving benefits too. For field service organisations, a certain amount of time is spent out on the road, travelling between customers. When more jobs and maintenance work is carried out at one site, technicians have less calls to make in a single day and this cuts down time spent on the road.

Personalises the customer experience: We now live in the age of personalisation. Businesses are no longer satisfied with cookie-cutter goods and services; they want products and services suited to individual needs. Upselling is an important aspect of delivering personalised solutions.

Boosts retention and loyalty: Sharing expertise and assisting customers to overcome challenges is a sure way to impress. Once customers understand you are helping them to solve existing problems, they’ll feel more inclined to keep services with you in one place.

Tools that make it easier to upsell


For technicians to upsell it’s essential they have the right information on hand to explain costs clearly to customers. Job costing software is a must. Joblogic’s field service management software streamlines the job costing process, automating calculations to make job quoting faster and easier. This enables technicians to cost jobs there and then, accurately with confidence.

Upselling doesn’t have to be hard. Carried out tactfully by technicians, it benefits the customer, the business and creates job satisfaction and more varied work for engineers.

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