What Does "Suggested Selling" Mean in Marketing?

by Neil Kokemuller; Updated September 26, 2017
Customers don't always resent suggested selling.

Suggested selling is more often referred to as suggestion or suggestive selling. It is a more assertive sales technique whereby a salesperson recommends additional purchases or a higher-end solution to increase the value of the sale; the result is more revenue for the salesperson's company.

Basics

Suggestive selling is a delicate balance between recommending value opportunities and coming across as pushy. Suggestive selling occurs when a customer has already indicated interest in purchasing a product or service and you want them to increase the value of the purchase by adding upgrades or additional products and services. This approach is common in many retail and sales environments.

Types

Three basic types of suggestive selling are full-line selling, cross selling and up selling. Full-line selling means recommending additional, complementary products from the same product line or related category. Cross selling involves selling different, unrelated products or services to the same customers. Up selling is upgrading or enhancing the purchase of a given product or service to make it bigger or better.

Examples

Full-line selling could involve a salesperson recommending a grass trimmer to go along with a lawn mower purchase as part of a special bundle promotion. Cross selling would include persuading a customer buying a dishwasher to also consider other needs such as a computer or oven. Up selling could involve convincing a satellite television subscriber to buy the premium level package with all the movie channels for a better entertainment experience.

Service or Annoyance

Suggestive selling is either a service to the customer that improves your relationship or an annoyance that could sabotage the sale. The key is whether you show sincere and genuine concern for the customers' well-being or come across as a pushy, money-hungry salesperson. A salesman who views his job as being a problem solver often is good at suggested selling. A salesman who's out to sell stuff at all costs often gets it wrong.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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