How to Upsell Your Services & Retain Clients (10 Best Tactics)

How to Upsell Your Services & Retain Clients (10 Best Tactics)

Learn the delicate balance between upselling and retaining your clients, plus top tips and tactics to upsell your services.

How to Upsell Your Services & Retain Clients (10 Best Tactics)

Learn the delicate balance between upselling and retaining your clients, plus top tips and tactics to upsell your services.

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Written by
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak

Every client your agency wins is a big deal, but seasoned agency leaders know that true value and success come from client retention and upselling.

Your current clientele (not new customers) potentially contribute to 68% of all new business avenues, and boosting your retention by just 5% can amplify profitability by a whopping 75%.

It all starts with marketing your services and finding clients but sustainable growth and long-term success come from your ability to hold on to customers and sell them on additional products and services.

However, retaining clients and upselling services is a delicate balancing act. Dive too eagerly into upselling, and you risk alienating your clients— ignore it, and you miss out on potential growth and relationship-building partnerships.

Let’s dive deep into best practices to maximize upsells while cementing lasting client partnerships. Read on to learn how to ensure your agency remains at the forefront of value delivery and growth.

What is upselling?

As you already know, upselling is encouraging clients to purchase a higher-end version of the service they're already buying or adding complementary services to their current package. It's a term commonly thrown around in sales and marketing circles, but there's more depth to it than meets the eye — especially for agencies.

Here are additional nuances that shine light on the value of upselling:

  • Layered value addition: Upselling isn't about pushing a higher-priced package to increase your revenue stream. It's about layering on added value to the client's existing service. This nuanced approach ensures that the client perceives the upsell not as a sales tactic but as a genuine enhancement to their current offerings.
  • Solutions-driven: The best upsells emerge from understanding a client's pain points and then positioning an additional service as the solution. It's not about what you want to sell but about what your client needs.
  • Long-term strategy: While upselling can bring in immediate revenue, the real value lies in its ability to deepen the client-agency relationship for the long haul. When done right, upselling can position your agency as a strategic partner who's invested in the client's long-term success.
  • Mutual growth opportunity: Upselling isn't a one-sided affair. It's a symbiotic relationship where the client gets enhanced value, and your agency builds client loyalty while receiving additional revenue streams.
  • Subtle art of timing: Knowing when to introduce an upsell is just as important as what you're offering. It's about recognizing those moments when your clients are most receptive, often after a success or when facing a new challenge that your additional services can address.

For growth-minded agencies, upselling is more than just a sales technique—it's a holistic approach to client relationship building and nurturing. By understanding its complexities, agencies can navigate upselling more effectively to keep it aligned with both their goals and the client's aspirations.

10 best upselling techniques and tactics

Upselling is an art. It takes know-how, strategy, and practice. Get it right, and you can unlock growth opportunities for your clients and your agency.

However, it won't always work, and that's OK. If you approach upselling from the right angle with the proper mindset, even missed opportunities can strengthen your client bond.

Here are a few tried-and-true upselling tactics you can try:

1. Packaged and bundled services

Combining complementary services into a single package provides clients a holistic solution and positions your agency as an all-in-one solution provider.

Example: If you're offering content creation, you might bundle it with content promotion or SEO optimization.

2. Tiered pricing structures

Offer different service levels with varying features and benefits. This allows clients to select a package that best meets their needs, and as those needs grow, they can easily transition to a higher tier.

Example: If you offer social media management, you could have a basic tier (management of one platform), a premium tier (three platforms with regular posting), and a platinum tier (five platforms with added features like analytics and influencer outreach).

3. Exclusive access or previews

Offer existing clients first dibs or special pricing on new services before launching them to the public. This not only makes clients feel valued but also gives them an incentive to invest in these new offerings.

Example: Before you launch a new service, like, say, chatbot development, give existing clients a sneak peek or a discounted rate to try it out.

4. Feedback-driven services

Regularly solicit feedback from clients. This can uncover gaps or needs they have that you might not be currently addressing. Once identified, you can introduce tailored upsells that directly address these needs.

Example: If clients express a need for faster response times, introduce a premium support or concierge service tailored to that feedback.

5. Success stories

When clients see tangible results from similar businesses, they're more likely to invest in additional services. By demonstrating the success of your upsell services through case studies, you make the value proposition clear.

Example: If a client you upsold on SEO services sees a significant traffic boost, use that as a case study to present the benefits to other clients.

6. Education

Host webinars and workshops or send out informative content that helps clients understand the benefits of your additional services. When clients comprehend the value, they are more likely to opt in.

Example: For a new content optimization tool you're offering, host a webinar demonstrating its impact on improving content reach and engagement.

7. Client lifecycle opportunities

Recognize moments in the client's journey with your agency when they might be most receptive to upsells—such as after a project's success or during annual reviews.

Example: After successfully redesigning a client's website, propose an ongoing content management service to keep it fresh and updated.

8. Technology advantage

Use CRM and analytics tools to identify which clients might be most interested in particular upsells based on their usage patterns, feedback, and interactions with your agency.

Example: If your analytics show a client's website struggles with mobile users, propose a mobile optimization service or a dedicated mobile app development.

9. Retention-based discounts

Offer exclusive discounts to loyal clients who choose to expand their services with your agency. This not only incentivizes upselling but also reinforces client loyalty.

Example: If a client has been with you for a year, offer them a discount on a new service like video production to enhance their digital presence.

10. Collaborative brainstorming

Organize sessions with clients where you collaboratively brainstorm potential areas of growth and improvement. This joint ideation can naturally lead to upsell opportunities.

Example: During a strategy meeting with a client in the e-commerce sector, you could jointly identify the need for integrating augmented reality features for product previews.

Best practices for how to upsell

The art of upselling lies in improving the value proposition for the client rather than simply increasing the invoice amount. When done right, it strengthens the client-agency bond and opens doors to more opportunities.

Here are some best practices to follow to increase your chances of success:

  • Lay a solid foundation of trust: Before diving into any upselling tactic, foster a strong foundation of trust. This is built through structured onboarding, clear communication, reliability, and consistency.
  • Exceed expectations: Don't just deliver—aim to impress. Tailor your services to match clients' unique needs, ensuring they feel valued and understood. Be proactive in identifying and solving potential issues even before they arise.
  • Deal transparently: Transparency breeds trust. Always be upfront about your pricing and avoid any hidden charges. This not only sets clear expectations but also avoids any financial surprises for the client down the line.
  • Encourage cross-functional collaboration: Foster a culture where teams interact and share insights. For instance, a suggestion from the SEO team might benefit the content strategy.
  • Offer trial periods: Let clients test a new service. This sneak peek often piques their interest, making them more inclined to invest in the full service.
  • Introduce loyalty programs: Rewarding clients for their loyalty or exploring new services can make upselling more attractive.
  • Learn from feedback: Always be open to feedback, whether it's positive or constructive. While positive feedback can boost your team's morale and be used as testimonials, constructive feedback offers valuable insights for improvement.

Grow your agency at scale

When executed properly, upselling is a powerful tool that grows revenues and deepens client-agency bonds. It showcases your agency's commitment to the client's success and positions your agency as an indispensable partner rather than a replaceable service vendor.

As with every growth strategy, the tools you use can significantly influence the outcomes. Discover how Webflow can transform your agency's workflow, allowing you to build at scale and consistently satisfy your clients.

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Last Updated
November 3, 2023