Mastering The Follow On Sale


Article by: Tony L. Callahan
Do you know there are companies out there making more money selling follow ons to existing products that they do selling new products? It's true! And you probably contribute to this trend on a regular basis.

Case in point: How many of us have purchased an upgrade to Windows, Excel, Word or Office? In fact, how many of us have not purchased multiple upgrades to each of these products? The truth of the matter is, Microsoft make more money from the sale of upgrades than they do from selling new versions of the products. And as long as they continue to make upgrades, people will continue to purchase them.

This is an example of what is called residual income. Purchases made after the initial sale can provide a continuous and growing source of income. So how can you provide a residual income from your product or service?

To create a residual income you must create follow on sales. Follow on selling is based on the idea that it is easier to sell to an existing customers than it is to get new customers. This is not a difficult concept but a large number of Internet marketers seem to overlook it completely.

How do you go about generating follow on sales? First you must evaluate your product line. Identify the products that are natural compliments of one another. A good example of this would be a wine store that also carries a good selection of cheeses. Customers come to the store to buy the wine but will frequently purchase cheese to accompany their selection. If your product line lacks complimentary products, now might be a good time to add some.

The key to follow on sales is subtlety. Don't beat your customer over the head with follow on selling. No one likes to feel like they are being sold but few mind a helpful suggestion here and there. The most effective follow on sales are made when the customer thinks the purchase was their idea.

Some ideas for effective follow on selling:

  • On the thank you page for your main product mention your complimentary products in an unobtrusive way. A picture of the product and brief description of its benefits, along with a clickable link to an information and ordering page, should do the trick.
  • Consider giving away one product to sell another. This method works best when the give away helps illustrate the need for for the purchased product. Free trials are a variation of this method.
  • Autoresponders are another way to cross sell. When selling your primary product, encourage your customer to sign up for an autoresponder based course or series related to the product. A autoresponder series is a great way to maintain contact with your existing customers. In the course of the series mention the complimentary products and provide order information.
  • Publish a newsletter centered around a subject related to your product. Encourage your customers to subscribe when they make a purchase.
  • Encourage your customers to join your mailing list to be kept up to date on changes, enhancements and additions to your product line. Do periodic mailings but don't overdo it.
Mastering the follow on sale is not always easy. The seller must maintain a balance of salesmanship and subtlety. It is some times difficult to find relationships between products. As with most powerful techniques, it is a skill that takes time to master. However, with practice and modest effort, follow on selling will contribute significantly to your bottom line.

Copyright 2000, 2002 Tony L. Callahan All Rights Reserved

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Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to:

Want to use this article? You may freely reproduce this article for use on the internet or for your training materials as long as credit is given to the author and the above author description and contact information (including links or web addresses) are included.


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