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Cross Selling Latest Research

Birchills Telecom
Published by in Sales Communication ·
The latest research into cross selling has just been published in the European Journal of Marketing. Cross selling is all about promoting related products or services that complement a customer’s main purchase. This research paper examines the service industry taking as it’s example a beauty salon business with many branches. Accurate figures for the value of cross selling are hard to come by but figures of over 25% of revenue are often quoted.

In the salon industry the cross sell of beauty products is well recognised but it is often resisted by staff who, amongst other things, regard the notion of cross selling to be against the service ethos they are encouraged to adopt. If badly handled cross selling initiatives result in a backlash from customers and staff find themselves in the firing line. This often occurs when supervisors are motivated by a financial target for cross selling. The result is that initiatives are often abandoned or only given lip service.

The findings of this study are very relevant to companies that rely on frontline service teams to provide personal services and require frequent interactions with customers, for example, fashion, styling, tourism, hospitality and perhaps banking. They are particularly relevant for the service team supervisors who are trying to improve service sales performance by developing the appropriate cross selling initiative.

Frontline Staff Need To Be Accountable
Frontline staff in service teams have been hired and trained mainly to perform service duties so if cross selling is to be part of the job supervisors should ensure that the team members are feeling accountable for cross selling activities. So, team leaders should organise activities and encourage staff to understand and feel accountable. There needs to be discussion and measurement of the results.

Avoid The Short Term
A focus on short-term bottom line objectives may seem appealing to management but the dominant operational focus on just the bottom line can stop the frontline team’s willingness to take cross selling initiatives. There are serious concerns about team leaders who appear to possess a totally bottom line mentality. If team members see that the team leader only focuses on meeting short-term objectives even at the expense of the team members well-being they resist leadership. Stimulating open discussion may help team members identify ways to cope with a strong bottom line focus. Top management should be aware of this effect and avoid focusing too strongly on the balance sheet.

Existing Service Climate
Thirdly the formation of a cross selling initiative climate depends on the existing service climate. To establish the correct climate team leaders, need to be aware of how the service climate influences the feeling of accountability which may be weaker if there is already a high service climate in place. The strong existing service signal tells staff they should provide high-quality services with little time to address cross selling.

High Performance
To achieve a high service sales performance the team leader needs to develop a cross selling initiative because it can have a strong positive impact on both service and sales performance.

The research paper is: The formation of a cross-selling initiative climate and its interplay with service climate
Authors:Yu, Ting; de Ruyter, Ko; Patterson, Paul; Chen, Ching-Fu
European Journal of Marketing , Volume 52 (7/8): 28 – Jul 9, 2018

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