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Suggestive Selling Strategies: Increase Business Performance and Profits

Discover effective suggestive selling strategies to enhance your business performance and drive your overall success.

Selling a product or service might seem easy enough, but there's a reason there are so many books about sales techniques and various sales pitch strategies. Even if you're offering a high-quality product or service, it's up to you to convey that value to your customers and give them a reason to make a purchase.

Suggestive selling is one technique a lot of sales experts use. The basic idea is to suggest complementary products or services at the time of purchase, similar to upselling. The goal is to encourage people to buy products and services that can help them get the most out of their initial purchase.

There are different suggestive selling techniques that work in different cases. Choosing the right suggestion selling technique can help you create the best customer experience while avoiding overly pushy sales tactics.

Every sales associate should know about suggestive selling, whether they're at a brick-and-mortar store or an online shop. If you want to increase sales, here's how you can use suggestive sales to achieve your sales goals.

What is suggestive selling?

Suggestive selling is essentially encouraging the customer to buy complementary products and services at the time of their initial purchase. The difference between cross sell vs. upsell techniques is the fact that upselling convinces the customer to upgrade to a newer or more robust version of a product while suggestive selling simply encourages them to buy a complementary product or service.

Suggestive selling can be used in just about any industry with just about any product or service. The idea is to encourage customers to purchase something they wouldn't have purchased otherwise, even if it's something small. Product bundles are a great way to achieve this.

Keep in mind that suggestive selling only works if you're recommending valuable upgrades to your customers. People don't want to be coerced into buying something they don't need, but they're often open to considering something that has value to them.

Suggestive selling examples

A simple suggestive selling definition doesn't do this sales technique justice. There are several ways to use suggestive selling in your sale’s pitch, and different techniques are better suited for different products, services, and sales associates. Here are some common examples of suggestive selling.


With cross-selling, the goal is to encourage your customers to purchase a complementary product that they might not have considered otherwise. Online stores and apps use cross-selling all the time, and you've probably bought something as a result of this sales technique. The "Customers also bought" section featured on many websites is a perfect example of cross-selling.


Upselling is a little different because you're encouraging people to upgrade to a newer or better version of the product they're interested in purchasing. If you sell cameras and someone is purchasing an older or simpler model, you can suggest a newer model with more features to entice them. Upselling can be tough because it's a well-known sales tactic among consumers, and some people simply don't want to spend more money.


If you have products that go together—like a camera and camera case—you can sell those products as part of a bundle to increase sales. Bundles are a popular way for customers to save money, so offering a small discount on product bundles is a great way to reward your customers. Bundles also help shoppers figure out which accessories they should buy when they're making a big purchase.

Add-on sales

Add-on sales are sales you make by encouraging customers to add accessories to an original purchase. If you're selling a pair of boots, you might ask customers if they're interested in replacement laces or boot polish. These products have tangible value to customers who are purchasing boots, and they only cost a few bucks. Over time, these smaller complementary items can really start to add up.

Limited time offers

With limited time offers, you're creating a sense of urgency while putting specific products or services in the spotlight. You can create limited time offers for everything from clothes and shoes to computers and TVs, and your customers will love getting great products at lower prices. Sending out limited time offers via text or email can also be effective when it comes to converting customers into fans.

Benefits of suggestive selling

Sales data has shown that suggestive selling is an effective technique when you use it the right way. Check out some of the benefits of suggestive selling below.

Increased sales

This is the most obvious benefit of suggestive selling. When you encourage customers to purchase additional products or upgrade to something more expensive, you'll have better sales numbers. Add-on sales and cross-selling are particularly effective if you want to drive up sales volume on smaller products that you typically have a tough time selling.

Higher profit margins

Time is money when you run a business with a sales team, so increasing sales through suggestive selling can also lead to higher profit margins. Instead of spending 10 or 20 minutes selling a single product, your sales team can spend 10 or 20 minutes selling several products at once — even if some of them are smaller. When you drive up profit margins and sales volume, you'll love the way your sales data looks.

Improved customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is just as important as making sales, and suggestive selling gives you the best of both worlds. When you're not using overly pushy sales tactics but you're still selling various quality products to your customers, you can expect more positive reviews. Getting positive reviews doesn't just help you keep current customers around, it also helps to attract new customers.

Better inventory management

It can be tough to manage your inventory when you have some items you just can't seem to sell. With suggestive selling techniques, you can move some of your old or overstocked products to make your job a little easier when it comes to inventory. The best part is, you can drive up sales numbers while improving inventory management.

More repeat business

Suggestive selling is a good way to educate customers about your products and how to use them. You can bundle one big-ticket item like a camera with accessories, then you can teach your customers how to safely store and clean their camera using those accessories. When you provide stellar service and sound advice, people will come back.

Suggestive selling techniques

There are a few different ways you can use suggestive selling to give your sales numbers a boost. Learn more about some of the common suggestive selling techniques and how you can use them to move more product.

Provide demonstrations and samples

It can be hard to visualize how a product works or how a service could be helpful. Use demonstrations and samples to give your customers a firsthand look at how useful your product or service is, that way they're more likely to make a purchase because they're informed.

Share social proof and testimonials

Some people don't want to be the first to make a purchase, so show prospective customers that you have a history of customer satisfaction with testimonials, reviews, and social media shares. When you show people how much your customers enjoy your products or services, they'll have more confidence in your business.

Bundle and package deals

Some items are better when they're sold in a complete package. You can buy a new computer with no monitor, mouse, and keyboard, but you need those peripherals to use your PC. Bundle relevant items together to show your customers how products complement each other and encourage them to make bundle purchases with discounted prices.

Create a sense of urgency

When there's a limited time sale, people know they have to act fast to save money. Creating a sense of urgency through limited time sales is one of the best ways to increase sales through suggestive selling.

Use strategically placed signs

Highlighting certain products or services can make them more visible to the customer, which in turn helps increase sales. Clearly label anything that's on sale on your website, and use signs to highlight key products if you run a brick-and-mortar store.

Launch a loyalty program

Starting a rewards program is one of the best ways to show customer appreciation and increase sales. Loyalty programs encourage customers to shop with you more so they build up more rewards points, and customers are more likely to make larger purchases if they can use their rewards points to get a discount.

Level up your sales strategy with suggestive selling

Sales are one of the most important metrics if you want your business to succeed. With suggestive selling, you can provide a little encouragement to help customers make smarter purchases that meet their needs. However, it's important to avoid being too pushy or encouraging customers to purchase low-quality products.

If you're having trouble getting your business off the ground or increasing sales volume, Mailchimp can help. With tools like our Customer Journey Builder and Audience Segmentation, we make it easy to take control of your business and make data-driven decisions. Try Mailchimp today to see how our tools can help you drive up sales and boost your business.

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