Your current customers are your best prospects for future business – even, and especially, when they’re in the process of buying from you.

“Increasing transaction size.” There’s so much beauty in those words you could just start shedding tears of joy, because you know they ultimately mean “add income by adding services.” When it works best, it works well for both customer (adding value, comfort and convenience) and contractor (adding cash to the coffers).

Contractors providing residential contractor services can do more than meet a customer’s immediate need. You can also predict and solve a future problem, provide a solution before a problem occurs, correct a problem that your customer may not realize he has – or recommend something you know your customer is going to like. That’s done with add-ons such as IAQ or other services and products (think water filtration for plumbing, or additional outlets for electrical) to improve their enjoyment of their home.

Cross-selling and upselling are twin concepts with their own personalities. Upselling is an upgrade… maintenance agreement with a repair job, programmable thermostat with a new system, surge protection with a new service panel, better system than the basic one your customer is considering, There’s value in adding this upgrade now to their current purchase.

Cross selling is the addition of a service that may or may not be related, and may or may not be at a discount. That might be telling your plumbing customer you also do HVAC or offering to replace electric smoke detectors with ceiling fan installation. Or: “While we’re here replacing your faucet, have you considered water filtration?”

Generally, upselling is easier because it comes with an open door for the service. Customers are already trusting you with their purchase. But make sure you keep their trust while making the suggestion, or your comfort solution could backfire into an uncomfortable situation.