image of lady upselling her t-shirt customers

How to Add $$ to Every Sale | Rules for Upselling

image of lady upselling her t-shirt customers

What if you need to increase your sales and your profit margins, but don’t know how to go about it?

What do you do?

There’s so much to learn and so many hats you wear as a business owner, that it would be great to know what’s the BEST way to add extra $$ to every sale.

Upselling them is a easily the easiest.  Whether your customers buy t-shirts or polos, it would be great to sell them hats too.

This concept isn’t new. It’s why when you go to buy fast food they ask you if you want large fries or a large drink, etc. They found that you will sell more to each customer if you just ask them.

We want you as a business owner to not have reservations about upselling. Don’t think that what you’re doing is being malicious or you’re just trying to get more money out of them.

You have to get out of that mindset. We’ve done whole podcasts about selling where we don’t even call it ‘selling.’

Upselling truly is offering your customers other things that you can provide, that they might not know about or have been thinking about.

More Satisfied Customers

What’s excellent about upselling is that it will often lead to more satisfied customers.

Think about it this way – You’re going out to buy an outfit for a special event, dinner, etc. You know you want a dress and shoes.

The person at the store is trained in upselling, but what they’re also doing is providing you with a nice service. You pick out your dress and shoes, and they ask if you thought about your accessories.

You’re excited about something you hadn’t thought about before. You spend more money at the store, but you feel that much better because your outfit is complete.

Everyone wins in this situation.

You need to master this as well.

embroidery clamp

Rules for Upselling

"Don’t assume what customers can afford"

Here’s an example from when one of our team members was selling cars.

They had a couple of guys come in, covered in grease, wearing cut off shorts and work shirts, they got out of a quite older car. The other salespeople scattered. They just assumed the gentlemen didn’t have any money.

They ended up purchasing matching cars – brand new – on a credit card that day.

You also don’t want to assume what they’re willing to spend on something. You might be dealing with an unusually large business, such as a school.

You decide to offer them the shirts for $12 when you typically charge $15 just because you assume they’re not willing to spend a lot

Just because someone works for a charity, a church, or a school don’t assume that they don’t have money. They just might have some preconceived ideas of what something should cost.

You just have to give them a reason to spend more. Perhaps they bought a shirt before for $12, but it was a really poor quality that people didn’t wear more than once. You can explain that to them and provide alternatives.

A lot of custom apparel startups will base what they assume other people will spend based on what they would spend. Give your customers an opportunity to make their own decisions.

Even if your customer has a $400 budget for the t-shirts, they have an $800 budget. They perhaps don’t realize that you also do caps or tote bags.

easy to weed htv image showing how its done

"Don’t assume what your customers want"

They may only have experience with screen printing, and you offer DTG, full-color heat transfers, or glitter vinyl.

They may not have any experience at all with custom apparel. You know what the possibilities are.

Part of upselling is making sure you listen to what your customer wants and then tell them what’s possible.

This can happen when you’re stuck in a rut with your business. Where you have customers order the same thing all the time. Don’t assume those customers want to $10 shirt every time they order. They might come in and say, “I’m looking for a really good deal on a shirt.” Do you know what that means? It might not mean the cheapest.

You might want to talk to them about package deals. Perhaps they’re ordering shirts for a company picnic. Ask them if they’re doing any giveaways and let them know what other products you could do for them – tote bags, koozies, coasters, etc. Offer to create all that for them and give them a good deal.

Even with designs, often customers will ask for a t-shirt, it’s for such-and-such an event, and they ask for white lettering. What we do is create the design on the computer and add graphics to it that fit with the theme or add glitter and rhinestones. They might not have thought about those things. The design may not be exactly what they want, but it gets them thinking.

Going back to the first rule, the design they originally came in with, might have been worth $12, but the new design is worth $25 and they’re excited about it and willing to pay for it.

"Ask the right questions, not just the direct ones"

Someone comes in, they want an embroidered polo for their company event. You could ask “I also want caps. Do you want caps?” or you can ask open-ended questions “

You’re doing a company event, it’s going to be outside, what’s the weather going to be like?” “Have you thought about how great it would be to have caps with that?”

Open-ended questions are key and consider the whole event that the customer needs the product for.

Another example will be if a company is ordering shirts as their employees’ uniform. Ask if they have any standards their employees have to wear for bottoms.

If they do, let them know that you can order bulk pants, so everyone looks the same. You might not be embroidering them, but you’ve added something to the sale.

Ask if they’ve thought about other customized products, including pens, clipboards, and laptop bags. Or promotional products they can give away.

Create a checklist that helps you understand your customers’ business and their customers. Be the expert, so that they come to you and ask for your advice on what products you recommend for their company or event.

"Be the expert"

Recommending better alternatives is a great way to add sales dollars to every order.

Tell your customers that yes, you can do vinyl, one color t-shirts for $12 each, no problem. Then ask them how long they want these shirts to be worn/last for. Is it a shirt they expect to wear once and throw away, or do they want it to last?

If they want the shirt to last, offer to show them two better shirts that you have available. The image might be the same, but the shirt is going to better. The better shirt might cost $20 instead of $12, but they’ll be able to keep them longer.

Know your blanks. Have a quality product that you can offer and know how each of the blanks washes and wears.

"Don’t assume what your customers want"

It is your responsibility to provide your customers options. Sometimes those options may be less expensive than what the customer originally thought they wanted. Frequently, however, they’re more expensive, because they’re a better investment.

You’re not just trying to sell them something extra, but providing them with a better option that costs a little bit more.

Take a look at the four rules above and see which ones you’re breaking right now. Then write down 3-5 things you can ask most prospects about them and what they need the order for. Commit those questions to memory so they become part of every conversation with customers.

Upselling is a key to success in any business.

Have a good business!



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