Cross selling and income streams

Cross selling is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as

“the action or practice of selling among or between established clients, markets, traders, etc.”

or “that of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer”.

To highlight this, lets look at my favourite little Iranian stall at the Gardens Mall Food Court. It’s a simple stall run by an Iranian family. The food is simple, fresh and tasty. A lot of the customers are from the Middle East. Personally, I love their kebabs, rice and salads.

Recently, I noticed the stall started selling phone cards (with low rates to Iran and the Middle East). This is an ideal product for their customer base which will generate them extra revenue with minimal external outlay. Capital expenditure is small. They just need to purchase (maybe even on consignment) and offer the phone cards for sale. Placement was in a clearly visible area. Comparing the two products:-

1. Food products – limited lifespan, labour intensive, fluctuations in taste.

2. Phone cards – long lifespan, no labour, no fluctuation in rate and consistent quality.

Given the similar target market it would make more sense to sell this complementary product as opposed to even perhaps introducing a new dish!

The other product placed there was an Iranian magazine called Monorail. It was very focused on the Iranians in Malaysia with relevant advertisements and articles. This was probably a targeted placement by the magazine which produced a win-win for publisher and stall owner. The stall owner has a magazine for the lone diners (which attracts them thus increasing sales) and the magazine can hit its relevant target market (hence enhancing advertising sales).

This is a simple and easy to understand case on cross selling.

Key takeaways

1. Understand your target market – what do they need and are these needs being met?

2. If not – what additional value add could you give to them?

Revisit this on a regular basis and you will be surprised at your new revenue.

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