Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

13 items • 35.881 visits



What is Cross-Selling? Meaning.

Cross-Selling is the practice of suggesting and selling additional, related or complementary items to a buyer than those that have been bought before to an established, existing client.

Selling more of the same items to existing clients is not considered cross-selling.

Selling extra options to customers who have already committed to making a purchase for some item is called: upselling.

Cross-Selling versus Upselling. Differences

Upselling and cross-selling are quite similar. They both aim to maximize the value of a purchase as well as to improve the customers buying experience by creating additional value.

However, while cross-selling focuses on promoting additional products from related product categories, upselling encourages customers to purchase higher-end versions of that same product or to pay for upgrades and extra features or extra options.


If a customer is buying a laptop and the company offers a printer to use alongside with the computer, that is cross-selling. The same is true for offering extra leg space to airline passengers for an extra fee.

If a customer is buying a basic laptop and the company offers a faster processor or extra memory, that is upselling.

Benefits of Cross-Selling. Advantages

  • For the seller
    • It is a way to increase sales to the same customer by introducing other products in the product range.
    • Increase in revenue and profit.
    • Decreases the likelihood of the customer switching to a competitor.
  • For the buyer
    • Having a single supplier for multiple products (one stop shopping). This could be more pleasant.
    • Increase in efficiency (less commercial meetings needed)
    • May result in an extra discount due to larger spending.
    • Reduces the risk of unclear responsibilities in case of problems (finger pointing from one supplier to another)

Limitations of Cross-Selling. Disadvantages

  • For the seller
    • There is a risk that existing relationships with the client could be disrupted.
    • The need for the existing product/service might decrease by selling the new product/service.
    • Potential ethical issues, such as the mix of accounting services (requires objectivity) with selling advisory/consulting work (Arthur Anderson at Enron))
  • For the buyer
    • Additional cost

Obstacles to Cross-Selling. Barriers

  • Certain customer policies may require the use of multiple vendors (multi-vendor policy)
  • Large organizations might have many purchasing departments and officers, making cross-selling very complex.
  • The fear of one delivery unit that other delivery units might do a bad job at the client, influencing their own business negatively.

Forms of Cross-Selling. Types

  • Normal cross-selling: while servicing an account, a service provider finds out about an additional need/problem area of the client and offers to solve it.
  • Total Solution Selling: for example large IT vendors, selling hardware, maintenance, standard software, tailoring of the software, training, consultancy and even financing of the entire solution.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs.
  • Add-on Services: for example selling all-risk insurance when you buy a car.

Cross-selling must not be confused with Multi Channel Marketing , nor with the Validity Effect, nor with Horizontal Diversification.

Special Interest Group

Cross-Selling Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (38 members)


Forum about Cross-Selling. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

Start a new topic about Cross-Selling


🔥 NEW Upselling: Optional Feature Pricing
Many companies are offering optional, related products and/or additional features along with the main product. This is called: cross-selling and/or upselling. Optional Feature Pricing (OFP) is the pri...
What Techniques are used in Cross-selling?
Hi all...,
Can anyone explain what techniques, including statistical techniques, are involved in cross-selling? Many thanks......

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Cross-Selling. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Cross-Selling. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

The Actual Relationship Between Cross-buying and Consumer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty, Consumer Loyalty, Cross-Selling, Cross-Buying, Sales Management, Account Management
There has been an ongoing discussion as to whether cross-buying (buying goods from various categories) is the consequenc...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Cross-Selling. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding Cross-Selling.













Compare also: Foot in the Door  |  Analytical CRM  |  Bait and Switch  |  AIDA

Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about Cross-Selling? Become our SIG Leader


Return to Management Hub: Marketing & Sales  |  Strategy & Innovation

More on Management  |  Return to Management Dictionary


This ends our Cross-Selling summary and forum.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.1 - Last updated: 5-2-2023. All names of their owners.