Feb 24, 2021 4:21:18 PM | 6 Min Read

How to Cross Sell & Up Sell Your Building Materials

Posted By
Jillian Lambert

Cross selling and upselling represent quick wins for increasing revenue, but is not always an easy plan to launch and swiftly deliver to your customers. Although existing customers are far more likely to buy from you than a new prospect, it is on you as the company owner to create the awareness there's premium options as well as additional items to enhance their purchase and then present them without coming off pushy or aggressive. So where do we start?

First things first, let's understand the difference between upselling and cross-selling and the value of each. Upselling means getting your customer to purchase a more expensive version of something they have either already purchased or agreed to purchase. Cross-selling means getting a customer to purchase products in addition to something they have already purchased or agreed to purchase. Upselling is usually the first go to and does not typically diver your customers attention away from the plan to purchase. However, cross-selling is valuable when upselling is not an option and provides a related benefit. There's a few things you can do to successfully upsell and cross-sell your building materials.

1. Build Relationships First

A company that truly cares about their clients and wants to help is more likely to create loyalty with their customers than those looking for a quick sales cycle. In the Building Material Manufacturing space building relationships is critical to long term success. The ability to offer an upsell or another product to contractors who are constantly bidding out new projects is a huge win for your company, but they likely won't take a liking to your offer if they don't trust you yet. Build rapport with your clients and help them solve their problems, make their lives easier, and you will be thought of as a trusted partner for future projects. 

2. Keep it Simple

In the Building Material Manufacturing space most clients you interact with are serving other clients of their own. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with so many options they get frustrated. They too have a budget to consider, timeline, and project needs. Keep the conversation around cross-selling or upselling simple and make sure the conversation is a clear benefit to their current scope of work. Offering too many products or services at once can cause confusion and move the clients attention from the initial purchase. There is no rush to push a ton of information or products right off the bat. Big Box stores are easily accessible, but they chose to come to you for a reason for their materials, make sure to make the process easy and helpful. More opportunities to sell additional products will naturally arise if you maintain a long-term relationship and offer friendly suggestions that can make their job easier. 

3. Ask a Probing questions 

The best way to upsell or cross sell your building materials is by asking probing questions. These types of questions lead to further conversation about what your contractors or clients are trying to accomplish. They also help build rapport and trust. When you take an interest in their projects and future goals you can better navigate offering options that may be in more alignment than their initial purchase plan. Understanding the project ahead of time is most helpful, what kind of buildout, what is the timeline, what is the function of the space, who is using it, what type of work is conducted in the space, what is the contractors clients budget, etc. Depending on what type of material you are providing you may want to offer more premium materials or complimentary items if it makes sense based on the answers to the questions you've asked.

4. Understand your customers "Why"

Knowing what your customer is trying to accomplish will also allow you to navigate the upsell cross-sell conversation. The industry is trending towards sustainable building; but sustainability can come at a cost...or not. Digging into this is imperative to know what materials are best fit for your clients project. For instance, pre-fab can be cost effective, save time and can remain sustainable, but may not yield the highest quality outcome. Where a material like solar panels or bamboo can come at a higher cost, yet remains a quality sustainable material. Your conversation can be diverted from an upsell or cross sell quickly if you don't ask the right questions. Other things to consider when digging into their "why"  Is the material they want in stock and available for their timeline? Is there wiggle room for similar items should their desired item be backordered? It is no secret we are all running into supply chain issues, so understanding your clients why is most important to effectively solve the problem and gain trust.

5. Analyze Buying Behaviors

Long term companies in the Building Material Manufacturing space likely have a long term client list. Most contractors come back around at some point for future projects if they had a good experience. Do you have a grip on their buying behaviors and other suppliers they go to when you are unable to deliver? The obvious goal is to earn 100% of their business, but if you are not tracking it you may not know how much you have. Analyzing their buying behavior from their first purchase can instill confidence in your ability to offer upsells or cross sells. Knowing why they choose you as a supplier is most helpful. Each scenario will differ depending on buying behavior. Finding out why you may not be top choice in areas is most helpful in improving those gaps in buying behaviors.


Cross-selling and upselling are important for Building Material Manufacturers to increase revenue in the most efficient way possible. This technique can help strengthen client relationships, uncover new revenue opportunities, shorten sales cycles, and drive sales for your organization. Don't miss out on an opportunity to help your business as well as help your customer. Remember, it's about relationship building and that process takes time. Be relevant, helpful, maintain integrity, and communicate. You will find that by simply asking, your loyal customers will be happy to take your advice, especially when it delivers great results for them as well.

Stakeholder Management Plan Template for Construction Products Channel Sellers, Download

Topics: Process, For Sales Directors

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