Suggestive Selling – Definition

Cite this article as:"Suggestive Selling – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated May 8, 2019, last accessed October 28, 2020,


Suggestive Selling Definition

Merchants or companies increase their profit and sales margin using the suggestive selling technique. Suggestive selling is a sales approach whereby skilled sales attendants persuade customers to purchase additional and complementary products that will suit their needs.

Suggestive selling i also called upselling, ad-up selling or cross-selling. This is a techniques used by employees to boost their sales margin. Sales attendants or employees persuade clients to make additional purchase that are not irrelevant to their initial purchase. In this situation, customers pick up products based on the recommendation and persuasion of the employee or attendant.

A Little More on What is Suggesting Selling

For any organization or company that wants to significantly increase its purchase margin and business revenues, the upselling and suggestive selling skill is a must for their employees, especially the ones in charge of sales. Although, purchases from suggestive selling are often smaller than the original purchase, they also contribute to a business revenue.

Suggestive selling brings additional revenue, its aim is to increase profit margin for a company and at the same time add values to customers. However, the results that this sales technique would yield is dependent of the skill and persuasive ability of employees, because getting a buyer to purchase an additional product is not easily done.

This sales technique is used across all industries and businesses, each industry adopts suggestive selling regardless of the nature of their products. Common examples are cases where customers go into a shop to buy a dress and the employee convinces them to buy a pair of shoe, scarf, belt or cap to complement the dress.

This technique is also used in the automobile industry where attendants recommend roadside service and extended warranty when customers purchase vehicles. Travel agencies also engage in suggestive selling in which they recommend that travels purchase extra tickets such as transportation and lodging tickets to aid convenience when they arrive at their destinations.

References for Suggestive Selling

Academic Research on Suggestive Selling

The effects of performance feedback and social reinforcement on upselling at fast-food restaurants, Wiesman, D. W. (2006). Journal of organizational behavior management, 26(4), 1-18.

Contingent cross-selling and upselling relationships with performance and job satisfaction: an MOA-theoretic examination, Johnson, J. S., & Friend, S. B. (2015). Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 35(1), 51-71.

The power of technology in business selling: call centers, Prabhaker, P. R., Sheehan, M. J., & Coppett, J. I. (1997). Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 12(3/4), 222-235.

Cross-selling sequentially ordered products: An application to consumer banking services, Li, S., Sun, B., & Wilcox, R. T. (2005). Journal of Marketing Research, 42(2), 233-239.

Cross-selling: Offering the right product to the right customer at the right time, Kamakura, W. A. (2008). Journal of Relationship Marketing, 6(3-4), 41-58.

How leading‐edge companies are marketing, selling, and fulfilling over the Internet, Quinn, C. (1999). Journal of Interactive Marketing, 13(4), 39-50.

Identifying cross-selling opportunities, using lifestyle segmentation and survival analysis, Ansell, J., Harrison, T., & Archibald, T. (2007). Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 25(4), 394-410.

Cross And Upselling Techniques In E-Commerce Activities, Kubiak, B. F. (1970). The Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 15(3), 1-7.

Personal selling in retail settings: how does the internet and related technologies enable and limit successful selling?, Grewal, D., Levy, M., & Marshall, G. W. (2002). Journal of Marketing Management, 18(3-4), 301-316.

The home selling problem: Theory and evidence, Merlo, A., OrtaloMagné, F., & Rust, J. (2015). International Economic Review, 56(2), 457-484.

Customer relationship management capabilities: Measurement, antecedents and consequences, Wang, Y., & Feng, H. (2012). Management Decision, 50(1), 115-129.

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