Create relationships and increase revenue through upselling

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The other night I took my wife to dinner and she was in the mood for Italian. I couldn’t help but notice the waiter offering us everything from appetizers, wine, desert, and he even offered to alter the menu if we didn’t like our options.

I have to tell you we ended up ordering way more food then we would have, had the options not been presented to us. It’s no secret that most people HATE being sold, especially if you are bombarded by it.

However, if done properly, up-selling your products or services can be a lucrative option to help bring in more revenue and keep you freelance employed.

You are hired as a problem solver

Often times a client is hiring you to help them solve a problem and it is up to you to provide a resolution. Clients don’t always know what they want, or need help with, and that is where your knowledge and expertise can really shine!

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The key to making this work is timing and the status of your client relationship. If I am working with a new client, I hold off upselling until I have been asked or I see a need for another service I can provide and do it well.

Once I know the client’s needs, I will begin the project and look for ways to improve other areas the client may not be aware of.

For example, a client hired me to create some environments and props for a tablet game. After a few meetings, I realized they had ideas for some characters but they had not had the time to pursue an artist that specialized in characters.

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Once I became aware through some friendly conversation, I mentioned that I had some experience with character design and I would be happy to help or consult if needed.

Simply recognizing my client’s needs and throwing in another service, extended my contract out for another year!

High-pressure sales rarely work

I don’t know anyone that enjoys the “high-pressure sales” techniques typical of a  used car salesman, and neither do I.

I offer services or products that I know will benefit the client and hopefully save them money either up front or in the long run.

I DO NOT pressure my clients into a sale. I let them know what I can offer them and if they choose to go with my other services great, and if not that’s OK too!

Time is money and if a client does not have to spend their time looking for another freelancer most of the time, especially if you have developed a trustworthy relationship, they will almost always choose you.

The idea here is to do good work, treat your clients well, and they will become repeat clients.

Your goal should be repeat clients, this is vital to a successful business of any kind whether it be a freelance artist, writer, or consultant.

A client that comes to you and pays you 2K for a job and doesn’t come back is worth far less than a client that spends 500 dollars and has you work on 7 or 8 projects over a two-year period.

Here is my very simple six-step process for assessing areas that can become a possible up-sell and how you can easily close it.

  • Find out the client’s service needs
  • Offer them your solution
  • See if they have any other areas you would be helpful
  • Let them know that you can help them in other areas as well

Up-selling should be simple

I cannot stress the last two bullet points enough! If you can finish the job and get it done well, the up selling will be a breeze.

I find that most freelancers worry most about their craft (which is a good thing) however, they fail to see the value in the client relationship.

I believe most clients will work with the freelancer that gets the job done and that they genuinely like. I might even argue that your relationship is more valuable than your skill set but, that’s another discussion.

I wrote this article in hopes that some of you freelancers that loath the idea of selling might see that it doesn’t have to be the stereotype that keeps you up at night.

My simple and honest evaluation of clients needs can easily double, if not triple, your income with very little work! The best part is I do not feel like a salesman!

If selling isn’t your thing try your approach. Clients are not always looking for cheap, sometimes it is the EASY and FAST path they need. Simply informing them about your other services can be a win-win!

Relationships matter to not only you but, your client, and your pocket book! Let me know in the comments how you upsell your services!

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About Micah McNeely

Micah is a 3D Artist that began his career working on game cinematics and commercials for national TV spots. He has taken his experience and brought a creative touch to 3D printing for clients in major brands in sports, commercials, and advertising.

Leave a Comment



  1. Excellent points, Micah!

    Up-selling our services has benefits for both sides.
    It is much easier to work with people you’ve already known well.
    Helping them out by offering solutions to their problems is the best way to build trust and long-term relationships.

    Actually, this is how I started selling graphic design services to my interior design clients.

    Most of them felt relieved that they didn’t have to look for another professional to design their business card or brochure; this saved them precious time and money.
    I was also happy to have more work from clients I already knew and enjoyed working for them.

    • Absolutely Mania,

      It is so much easier and in my opinion, beneficial to work with your already established client base! You are so right, most clients want results as soon as possible as proven by your interior design clientele. Thank you for reading!


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