As a sales strategist, I commonly witness that sales people are most comfortable selling one thing and one thing only, whatever their lead product or service is. This approach isn’t the most beneficial thing for you, or the customer. When you cross sell, it has the following benefits:

It strengthens client relationships
It increases the value provided to the customer
It increases the CLV (customer lifetime value)
It increases customer retention
It increases the client’s perception of you as a professional
It increases the likelihood of getting referrals.

Even though failing to cross sale is most often due to a deficiency in sales scripting, I’d like to share insight into how a simple phrase can be effective for corporate sales, telesales and practically any product, service or lead source. But first, let’s get to this success story.


While I was consulting for a large insurance agency, it was obvious they struggled with cross selling life insurance. Based on their large book of existing insurance clients, they felt they should have better results, i.e. more sales. They were right, especially when you consider that the probability of selling to an existing customer is higher than selling to a new prospect.*

All we had to do was devise the most effective way to do it.
It was open enrollment (their busiest, most profitable time) so they didn’t want to take anyone off the phones, rather, they wanted something that could be implemented right away, and most importantly, one that produced immediate results. No pressure whatsoever. I slept on it, rolled ideas around a bit and then boom! I hatched the master plan.

To test this baby out, we gave a newly licensed agents access to the client list and instructed them to use this specific sentence, after their introduction.

“When is the last time someone reviewed your life insurance to see if you’re overpaying?”

The responses were telling and exciting. It was predominantly two answers.

1. I don’t have life insurance.
2. Never.

Both responses created opportunity for the agent to continue the conversation, run quotes and write the sale. This created a fertile opportunity to earn their business. The results were staggering. Life insurance sales increased by 340%!

Additionally, in the cases where a client already had life insurance (with someone else), they revealed that they hadn’t heard from their original life agent since that agent cashed the commission check.

Quick tip: Stay in touch with your clients and they’ll stay in touch with you.


Whether you’re an independent sales professional, a telemarketer, work in corporate sales or at a call center, you can craft your own engaging question that can go beyond cross selling. It can be utilized for cold calling, warm calling and with existing clients or new prospects. Here are a few examples to express how adaptable it is.

“When is the last time someone reviewed the current market value of home?
“When is the last time you reviewed the latest CRM features and how they can impact your business?
“When is the last time you were paid what you deserve and appreciated in your job?” (For job recruiters)
“When is the last time you brought your car in for service?”
“When is the last time you had a vacation?”
“When is the last time you upgraded your cell phone?”
“When is the last time you heard of one simple sentence that can increase your sales dramatically? : )

In closing (see what I did there?), you can always add some pertinent information preceding this question. For example:

“Property value is on the rise, when is the last time someone reviewed the current market value of home?”


“I’m running a special on preventative maintenance for all vehicles, when’s the last time you had yours in for service?”

The more you engage the client, the less they’ll be thinking divorce. The more you make them think, the smarter you look.

*According to Marketing Metrics, “businesses have a 60 to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%.

© Rob Liano. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rob Liano with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Author's Bio: 

If all the world’s a stage, Best Selling Author and Sales Strategist Rob Liano is front and center. A visionary trailblazer and thought leader, Rob is a highly-respected entrepreneur and business advisor, consistently sought out for his groundbreaking innovation.

His introduction to sales came during his late teenage years when, following in his father’s footsteps, he knocked on doors selling vacuums. Though some of the old-school sales lessons he learned stuck with him throughout his career of nearly 30 years, he continuously improved his craft through avid study, trial and error, and thinking outside of the box–discarding archaic techniques that no longer proved effective.

This led him to pioneer many new and creative solutions. By pairing some old–and a wealth of new–techniques, he developed a logical, innovative and non-failing system of selling. His work ethic, dedication to refining his craft, and straightforward manner of delivering a message, enabled him to become a renowned sales strategist.