Sales as Service

When teaching your inside sales team how to cross-sell, many techniques are required for a smooth and successful transaction. First, it’s important for the staff to understand sales as a service, where selling is about serving the customer—meeting their needs, solving their problems, fulfilling their desires. If you can get your team to realize that premise, then you can move on to increase your product and/or service value to your customer and company through cross-selling and up-selling. These strategies are essentially proactive forms of customer service. So how do you teach a team the necessary skills to cross-sell? Try a fun game. Playing games during training can be a great way to make the day more interesting, break up monotony in the delivery, and bring the staff together in a casual and relaxed manner.

Follow the directions below, click on the link for the necessary tools to deliver the training game, and have fun!

“Product Partners Cross-Selling Game”


Participants are assigned to products to represent and they mingle with each other to establish as many “partnerships” as they can, based on a commonality between their two products. This game reinforces creative thinking and the ability to establish relationships between diverse objects. It’s ideal for employees who need to cross-sell.

What You’ll Need

10–15 minutes. One copy of the product list, here. A hat, bag or basket. Participants will also need paper and pens and may want a clipboard or hard surface for writing.

What To Do

Cut the copy of the product list into pieces so that you have 16 slips of paper, each with the name of one product. Put these in a hat or basket.

Tell participants they’ll select a product to represent and then they will go around the room to talk to other participants to try to establish partnerships based on a commonality between their products. The objective is to create as many partnerships as they can in the allotted time.

For example, someone who sells oranges might be able to create a partnership with someone who sells balls because their respective products are both round.

Participants should work with one another to establish relationships between their products, but they should not spend more than one to two minutes with each potential partner. None of the participants will be able to establish partnerships with everyone they talk to. Each time they establish a partnership, they should record their partner and the product relationship on their piece of paper.

Once you’ve explained the game, ask participants to draw a product from the hat and begin the game. After about ten minutes, stop the game and ask for volunteers to share their results.

Trainer Note

Countless combinations are possible. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Things people use at work (telephone, books, paper, computer, eyeglasses)
  2. Things people like to receive as gifts (flowers, clothing, chocolates, music)
  3. Things people put on their coffee table at home (flowers, books)
  4. Things people use to communicate (telephones, computers, pens, paper, musical instruments)
  5. Things almost everyone owns (telephone, cars, books, shoes)

If You Have More Time

Ask participants to work in small groups to develop “product partners” for their products and services.

*Game content copyrighted by McGraw-Hill in “The Big Book of Customer Service Training Games,” written by Peggy Carlaw and Vasudha Kathleen Deming.

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