When’s the Last Time One Sentence Increased Cross Sales by 340%?

As a sales strategist, one thing I commonly witness is 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:

  1. It strengthens client relationships
  2. It increases the value provided to the customer
  3. It increases the CLV (customer lifetime value)
  4. It increases customer retention
  5. It increases the client’s perception of you as a professional
  6. 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 precedingthis 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 it 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. Thanks for reading. 

*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.

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