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

As a sales strategist, one thing I commonly witness is that most salespeople are 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 sell is usually 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 a success story.


When I was hired as a consultant for a large health 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 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%.” It’s easier to sell something new to an existing customer.

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 their client list and instructed them to use this specific, intentionally crafted sentence, after their introduction.

When was 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.

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, they went from writing an average of five sales per month to an average of 23 sales per month, that’s an increase of 340%! 

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


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 I came up with to express how adaptable it is.

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

Be creative, since you know your industry so you can always add some pertinent information preceding this question to generate interest. For example:

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


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

In closing (see what I did there?), the more you engage the prospect, the less they’ll be thinking divorce. Ask better questions and you’ll close more sales.

Happy selling!

© 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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