Art of Accounting: Upselling

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IMGCAP(1)]My car had a recall notice and I had to bring it in.

When I made the appointment, I was told to call the afternoon before to make sure they had the part in stock. Annoying, but I did and I was told they had it for me. When I brought it in, I was told I got the last part and they were calling other people with appointments to reschedule. I felt great that they had the part. What started out as an annoyance became a positive experience because of the way it was presented to me.

When the service ticket was being written up, my records were checked and I was told that I needed an 18-month checkup and since it was in the shop, they could also do that and save me another trip, which I agreed to. When they finished, they made an appointment for me to bring the car back in six months for the next scheduled servicing.

Great upselling! What started out as a freebee for me (the manufacturer paid for the recall) became a sale opportunity for the dealer—and reduced inconvenience for me since I was saving a trip. And I no longer had to remember to call to get my car serviced since I now had the next appointment set and was told I would get an email notification two weeks beforehand.

Question: Do you act the way they did with your clients? Do you let them know what they need, and when? Do you make them feel good? Do you upsell? You should!

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner emeritus at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, published by and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition,” published by the AICPA. Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or

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