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Not A Fan Of The Upsell

Posted by on Jun 21, 2010

Last Monday I went online and ordered a product my wife and I saw on TV. We’d waited a couple of months to make sure we wanted it, then decided it was time to pull the trigger on the purchase.

A couple of days later, we started getting this phone call from a company we didn’t recognize. We had decided we weren’t going to pick it up, but after call number five I decided to go ahead and get it out of the way.

It was the company we’d bought the product from. We were being thanked for our purchase and were told that we were being sent some other nonsense that included $40 in gas coupons, and would be charged $1 for a month, which we could cancel if we didn’t want it. I decided to go ahead and let it go, even though I knew I’d be canceling the day it showed up.

The guy then sent me to someone else to confirm the order. The next guy gets on the phone, confirms what was said, then starts saying how they’re going to send me all this other stuff for a very low price, since I was a preferred customer. At that point I told the guy to not send me anything else, I wasn’t interested and would possibly forget to cancel all those things, and to only stick with the original offer. He said he understood, put me down as “no”, and said he hoped I would enjoy my purchase.

I’m not a big fan of the upsell. I understand it’s a nice little marketing trick that works on a lot of people, but at times I find it quite intrusive. What I described is how it works in the regular world, at least one way. After all, most of us have dealt with “would you like to super size that?”

Online, it works in the form of either visiting sites that offer one thing and having that popup or floating window come along and block whatever it is you were reading at the time and forcing you to take some kind of action before you can continue doing what you were doing. It doesn’t matter what it is; a product, a newsletter, subscribe to the feed… it’s an upsell to something you probably weren’t thinking about doing in the first place, or had no need to do.

One of the gripes I had with Clickbank is that it allows its users to promote upsells to the max. One product I was thinking about marketing early on, since the only association I have with Clickbank now is that book to the right side on $100 a day (I had said I was totally dropping it, then realized I liked that book and it’s through Clickbank), had it where a person might decide they wanted to look at one thing, were taken to a page showing something else, and even if you declined you were taken to a third page that had about 20 different items listed. That’s overwhelming for anyone, and I wondered if anyone would even bother with buying the first item at that point; I wouldn’t have.

GoDaddy, from whom I buy my domains from, is a master of this upsell thing. You purchase a domain name and it’ll ask if you want to buy all the other deviations of it that are available. You move on and it tries to sell you hosting, security packages, email packages, etc. Even when you get through all of that you’re offered the ability to hide your info from the masses (that shouldn’t be an option, it should happen automatically if you ask me) and many other things I can’t think of right now. I guess I need to be lucky it’s not like some other sites where stuff is pre-checked, which means if you’re not paying attention you’re going to have subscribed to something you really didn’t want.

What is your thought on the upsell? Does it make you more likely to buy or sign up for something, more likely to turn you away, or do you expect it and move on most of the time?

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It isn’t the idea of the upsell that bothers me. It’s the level of aggressiveness. If I buy something and the seller offers to provide me with additional information about other products that might interest me, that’s a service. If I feel hounded by an overbearing salesperson, that’s harassment. And if the seller tries to slip something by me or tricks me with fine print, that’s just pure deception. One thing my wife and I never fall for anymore: the sales pitch that ends with, “This is a one-time offer and you have to sign right now.” If we have to sign right now, we walk out right now. That kind of pressure usually means we’re going to regret something after it’s too late. We’ve lived and we’ve learned.
.-= Charles GulottaĀ“s last blog ..World Population: A Big Dip? =-.

June 21st, 2010 | 9:32 PM

I think that’s the part I dislike as well, Charles. I’m always leery of that kind of sales tactic, including the “what do I have to do to get you to buy this right now” type of thing. Truthfully, I know when I call to cancel this thing that’s coming I’m going to get all sorts of pitches and the like, and it might be hard getting them off the phone. But I’m going to give it my best.

June 21st, 2010 | 9:42 PM
John Sullivan:

Mitch I just told you on twitter what I thought of this writing šŸ™‚ And the topic is awesome Thanks glad I’m a subscriber enjoy the read
.-= John SullivanĀ“s last blog ..Best Blogging Tip EVER =-.

June 21st, 2010 | 11:17 PM

Thanks John; if I were the type to blush, I might be blushing now. šŸ™‚

June 21st, 2010 | 11:33 PM

The first comment from Charles covers this very well. Theres nothing wrong with an upsell as long as its relevant to the original offer and done in a non aggressive intrusive way. I use this method a lot but all it is in a gentle offer with something worthwhile and attractive. If they choose not to purchase then one has the choice to click away and its never presented again.

So all in all its not what you do that matters, more how you do it

Intrusive phonecalls etc – URRGHH! I hate that sort of marketing…..
.-= Peter DaviesĀ“s last blog ..Reasons Why Email Marketing is Better Than Print Advertising =-.

June 22nd, 2010 | 9:39 AM

I’m with you on that as well, Peter. Got one yesterday, but I had no idea what the woman was saying. She couldn’t even say my name properly; I pretty much knew I wasn’t going to want it anyway.

June 22nd, 2010 | 11:44 AM

Send me what I ordered- include a brochure if you’d like.

If I’m interested in ordering anything else, I’ll let you know!
.-= CaroleeĀ“s last blog ..Question for the work at home parents…. =-.

June 22nd, 2010 | 11:36 AM

LOL Carolee! You know, if you’re ordering something over the internet, at least give me a chance to see what it’s all about first right? Especially stuff from TV; they know a lot of it turns out to be junk, which is why they’re adding the extra pressure.

June 22nd, 2010 | 11:49 AM

As far as I have seen, Upsell does work on a number of occassions but me too I do not like upsells. It is more like taking advantage of your customer’s trust on your

June 23rd, 2010 | 3:12 AM

I dislike those banners that popup at you trying to sell you something on websites. Can’t say I have ever purchased anything from it either. My daughter worked in a call centre once and she said she hated trying to up-sell to someone who had just dropped a few hundred bucks on an item.
.-= RoseĀ“s last blog ..Earthquake shakes Ontario =-.

June 24th, 2010 | 12:10 AM

I’m with you on that one, but both Problogger and John Chow say they had massive jumps in subscribers when they added their popups. I wasn’t the one, though.

By the way, we felt the earthquake here as well; it was the major topic of conversation most of the day.

June 24th, 2010 | 12:56 AM