Do You Want Cheese With That?

Donovan Baldwin
 


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Back in my retail days, we called it “the upsell". In direct sales and internet marketing, it falls under the heading of “follow-up", although in many guises it can be very similar to the retail “upsell". It's really an effective technique for increasing your income from almost any marketing effort.

Most of us run into it in very common questions such as:

  • Do you want cheese on that?
  • Would you like to supersize your order?
  • Would you like an apple pie with that?
The last one has the extra appeal of having another upsell built in. If you agree to order an apple pie, they'll then let you know that you can get two for only a dollar. How many people across the world buy two apple pies when they originally had no intention of even buying one?

Now, this seems a little sneaky to some people.

If you are simply trying to rake in some dough by shoving a bunch of garbage on top of an order, I agree!

However, while you are making money, you can also be improving the customer's buying experience, enhancing their product, and improving your relationship with your customer.

Let's take a quick look at your benefits from the upsell or follow-up.

Huge chunks of any businesses’ advertising dollars goes towards getting the customer to make that first purchase. Overhead, such as electricity, wages, rent, and so on are also part of the costs necessary to make that first sale. Usually, the actual net profit on the sale in terms of a percentage of the price of the product or service, can be extremely low. Additionally, many buyers, particularly in a direct or internet marketing context, can be very leery at first of making more than the smallest of expenditures with this new, unknown distributor.

However, once they are, if you will, in the door and reaching for their wallets, anything you add to the order can be almost pure profit. When they upsize your drink at the fast food place for 39 cents, for example, the main costs they really incur for that upsize is the cost of syrup and carbonated water. . . which is next to nothing!

Okay, that sounds a little greedy, doesn't it?

Well, not if we are genuinely enhancing the customer's buying experience or product by our upsell. We may have expended a lot of time, effort, and expense to get that customer to buy our internet marketing product, for example. Suppose we also know that they will eventually need or want another product (web design or web hosting services, for example), and offer that to them as well?

If we offer it as part of the original sale, it may scare them off, leaving us with no sale at all. Or, trying to include it with the descriptions and specifications of the first product may prove confusing to the customer and cause us to lose the sale simply because they don't understand what each is and does. Or, they may simply WANT the one item! Offering the two together may cause us to lose the sale, because they feel they are being sold something they don't want.

How about this?

They make a purchase of the first item, and, as we take them through the check out process, before they have completed their purchase, we offer them the opportunity to add the second item (which we know they will eventually need) at a reduced price. We can probably offer the reduced price, because we now have an active sale, and there are really not as many additional costs associated with the sale of the second item.

The value of doing the upsell at this time, rather than earlier is that they now have a trust in you and your product. If they have reached the point where they are actually willing to make a purchase, they have crossed a line or barrier which exists until a certain amount of trust has been created.

From a strictly technical point of view, the upsell often works here for the same reason that “Do you want cheese with that?" works at the fast food counter. The customer has the cash or credit card in his or her hand and is in a buying mood. At this point, they are more likely to “add something on" to the purchase they have already decided to make.

Additionally, most successful internet marketers (and direct marketers as well) find that regular follow up with customers often produces additional sales. Also, since the customer has learned to trust your product and services, the purchases sometimes are larger.

Once a condition of trust has been created between you and a customer, you will find it possible to make future sales to that customer with very little additional cost in terms of advertising or overhead. That concept is easy. Just look at successful Avon ladies, and the Book-of-the-Month Club!

The author is retired from the Army after 21 years of service. He has worked as an accountant, purchasing agent, optical lab manager, restaurant manager, instructor and long-haul, over-the-road truck driver. He has been a member of Mensa for several years, and has written and published poetry, essays, and articles on various subjects for the last 40 years. He has been an active internet marketer since 2000, and now makes his living online. To learn more about improving your marketing performance, please visit http://marketingsecrets.xtramoney4me.net To read more articles by the author, please visit his blog at http://donovanbaldwin.blogspot.com/

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