Is UpSelling a Scam or not?

upselling is scammyUpSelling…
Why do people think that Upselling is a Scam?

Why do people think that Upselling is a Scam? According to Matt Lloyd, CEO of My Online Business Education (MOBE), in this video,     Why do people think that Upsales are a scam?,  it’s because they don’t know what they’re talking about.  But that answer is way too simple.   In my opinion, some upselling is not scammy and some upselling is scammy.

When I first started out in  internet marketing, I was not only uncomfortable about upselling (because I thought I was buying everything I needed to make money with my first purchase – this is was due to how the product was marketed and promoted –the subject of another post for sure entitled, “False Advertising?” or “Where and How does Truth in Advertising Cross the Truth Line?“) , but I was totally uncomfortable with selling as well.

Over time I have learned more about Selling (read this post about Resistance to Selling and see if you have it),  and Upselling.

Here is how my understanding about Selling and Upselling has evolved over time.

1st,  some basic definitions and perceptions —

  • What is upselling and is it being confused with cross selling ?
    • Upselling is a sales technique whereby a seller induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Upselling assumes that the product you just purchased isn’t a complete product, that it needs the next product to be successful, and maybe the next product and the next product.
    • Cross-selling is a strategy to sell products that are different — but possibly related — to the product the customer already has (or is buying).

(For purposes of this post these terms will be used interchangeably.)

  • What comes to mind when you think of the word upsell?
    • An upsell should not be necessary or required to the success of the item just purchased.  The product purchased should be a complete product and dependent on another product, especially based on the sales letter and claims made in the sales letter.
    • For some people, it brings up images of sleazy salespeople trying to line their pockets by selling extra things I don’t need.
    • Instant upsells are considered scammy because it’s an indication that you did not get what you just paid for, that you aren’t getting what you signed up for, that the product you just bought is actually incomplete.  This is scammy, particularly if the initial sales-page explicitly stated that the program or offer is a complete solution.
    • The sales-pages of any number of get-rich-quick programs are perceived as being scammy. They always give you the impression, or even explicitly state that this program is going to teach you everything you need to know to make tons of money online. Some of them even claim that their system is fully automatic and will practically start spitting out money at the click of a button. Now, when you decide to buy the product and immediately after the purchase, you are led to the back-end where one or several upsells await, what does that say about the program you just bought? On the sales-page, I was told that this program would solve all my problems and now I’m being told I should also get program X to really boost my traffic and program Y to make website-building a breeze.
    • An example of a non-scammy upsell (or cross selling) is when you go to McDonald’s and order a hamburger and the server offers french fries and a drink. No one gets bothered about that because the upsells are not mandatory. You can eat a hamburger without french fries or a drink. The hamburger is a complete purchase in and of itself. You are getting the value of a hamburger when you buy a hamburger. That is an example of a the not scammy upsell.
    • An example of  a scammy upsell is when you buy an MLM product that leads you to believe that you only have to buy that product to get success.  The sales letter doesn’t allude to additional costs or upgrades or other products. The sales letter says, get this product and learn how to make (lot of) money on line.

2nd, let’s talk about why upsales are considered absolutely ok to offer their clients.

  • industry standard operating procedures
  • if the training information is applied, all of of the upsell offers provide value well beyond their actual purchase price
  • Customer expect upsales
  • Normal to have a back end offer with an ascension model that takes a customer from a front end offer to a back end offer
  • Any successful business has upsales

3rd, let’s talk about the benefits of upseling (cross selling) when it is done the right way

  • It builds deeper relationships with your customers when you are helping them “win”.
  • Upselling is easier than selling to new customers and it helps you grow.
  • Upselling increases customer lifetime value (CLV).
  • Upselling isn’t just a sales tactic; it’s a customer happiness tactic that can help you build deeper relationships with customers by delivering more value.
  • Upsales provide people with additional value and people want to be provided with additional value and are willing to pay for it.
  • If you can make your customer feel like an upsell is helping them win, then you’ll both win.

Here is what I think about upselling now.  It’s OK if done honestly. Tell the prospective buyers the truth. Say for example that the first product is X amount of $$$$, and that  it lays the foundation for additional products that will complement, add to, and enhance the prospective buyer’s learning.

Follow your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Do what you want to do in your business that is congruent with who you are and what you stand for.

Here are some more resources and articles on upselling that you may find valuable.

If this helped you and you got value, feel free to share with your teammates, on Facebook, and comment below.  


Sara Metzger’s Start an Online Business Blog
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4 thoughts on “Is UpSelling a Scam or not?

    1. I personally have been having issues with upselling and thought others might as well, so I researched it and came up with a way for me to feel totally comfortable about it.

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