Upsells, Downsells, and The Power of a Multi-Step Offer

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A critical change in my thinking about selling came when I learned about upsells and downsells. An upsell is a second offer for a premium version of the product that is made right after the customer accepts the initial offer. A downsell is a lower cost offer made after a prospect refuses another offer and should involve removing something from the offer so your customer does not get the impression you were simply trying to overcharge them with the initial offer.

To use the multi-part offer sequence I have created, I need to have 4 separate product offers. They are:

Bronze - The entry level product with no bonuses
Silver - The entry level product with a highly relevant bonus
Gold - The premium version of the product with no bonuses
Platinum - The premium version of the product with a highly relevant bonus

It’s important that the bonus offered is complimentary to the main product but not essential. If the customer chooses not to get the bonus, they should still get the full value from the main product. For information products, a common bonus is an audio version of an e-book or a free coaching session. Both can add value, but the information in the main product is still complete without them.

My Sales Process Step-By-Step

The specific sales sequence I use is not some magic formula - there are others out there that may work just as well or better. But, I want to walk you through what I do and why to show the logic behind it and you can adapt it to your business.

Silver: The Sales Page Offer

When a customer comes to the sales page for my product, the offer at the bottom is for the Silver product. It’s a good value at a good price. If the prospect accepts the Silver offer, they jump ahead to the Platinum offer upsell page. If they try to leave the salespage without clicking the order button, an exit pop-up appears with a downsell to the Bronze offer.

Bronze: The Sales Page Downsell

If the prospect tries to leave the sales page without ordering, I make an additional attempt make a sale be offering a lower cost alternative - the ‘no-frills’ version. For cost conscious people, this might be enough of an incentive to motivate them to order and will convert some of these exiting visitors to customers.

Platinum: The Upsell

When a customer accepts the main offer, I direct them to another page that shows them how they can get an enhanced premium version of the product for only a few dollars more than what they had already decided to spend. I may even add an additional bonus as well that relates to the enhanced features of the premium product.

If the customer refuses the upsell offer, I send them to a third offer which is a ‘downsell for the upsell.’

Gold: The Downsell for the Upsell

If the customer turns down the upsell offer I give them a second chance to get the added features of the premium product for less money (which is still more than the Silver offer.) To justify the cost reduction, I take away the bonuses from the offer.

If the customer refuses the Gold offer, I take them directly to the shopping cart to complete the order for the Silver offer they originally chose to buy.