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An Absolutely Stupid Downsell Offer

Brief Overview

We all want to maximize sales. But don’t make stupid offers at the expense of your best customers. In this episode I share an example of a classic downsell mistake.

Big Ideas

The Compelling Upfront Offer [01:05]

I was on Facebook and I see this ad. And so, I click on this ad and I was kind of intrigued by it. It was for a subscription service that basically helps you read books faster. So, I click on the ad and I land on the sales letter. As I go through it, I feel that it’s a really good offer. It’s $7 per month so it’s really compelling to me. So, I click to buy.

The Absolutely Stupid Downsell [01:37]

Well, this is when everything just goes downhill. After I committed to buy there were all these upsells and downsells. There was a total of six different offers. The first offer right away was a huge red flag and this is one that I really want to hammer home for you. One of the upsells was for a $200 offer. I decided to say no to that and then the next one was a down sell for the exact same thing for 50% off… Okay, hold up here! Imagine that you see an offer. It’s $200. You click ‘no’ and then on the next page is the exact same offer but they’re giving you a 50% discount.

A Slap In Your Customers Face [02:35]

Immediately, it discounts the value of that very thing that you just made an offer on. And secondly, it’s like slapping your best customers in the face. What happens to those who took the initial offer? What happens when they get inside the members area and they find out that if they had just said no, they would’ve got it for 50% off? It immediately ticks people off and I see this mistake being made all the time.

Yes, it may maximize the short-term revenue. Yes, you are going to scoop up a whole bunch of new people who are going to take you up on the fact that they can now get a 50% discount. But you know what else it does? It absolutely ruins your long-term relationship with your best customers because the moment that they find out (and they will find out), it’s going to piss them off.

Not All Downsell Offers Are Created Equal [03:47]

There’s nothing wrong with a down sell offer, but don’t just discount the offer that you made previously. Take something out. Make it different. If it’s a physical product, offer it in a digital format. Whatever you do, don’t offer the exact same thing with a 50% discount. It’s silliness.

Bombarded With Offers! [04:09]

There were a total of six different offers. So, I said no to the first one, and immediately I get another one. I said no to that and I got another one. I said no to that, and I’m hit with another. We used to call this upsell hell. Listen, I love marketing just as much, if not more, than the next guy. But what I don’t love is a bad customer experience, and that’s exactly what this was. It was just one thing after another and by the time I got to the end, I was so confused about what I was really getting and what I just paid for.

Not only that, but what ended up happening was the thank you page was just a disaster because I had said no to all these different things and by the end, I don’t think they had any idea what I had actually bought. So the thank you page was super generic and created zero excitement.

Take Care Of Your Customers [08:06]

Memberships and subscriptions are awesome. These guys had a fantastic offer on the front end, but they ruined it by trying to maximize that short-term revenue and as a result, they’re going to have high turnover, I guarantee it. They’re always going to be chasing new customers. Instead, they can make their life a lot easier. They could take care of the ones that they’ve got, and those customers would take care of them long-term.

Memorable Quotes

Take care of the customers you’ve got and those customers will take care of you long-term.” – Stu McLaren


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