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Upselling: Who Wins?

I think everyone's familiar with the concept of upselling, whether they know it or not. It's the technique used by salespeople, from the clerk at Burger Boy to Cadillac dealers, to get you to purchase a larger, more expensive product than you initially intended to; or simply more of whatever product you wanted. Would you like to super-size that?

But does upselling really offer a better value to the consumer? Or is it all just an illusion to increase profit margins as much as possible? Personally, I believe that upselling can be a benefit both to the consumer and the salesman's bottom-line.

Consider a director looking to create a confetti effect (conveniently, the subject of this week's special) for an upcoming production. Having looked through the Theatre Effects Cybershop, she decides that the AE11 Pocket Cannon will suit her needs. However, when she calls to place her order, the friendly Customer Service Representative (CSR) asks a few questions about how she'll be using the device. When these questions reveal that the director was hoping to shoot streamers across a 35' wide stage, the CSR suggests that she add lifting cups and backpressure caps to her order. The CSR explains that without these devices the cannon will not shoot the streamers as far as the director wants.

Also, the director was originally ordering the less expensive 12' streamers. The CSR points out that these streamers may be less expensive, but that it would take more of them to create a decent-looking effect. Since the 18' streamers are only a few dollars more, the director changes to the larger size. In addition, it turns out that the director wanted to shoot red, white and blue streamers but didn't think that such a custom color combination was possible. The CSR informs her that this is, indeed, possible for no extra charge and makes a note for the streamers to be red, white and blue.

In discussing shipping options, the director mentions that she really wants to have the Pocket Cannon for her first dress rehearsal, in three days. It turns out that standard ground shipping will take four days, but the CSR can ship via a third-day service that will reach her right in time. This service, naturally, costs a little more than the standard shipping rate, but gets the product to the customer when she wants it.

So, who really wins in that situation? The customer has certainly paid more money than she orginally intended, but she also now has everything she needs to create the effect she imagined. The CSR has certainly sold more product than he would have originally, but only by honestly trying to meet the customer's needs. Had the director been stubbornly opposed to the CSR's "sales pitch," or if the CSR had tried to sell her items that she obviously didn't need or want, then the result might have been a lost sale, or an unhappy customer. However, when both parties are willing to listen to each other, and are working towards the same goal, upselling can truly create a "win-win" situation. 


Theatre Effects Customer Service Department
Theatre Effects, 1810 Airport Exchange Blvd. #400, Erlanger, KY 41018
Phone: 1-800-791-7646 or 513-772-7646 Fax: 513-772-3579


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