Excellent Blog Post By Michael Fortin

22 replies
If you haven't seen it


I think he makes some very valid arguments

#blog #excellent #fortin #micheal #post
  • Profile picture of the author Colin Evans
    Hi Kim,

    Some interesting points raised in the article - and I agree on his OTO "hostage" argument - never been comfortable with it.

    Sig not working today - too hung over...

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[640828].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    Yep, "upsell heck" been there, dislike, too
    Just let me check out, please. OK, fries, too, maybe, but not interested in:

    - a second meal
    - coffees
    - snacks
    - tomorrow's meals
    - more coffees and snacks
    - yada, yada, yada

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641029].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      I love reading his stuff and agree with him 100%, which is probably why I
      don't make nearly as much money as I could.

      The last time I ever took anybody hostage was when I was a teen and
      needed a date to the prom.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641119].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Sheila
    Great article. Personally, I've unsubscribed to marketer's lists that have used this tactic on me. And I never bought from them again.

    I don't care how good a product is, if someone uses "hostage" tactics on me, I don't want to learn from them. I certainly wouldn't want to use their tactics, so why would I think they had anything of value to teach me?

    Michael's point was well taken: although these tactics might work in the short run, do they work in the long run? . . . definitely not for me!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641114].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author o_brient
    I think there is a "halfway house" between the upsell hell mentioned and not upselling at all.

    On the thank you page rather than:
    "Thank You For Your Order...Here's a great deal on another product I have for you"

    The following basic approach seems to me more digestible:
    Thank You Message
    Option To Get More Great Offers Right Now
    Proceed To Order Download Page Right Now

    It's not a new tactic by any means but at least it gives the buyer the option to get better deals there and then or if they're in a hurry miss out the upsells/downsells that some marketers force upon their customers, and sits well with "agressive tactics" (you'll have to be good with your copy of course) versus doing nothing IMHO.

    All the best,
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641177].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    Notice he is leveraging off another marker and surfing the wave... THAT is clever
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641252].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Kenneth L
      Originally Posted by James Schramko View Post

      Notice he is leveraging off another marker and surfing the wave... THAT is clever
      Who else does that (all the time)?

      ...or...rather leverages off every "Big Name" Launch.

      I'm not suggesting it's an (Arbitage) Conspiracy... just more 'pot meet kettle' if you know what I mean?

      Oh...Never Mind! (...back to work...)

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641281].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Kenneth L
    Michel Fortin is a class act.

    I really love how there is a core group of really great Marketers out there who, while being far smaller than the other crowd and possibly making less , have entirely their customers interests at heart.

    Who do I mean specifically by this?

    Jonathan Mizel (Last 2 Free MP3s I listened to completely blew me away. A-W-E-S-O-M-E)
    Perry Marshall
    Ken McCarthy
    Michel Fortin
    Glenn Livingstone

    And a few others.

    If you're a Newbie I urge you, from the bottom of my heart, to ignore the 'noise' that echoes so loudly from nearly every email list in this Industry and pay attention to these people who make money - hand over fist, day-in-day-out - outside the I.M niche and give honest, workable actionable advice.

    Here are some links to their stuff:


    Perry Marshall - Google Adwords and Guerilla Marketing

    pay per click search marketing



    Best Wishes,

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641270].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Buddd
    Hi Kim,

    I agree with you totally, one upsell I don't mind, but 3 or 4, let me out of here!

    But here's one that I think is worse. A few months ago I saw something and decided
    to purchase it. Went to the page filled out my name, email and was forwarded to PayPal.
    I paid for the product and was then was forwarded to what I assumed was the download
    page, it wasn't. I was required to give them my home phone number, my address, and they
    wanted me to fill in a survey!

    I was pissed, talk about trapped. I gave false info just to get out. Never even downloaded
    the product. I immediately canceled the payment and sent a blistering email.

    I don't mind sales and marketing tactics at all, but being held hostage to get my personal
    info after I've paid, xoi%43kjf87zx%$#(&!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641275].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jayden.fellze
    Really nice share and excellent arguments, I have to agree!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[641292].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MichelFortin
    I think the important thing to remember is that when people say things like these "work," it's specious. Because it has no choice BUT to work because of the very nature of the process (i.e., holding a customer hostage). Read the comments in that blog post and you'll notice a discussion between Ed Dale and me, and how using the "but it works" is misleading.

    Robbing a bank works, too.

    The key in all this is to ask, "Short term or long term?" And, as my friend Armand Morin always says, "At what cost?"
    Michel Fortin
    We Solve Inbox Overwhelm
    CEO, Workaholics4Hire.com, Inc.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[712509].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    I don't know if I agree 100% with the arguement, because a few years ago I purchased a non IM product, I researched it well and I really wanted it. During the order process they did the upsell but it was something I really wanted and they cut the original offer price and threw in the bonus item for X amount which was a little more than the original offer. I didn't mind because #1 I really loved the product and #2 I wouldn't have known about the additional product at all because they didn't promote it on thier main site or other marketing they did. I was over joyed with it.

    I also had the option of NOT taking the upsell and just go with the base package.
    In this circumstance I was glad they did the upsell process. I believe they did 2 OO's during the checkout process. This was a NON IM product.

    I am not sure if you are specifically targeting a niche with your article but for me when I go to purchase something I am glad to be offered additional INK cartridges at a special discount when I buy a new printer etc... Doesn't mean I have to or will choose the additional ink but if it is a special deal I probably will because I can use it and it fits with my product purchase.

    Unrelated upsells more than likely I don't care about and will get annoyed if I am repeatedly given options that don't match with the original order.

    I agree that excesive use of OO's and upsells can be anoying but there are also cases where I am over joyed to be offered a better deal, more stuff that in the end inflates the bill beyond the original price on sales page but at the sametime a lot cheaper than buying everything individually.

    If they did each item as an OO that would be annoying and I am on the band wagon with you there but a max of 2 OO's and I am fine with that.

    If I was forced to buy the OO's or Upsells after I put in my CC info then I wouldn't be happy at all. Like most people I learned where to look to pass to the final checkout or for the not interested link on the OO so my annoyance level is limited by seconds on the offers I have no interest in.

    The arguement is on whether to use them or not and I can't agree 100% with the NO side because if the offer is crafted to enhance correctly the original product I am glad to know about it instead of later having to go back and order it seperately later.

    What really annoys me, is when you order these items and they don't all arrive at the sametime. Only applies to physical items that are shipped.

    - Terry
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[712705].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    I went back and reread the article Michel posted. We both agree on the excessive use at first read through I thought it was more slanted to the use of upsells and OO's all together but that wasn't what he was saying.

    Though if all those OO's and Upsells are match with the orignal product I still maybe interested in knowing about them, especially if it is a special price. Though at that point my main concern is the overall bill total instead of the great offers.

    Off topic and seemingly random offers I would abandon the cart. They do NOT have your CC info until you finally accept the order and hit submit, usually there is a verification page you have to go through first before you get to the charge my card button.

    There is a certain niche that I buy a lot from that I am happy to be presented with the offers. It depends on the offer.

    Overall I agree with you on this Michel but there are exceptions to it where it is a product I really want I have done business with the merchant before and the OO's are really spectacular and fits with the original offer. In those circumstances I wouldn't mind the aditional offers.

    I am tired right now so not sure this or the last post I made above makes total sense.

    - Terry
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[712782].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author MichelFortin
      Terry, I'm glad you went back and read the post. The contention I have is NOT with upsells. It's with "upsell hell," or "upsell jail." (I prefer the latter, my wife coined the former in her report at InternetMarketingSins.com.)

      It's not so much that you offer an upsell or two. It's that you offer it after the sale has been initiated and before it has been completed. You are holding your client, their money, and their order (what they paid for) hostage.

      The Internet makes this process so easy to do -- and with so much potential for it being abused -- because even a simple confirmation page can be easily withheld until the customer jumps through your hoops.

      Once they've reached the shopping cart and entered their credit card details, that's when the abuse starts. And so many marketers out there have this "gotcha" attitude once their customers reach this point.

      And that's sad.

      Same thing with forced continuity (which I have NO problems with, either). The abuse of forced continuity, specifically hidden continuity or "switched" continuity, is what I have a problem with. It's downright abusive.

      Sure we can say "buyer beware" and so on. But when you hold your customer hostage, even after this customer has read all your copy, has invested time and effort in deciding on whether to buy or not (i.e., in whether to trust you or not), has studied all the fine print, and has done all their due diligence, and you remove all choices from their purchase decision, it's no longer the customer's fault.

      Bottom line, I'm against the abuse, not the use, of upsells.

      Plus, when it comes to upsell hell, the fact that is can be so easily abused (and it has been) is specifically frustrating with 5, 8, even 10 upsell offers.

      And my specific contention is with those who say "but it works." Of course, it works. Holding a gun to someone's head and asking for their money works, too. But when something works doesn't mean it's right.

      Specifically, the article I ranted about initially likened upsells to "do you want fries with that." And that's fine. But in this context, the old McDonald's upsell strategy is misleading. A better analogy is when you give your money to the cashier, and while he's holding your money/change in one hand and your food in the other, stops and tries to sell you over and over again.

      The worse part is, on the Internet you don't see your change/money or even your order, because you don't even know if the order went through, you don't have access to what you paid for until and unless you go through a barrage of upsell offers.

      Plus, you have a psychological investment up to that point and feel you can't leave because 1) you want to make sure your order went through, 2) you want what you paid for, 3) you've invested your trust in the person/business making the offer (and you hate being wrong), 4) you don't know if it's a scam until the order is finalized and you got what you paid for, and 5) you're afraid to leave because you'd hate to have your credit card processed without having what you paid for if you abandoned your shopping cart to that point.

      So you're stuck.

      You're in upsell jail.

      I believe in upsells wholeheartedly. And personally, I think multiple "in-transit" upsells is myopic, gives our industry a bad name, makes us all look scammy/smarmy, and focuses on the short-term sales rather than the long-term customer relationships.

      Thanks for commenting and allowing me to vent.
      Michel Fortin
      We Solve Inbox Overwhelm
      CEO, Workaholics4Hire.com, Inc.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[712907].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author dhudiburg
    The only way to truly say "but it works" is to measure Lifetime Customer Value over time. When marketers use overly aggressive sequential upsells, my guess is that they do so at the expense of future back-end sales.

    Plus, when people buy tons of products, they have no time left to actually consume the product -- again, making them less likely to buy the next time.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[712970].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    I generaly like Michel's thoughts and comments.. he really comes across as one of 'the good guys'.

    And I am not a fan of upsell hell.

    but, I think a big part of his analogy is based on saying someone is witholding your product AND money.

    There is no witholding of money going on - you only pay the exact price of what you ordered.

    Plus, I really doubt anyone has decided to purhcase an upsell just as a way to escape the upsell hell - no one is crying out "OK! I'll buy the fries if you just shut up!"

    The difference may seem minor, and it is subtle, but it has a large effect on the emotional response this article and analogy triggers.

    Like I said - I am not a fan of this tactic at all. And I like Michel. I just think the talented Mr Fortin is pushing a few emotional buttons.


    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[713048].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MichelFortin
    Jason, I'm not really sure what you mean.

    But if I read you correctly, let me clarify...

    When you order something, and before you get to the confirmation page, if the website tries to upsell you again and again and again, to me it is withholding someone's money.

    Specifically, once you've entered your credit card details, without knowing if your order is processed, without knowing if the payment went through, and without getting what you paid for until and unless you go through myriad upsells, is holding your customer hostage.

    Whether it works or not is not the point. Deep down, I believe that most people abhor this type of tactic being done on them. I don't know for sure, and I certainly can't speak for the Internet as a whole. But I know that, for me, going through this process is terribly annoying and frustrating. And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.

    Ultimately, the idea I'm trying to convey is that such tactics and the people who use them, while some may have good intentions, are so easily (for the lack of a better word) abusable. And unfortunately, they often are abused.

    Plus, it's affecting us all, like it or not.

    I believe that making money using tricks is mostly if not always short term.

    I know this is not going to sit well with some people. But to me, the bottom line is, don't focus on short-term tactics, tricks, shortcuts, techniques, etc. In short, stop focusing on playing games -- whether it's an attempt at gaming systems, websites, businesses, or, above all, your customers.

    Instead, start focusing on developing solid businesses and meaningful relationships through long-term, ethical, value-driven products and strategies.

    Forget things like "Twitter Cash," "Google Ninja," "Black Hat Magic Machine," "Mega Social Media Money," etc, etc, etc. (I made those names up, but you get the gist. My apologies if such products do exist. Any semblance was purely unintentional.) Also, forget things like NLP, mind control, myriad upsells, hidden continuity, etc.

    Just 1) sell the darn thing and 2) serve your customer well.

    Simple, really. I mean, what ever happened to good ol' fashioned marketing and selling? What ever happened to making money solving problems, creating value, and selling what people really want?

    I've said this many times before. But my motto is, make money NOT at the expense of others but at the service of others. The former will make you money, the latter, wealthy.

    Sadly, however, the former gets more attention. Perhaps it's the recession. Perhaps it's just me. I don't know. But one thing I do know is that, nowadays, we are all starting to look like scammy, smarmy, snake-oil salesmen just hustling for a quick buck.

    Whether it's because of the recession or not, what I also know is that I'm getting more and more disenchanted and even disgusted with what our industry is becoming and how it's being perceived.

    An industry I once loved and enjoyed... An industry I was once very proud to be in... An industry, sad to say, I'm getting less and less passionate about.

    My three cents.
    Michel Fortin
    We Solve Inbox Overwhelm
    CEO, Workaholics4Hire.com, Inc.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[713229].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author stevenh512
      Originally Posted by MichelFortin View Post

      Forget things like "Twitter Cash," "Google Ninja," "Black Hat Magic Machine," "Mega Social Media Money," etc, etc, etc.
      Oh man, you just ruined my next big payday, I was all set to launch "Google Ninja" next week with "Black Hat Magic Machine" as an upsell.. lmao

      But all joking aside.. have to agree with you on this one, too many people focus on short term and "black hat" techniques trying to make money "right now" without even thinking to look at the bigger picture. Not that I mind making money "right now" but I'd gladly sacrifice that if it means I'll be making money for years to come. I'd much rather have an "army" of satisfied customers who are happy to buy and promote my next product, than a bunch of "hostage" customers who aren't happy with me because I tricked them into giving me their hard-earned money.

      This signature intentionally left blank.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[713301].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    Ok Michel,

    Followup Question.

    What do you think of the upsells AFTER the purchase is made?

    You go through the order process, go through and are returned back to the merchants download page. On that page you are given another upsell offer.

    Whats your view of those?

    I have also seen where you have to signup to a list to get the download, AFTER you have already paid for god sake. WTH ?

    I understand that some of this is done by clickbank merchants who want to offer upsells and OTO's but due to Clickbanks new TOS they forbid it during the initial order process.

    What are your thoughts on these?

    - Terry
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[713265].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author sylviefortin
      Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

      What do you think of the upsells AFTER the purchase is made?
      Hey Terry

      I'll pipe in here, if that's ok.

      These are fine, provided the customer is given what was promised, what they paid for, and then additional offers (relevant offers only) are made on the download page.

      The whole issue is to avoid the shock, confusion, and uncertainty that people are hit with when they expected one series of events and didn't get what they expected.

      The number one problem with online sales is gaining trust, and it seems ridiculous to me that we work so hard to gain enough trust so that they enter their credit card, and then make them question their trust by hitting them with upsell hell.

      Frankly, it's just stupid.

      But by doing what you said you were going to do (give them what they paid for) and then make an upsell offer, it doesn't make them question their initial buying decision.

      Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

      I have also seen where you have to signup to a list to get the download, AFTER you have already paid for god sake. WTH ?
      This is done because of the limitations of autoresponders.

      There are basically three types of lists you can have someone opt in to...

      Main List
      Pre-Sell Autoresponder
      Post-Sell Autoresponder

      If someone gets on your Pre-Sell autoresponder, then buys your product, you need to add them to your Post-Sell autoresponder so you don't continue to pitch them your product (and annoy them).

      That's why you need to ask someone to "register" their purchase by entering their name and email address before downloading, so that you can put them on your post-sell responder which has a different series of messages, all meant to help them consume the product they bought.

      Hope that helps.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[714864].message }}

Trending Topics