Posted by: Admin | November 17, 2009

Would You Like Fries With That?

Contrary to what you are probably thinking… this post is not about me getting a job at MacDonalds. 

It’s actually not about my job search at all. 

It’s about a trend that I see becoming more prevalent everywhere I go.  It’s a sly little way that businesses are trying to give themselves a boost.

It’s all about the Upsell or… Suggestive Selling. 

Now, I come from the world of sales and marketing and I know how successful this strategy can be.   I’d even admit I’m a firm believer that it CAN make a big difference in your business.  And, I oftentimes applaud the companies that have learned to successfully use this tactic in their business plan.

It’s based on a few underlying assumptions: 

  • People love to feel like they are getting a great deal. 
  • People like to get more for less. 
  • People feel that bigger is better… (oftentimes, even if it comes at a greater cost)

And, let’s be honest, most people are highly suggestible.  It’s why impulse purchase items do so well.   It’s also why a motivated company can train their employees to suggest things to you so that you spend more money without ever really thinking about it.  

And after all, why wouldn’t you want fries with that? (what’s the point of going out for crappy fast food, if you’re not gonna go all the way??)

Anyhow, here are some places where I’ve recently seen this strategy at work… places where I applaud their efforts.

MacDonalds – (Probably one of the best examples of upselling) Do you want to supersize?  Do you want fries with that?

Ruby Tuesdays – Would you like to start out with an appetizer?  Would you like to add the salad bar for only $1.99 more?

Old Navy – (as I’m buying 2 t-shirts) These t-shirts are 3 for $15.00.  Don’t you want to go grab one more?

My Local Bar – Would you like that margarita with Patron?

As you can see, there’s a time & a place where this sales tactic can work very well, and I bet that at least 50% of the time, you can get a customer to say “yes!”.  But……… 

There’s a time & a place where I don’t want to see this strategy.  Namely……. My Eye Doctor. 

Yes… I did say my Eye Doctor  (this is not a euphemism for a high pressure, boutique sunglass store).  It’s my actual licensed, yearly check-up, new prescription, Eye Dr. 

I went there today, and under the guise of concern for the future of my eyesight, they tried to upsell me to do some sort of eye mapping picture that’s, and I quote “not covered at all by your insurance”.

And, ok, I’ll admit it……I’ve fallen for this tactic before.. I mean, you can’t skimp on your eyesight right?  So, the last 2 times I’ve paid an extra $65 (not covered by insurance) for this special eye mapping picture to ensure that there are no horrible changes to my eyesight since my last visit.  

But, now that I’m unemployed and I’m counting my pennies.  Instead of being bullied by fear into paying for this service, I asked more questions.  And, I determined that I’d pass on having this done today, and I’m pretty confident that with all the other eye tests they ran on me, that my eyesight will be ok until my next visit.  Unless of course I have to keep looking at rejection emails about jobs in which case I may just poke out my own eyes with my pen… but, even then, I don’t think this mapping picture could have saved me! 

So, here I sit thinking about my decision and feeling good that I didn’t fall prey to the upsell at my doctors office… and, somewhere in the back of my mind I’m celebrating this tiny victory over the suggestive sell!

I may still get the fries, the better tequila and the extra t-shirt but, at least today, I’m basking in the joy of saving $65!



  1. The ads part of this reminded me of this video I watched earlier today. This guy is a very good speaker.

    • Brad ~ Thanks for sharing that link I really enjoyed it…. particularly the Diamond Shreddies!

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