Marketing tip #71: Upsell with the choice of 3

92022598 Gold, silver or bronze?  Best, better, good?  Economy, standard or premium?

Is it just an odd coincidence that we as consumers are often presented with three tiered choices? Actually it's no coincidence at all.

They have proven scientifically that in most cases (I can't find the study or I would be more specific) the consumer will opt for the middle choice.  

Here's how our brains see the options:

  • The lowest choice seems bare-bones.  
  • The highest choice seems extravagant.  
  • But the middle choice… now, that's pragmatic.  Not too little and not too much.

If you want to earn more revenue from your existing customers — package their choices differently.  Be sure there is an actual value difference (both in what they get and what they pay) in the tiers…but then, give them 3 options.

And stock up on whatever is lucky #2!



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4 comments on “Marketing tip #71: Upsell with the choice of 3

  1. Justin Brady says:


    You are DEAD ON!

    In college, a hotel I worked at would fill in our standard rooms first, then reluctantly (if at all) sell the premium rooms.

    A buddy of mine and I changed the up-sell strategy at the hotel, making our premium rooms appear as the “middle option” by always telling about our presidential suite and also using a clever incentivized up-sell strategy. The result?

    The premiums would fill in first, and the standards would follow. We even sold the presidential more. Our strategy was so effective, we shut off all online reservations, because we easily filled the hotel at rack rate. Hotel revenue from rooms doubled under a year.

    Funny enough, I got fired from that hotel…. sigh.

  2. True, so true! And when describing the ‘lowest’choice,
    the adjective ‘small’ or anything remotely similar isn’t a good idea either.
    You still want to assign as much value as possible for that lower tiered choice.

  3. When I use to work at Home Depot, they always pushed the good, better, best. It works really well. You can even get better results when you sell add-ons to the original product.

  4. Drew,

    When I read your post I said huh? The middle. The middle of the road.

    Continuing with the conversation it would quite possibly stand to reason that even or in spite of our evolved selves the middle makes us feel safe. Normal. Accepted. Typical. That is the thought as a consumer.

    I am not endeavoring to elevate one’s thinking from a marketing stand point. In that medium makes more sense to have someone (YOU) graciously share the rules and use them to both the consumer & my good.

    I am taking a break from a product I am working on when I “stumbled” onto this blog post. It has given me the clarity that I needed that I didn’t even know I needed.

    No coincidences. Thanks Drew!

    Jacqui Dobens

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