What’s the Upsell? It’s the Next Logical Step!

Early on in my internet marketing career I realized that I needed to build a list -- and I quickly realized that my best way to build that list was to launch low ticket products.

Years later, when Lance and I began selling high ticket training courses on a regular basis ($997) the list stagnated for a few months. Our business stopped growing. We had to make it a point to go back and create those low ticket products in order to keep building that list of buyers...

People would buy that $7, $27, $47 WordPress plugin -- many of them would buy the another $7, $27, $47 plugin every month after that -- and then a small portion of those new people would buy our high ticket $997 training courses (usually broken into a payment plan of $97 a month or so).

Trust me, life is so much easier when you've built up a list of even a few thousand buyers! Every time you need comments on a blog post, webinar attendees, or some good old fashioned sales, all you have to do is ask and then click the "Send" button!

But Just Like Everything Else, I See Everyone Overcomplicating This...

For example:

  • The number one thing to remember is that THEY ARE JOINING YOUR BUYER'S LIST! That means even if you don't have an upsell ready for them, it's not the end of the world -- you'll be sending them followup emails in the future. If they want to buy something, they'll buy.
  • Beware of "upsell hell" -- this is where people load 5 or more upsells, downsells, cross-sells... you just bought something from me for $7, how about something for $27? No? What about $97? How about this $37 product? This $27/month membership with a $1 trial? The next thing you know, I've loaded so many things into the cart, I don't even know what I bought...
  • ONE upsell is fine. It doesn't have to be a one time offer. In fact, I've had great success offering an uspell just before the download, and even if they say no, take them to the download page, and then present that same exact upsell right under the download link, and I'll make extra sales there.

Here's what I've found is the best upsell to deliver to your buyers: a product that's in the same "class" (i.e. another plugin, or another report) at the exact same price point (i.e. $47 frontend product and $47 upsell) that directly complements the original product (it's the next logical step).

For example: someone buys Paper Template for $47, the upsell is Backup Creator for $47 -- another plugin, same price point, and after someone gets a website (sales letter) setup, they'll want to back it up or possibly clone it.

You sell a $97 video course on how to get traffic, make your upsell SEPARATE a $97 course on how to get that traffic to convert. You sell a $27 report on how to make quick money setting up website for local offline businesses, make your upsell a $27 report on how to get local traffic from Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Yelp!

My mentor Armand Morin calls this selling them "the next logical step" -- a saying he borrowed from NASA.

Here's where I want to help you. For the past year or so, as Lance and I have been selling these low ticket products on lots of different storefronts, we keep getting the same questions like...

"What's The Upsell? What's The OTO?"

Basically, what are you going to sell me once I buy from you?

I'm reluctant to answer for a couple of reasons: I don't want to confuse the offer, I might change that upsell... and I didn't answer until I noticed a disturbing trend in how everyone else is selling information products!

Someone is teaching this and it sucks. It hurts your conversions as a seller, and it's an annoying process as a buyer.

Whoever it is, is teaching people to basically sell the same information product as 3 separate products -- good, better, best...

This means: I see a course promising me how to create and sell a bestselling book on Amazon for $7. I buy it -- but it turns out to be a 60 minute or so video product of someone going through a mindmap.

That's it. 100% theory. They "tell" me how to outline a book, how to choose a niche and a title, they talk about writing the content, but they don't do any of it in front of me. I have to buy the "better" package for $27 to actually see the person create a book in front of me.

And then to get the REAL answers, to get all the nooks and crannies answered so I don't get stuck anywhere, I have to buy the $47 or $97 "best" package which usually includes a 3 hour video "Q&A recording" where people sent in questions here and there, and the person answered the most random (but specific issues) and somewhere between the mindmap videos, the implementation videos, and the Q&A, I actually have what I need.

I basically call these "crippled front-end offers." It's a TERRIBLE way to teach and to learn. I buy a webinar course for $7, it gives me the basic "what-to" outline but no "how-to." I have to buy the $47 upsell to see it done, and then I have to buy the $97 Q&A to get all the parts they skipped over.

Why Not Just Charge Me $97?

Here's a better solution: if you're going to sell me a course about offline local businesses, plan to set one up as part of the course.

Decide where people are when they start (usually: no money, no website, no templates) and where they should end (one paying client, website setup for them, they've been paid, and they might even have some recurring passive income setup).

Break it up into exactly four "how-to" modules. Let's say you setup your course like this:

  • Module 1: How to Find Your First Set of Offline Prospects
  • Module 2: How to Sell Your Offline Prospects into Clients
  • Module 3: How to Setup Your Client's Website
  • Module 4: How to Earn Passive Recurring Income from a Maintenance Package

Plan each module as a 60-90 minute video where you switch from a PowerPoint to a screen capture format, and structure it as WWHW: Why, What, How-To, What-If. For module one...

  • Why (10 minutes): why we're doing this module in the first place
  • What (10-20 minutes): what we're going to do, the exact steps before we do them
  • How-To (30-60 minutes): you actually performing the steps, like identifying which businesses you'll approach and maybe even contacting a few of them
  • What-If (10 minutes): a recap of what you just created, a checklist so they can repeat your process, and a simple assignment so they can get started on it

The EXACT lengths don't matter so much as keeping in mind that the how-to is the BULK of your module. The other pieces are just there to prepare them for the how-to component, and to recap what you showed them so it's all easy to follow.

Once the course is finished, if you are really concerned about an upsell, then your NEXT course should also be priced at $97 and it should cover the Next Logical Step

What If They Don't Buy At $97?

Here's the reason I "think" people try selling you these courses... they're afraid of selling at 100 bucks. I have a couple of solutions for you...

Step #1: Get Over It! Your competitors are outselling you at way higher price points than 100 dollars. How? They actually run real businesses. They consistently pay for traffic, they have social proof, they have well-written sales letters, videos and webinars, they have an email followup sequence. Move your prices from $10 to $100+ and you'll get slightly less buyers, but more total money overall, especially if you actually market your product -- what a concept!

Step #2: Walk the Price Up. You don't HAVE to initially launch your product at $97. What about $47? Create a quick sales letter listing out the four modules of your course. Spend a week or so getting your list ready for it. Bring on some affiliates and joint venture partners.

Launch your product on a free 1-hour pitch webinar where you demonstrate value, solve a simple problem and then introduce your upcoming 4-week, 4-module LIVE class for $47 where you'll show everyone how to setup these website for offline businesses.

Throw in a few HTML templates or WordPress themes and plugins as bonuses, your introductory letters and sales scripts telling people what to say when they approach these businesses, and make it a point that you personally will be landing an offline client during the course and making $2,000 from one transaction. 47 bucks is a no brainer at that point.

After the live course is done, close it up and re-open it a few weeks later for the full $97. Collect results and testimonials in the meantime and make a couple extra passes at your sales letter.

Step #3: Enhance the Offer. After you've finished your course, you can make a couple of additions to your web page templates, get the recordings of your live classes transcribed into reports with screenshots.

If you've added an assignment to the end of each module, you now have lots of case studies of people who followed along with you. You can organize the modules into an easy to follow dashboard. Now instead of waiting 4 weeks for you to deliver the course (as you did live), people get it all at once and can go at their own pace... even land their own offline client TODAY if they're fast!

It doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. As usual, if you deliver a COMPLETE course that worked for you, that has real results and your own live case studies -- and there's just ONE thing to buy and it's all in one place, you'll stand out from the crowd.

Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016Product CreationProduct Launches

Comments (50)

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  1. Mark Hess says:

    Holy shit this is a good post… I’ve seen the way some clowns do it on the Warrior Forum with WSO’s and it’s absolutely retarded. The steps you just laid out makes everyone happy, it’s a win-win-win. A high converting funnel means money for the product creator and affiliates. The customer doesn’t feel ‘ripped off’ or cheated.

  2. That is so true about the next logical step. Not hitting them with 3 other things that are double the cost of what they just bought. I like the idea of building the list with smaller ticket items. Once we build the relationship with these subscribers and elevate trust we can ask them to purchase higher ticket items.
    Great post Robert. Thanks for the help.

  3. Robert,

    Great post and an easy framework that can be used to create a course and sales funnel.

    Always like how you lay things out step-by-step and don’t over complicate things.

    Knock em out at the event you’re speaking at this weekend!


  4. Hi Robert,

    Don’t know how you do it all…..not true you’ve told us over and
    over….plan, schedule and DO!

    Post is almost a training course, appreciate the thought
    provoking ideas and instructions.


  5. Dennis Barakos says:


    Awesome post!

    You’ve pointed out the sad truth about the way people are selling these days, especially with WSO’s.

    You’re alternative approach is so logical and straightforward.

    Hopefully the one’s that are doing it all wrong are on YOUR list, and get a chance to see how to do it right!


  6. Sue says:


    Glad to get this from you. I like step #1 Get Over It!

    So enjoy your presentation and I am dead jealous of you being in San Diego.


  7. I can see that you wrote this post out just for me personally and I want to thank you very much for doing that for me. Much appreciated. This is a classic format for any business to follow.

    You are one helluva smart dude that has a great mentor. You outlined the main problem with WSOs. The funnel OTO upsells etc most use, totally suck. To me if you are offering a product at a price that is the whole product not oh by the way you may need this as well. Why not bundle all together in the one offer to start with. You can all ways email the person later down the track to offer things. I have bought a wso and the funnel had 3 upsells so I requested a refund. I would never buy anything off that person again.

    Just checked my Robert Plank Training folder and I have 6 of his products. I have been totally happy with all of them. You are never going to get a dud one.

    As I see it Robert and Lance have a great mentor and they have learnt off the mentor. The key here is they have implemented to the “T” what they were taught. This is where your success comes from. Implement. Consume 20% Produce 80%.
    I still have to get it right myself! 🙂

  8. Nat says:

    So much great value in this post. Love how simple you’ve made it Robert.

  9. John Antaya says:

    Found this to be a great post. It not only shows you what to do but when and where to do it along the way. This is a very good teaching post.
    Thank You

  10. Colin says:

    I bought Podcast Crusher for $7. This was my first introdution to your products based on an affiliate sales letter from a friend. I was like, what’s the hitch? I kept waiting for the sucker punch upsell and it never came. Instead there was an awesome step-by-step complete, valuable product for $7 (at product launch). I’ve been a fan ever since, and I have bought way more since then than I ever would have if I’d gotten that 3 step upsell BS. Thanks for this helpful explanation on upselling Robert.

  11. Great post Robert. I’ve seen the same thing: lots of people over-complicate things. I’m running a course now that is exactly like you described using case studies. I love your WWHW format- it’s a great way to teach. Everything you said in this post is pure gold.

  12. Hi Robert,

    Another great post where you clear away all of the clutter and get to the heart of what’s really required (as usual)

    With you on the poor teaching of splitting a product into three parts although I’m not too sure about the description of “good, better and best” as I find they usually translate as “poor, mediocre and passable”

    Also many of the people who purchase the initial offering don’t go on to buy the upsell(s) and so are left with a basic product that doesn’t really teach them anything at all which leads to them deciding never to make another purchase from that seller ever again, so a pretty stupid strategy considering all of the hard work and expense that went in just to get that initial sale ending up all for nothing.

    Hopefully the student’s results will show the teacher for the charlatan they really are and this practice will eventually cease (hopefully)

    Thanks again for a very insightful post


  13. Dr. Michael (The D.O.C.) says:


    You are a MACHINE!

    You gave several HUGE points that are very helpful in this post,
    that I hope everyone will utilize.

    – Avoiding Upsell Hell
    – Don’t use Pricing “Bait & Switch”
    – Don’t Fear of Entry Level Products
    – Don’t be afraid of selling “Moderate to High-Priced Products”
    and so, and so on…

    It’s funny that you provided this Post today, because it’s very timely for me.

    I’ve been working on my “Sales Funnel” (including the Up-sells/Down-sells),
    for the last 2 weeks and your post just warned us about people selling only
    “parts or incomplete products” in order to sell higher priced, “more complete”

    I refuse to trick people, because it’ happened to me, and I DON’T LIKE IT!
    I’ll take the high road, just as you have, and I know that my Clients/Customers
    will appreciate the VALUE and QUALITY that they receive from me.
    In return, we’ll have a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship” that will last over the long-term!

    Thanks for sharing of yourself and your talents!

    Dr. Michael (The D.O,C,)
    “Keep On, Keeping On…”

  14. Ron says:

    Excellent post Robert!

    I’ve seen several ‘make a product’ WSO’s that don’t even come close to being as good as this single post! Simple, logical and easy. I love it.

    Good luck with your talk.

  15. Robert, you convinced me to focus on growing my list of buyers. The money is definitely there (10x CTR on my mailings, for instance). Great article, I discovered a new Internet Marketer to follow (BTW I bought 3 products from you guys in the past 2 weeks).

  16. This is a great teaching post. A funnel with options is always a better funnel !
    Let’s keep things simple !

  17. Awesome points! Too many people are afraid of taking the “plunge” so the walk up pricing does work. I think its more of a psychological pricing point more than anything.

  18. Craig says:

    Podcastcrusher rules. One of my all time favorite courses

  19. Hi Robert,

    Great info and thanks. Surprised there haven’t been more comments yet.

    I’ve been using your products for around 18 months and have received some great advice in your training as well. Looking forward to what else you have in store for us.

    Thanks again,

  20. Ian Carter says:

    You’re bang on the nail here, Robert. I absolutely hate all these upsells, downsells, cross-sells, upside-downsells that just go on and on and on …
    What you’re teaching here is first-rate. I’m going to have to read it again and again …

  21. Excellent post – and a great point about upsells…I’ve actually thought about what upsell might be coming when I consider buying a new product, and that thought process actually makes me abandon the INITIAL purchase based on my prior experience with the subject or with the person or group doing the promotion.

    I’ll be implementing this strategy with my product launches – upsells will be related to, but not required for my products, and I’ll make sure that each product I promote is a standalone with nothing further needed – I’d rather do business that way!

  22. Holly Kolman says:

    Robert, this is such a breath of fresh air. If everyone created products and sold them this way, there would be a lot more successful people in this business. The model about the crippled front end is the way most people sell, and it is very unsatisfying.

  23. I bought (on Warriorforum) and use the Paper Template for a few day, but it convinced me. I think, You are a very creative people. 🙂
    “Looking forward to what else you have in store for us.”

  24. J Freeman says:

    Great content as always, I am glad I came across your information and knowledge last year. It has been a tremendous help to me.
    Thank you,
    James Freeman

  25. I’m still new to it all: But WOW that was a good read with lots an lots of meaning:

    May I learn more and become that bit better, I will I know I will.. More so when I get good well writing blogs like this one.

    Thank you Colin Jeffrey

  26. Lori Walker says:

    So true, so true … Robert, you made this sound so simple, but yet effective! This should be a “sticky” over at the Warrior Forum.

    I believe that following your blueprint here says a lot for those that want to over-deliver but yet do it with the intent of creating a long relationship with the person opting in.

    I will use this strategy in my next niche as I get ready to set up my website funnel –

  27. Patricia says:

    Robert, this post demonstrates vividly why I’m still on your email list (’cause I don’t stay on just anyone’s list!): quality content based on a foundation of deep integrity AND uncommonly good sense, succinctly stated.

    Thanks for a great little blueprint.

  28. This is great. Fits right in with MembershipCube which I’m enjoying tremendously.

  29. Wayne Brooks says:

    Great post. It’s like there’s this tendency to forget the natural behavior associated with the end-to-end buying process. Marketing is still about supply, demand, and solution delivery that satisfies the demand/need.

    Great to be reminded that good business fundamentals is foundational to everything that we do.

    Thanks again for a great post.


  30. Dan Martin says:

    Good post. I get ticked when I buy something that doesn’t satisfy the reason I purchased it. I don’t want an OTO followed buy another and then yet another. Now there are people on multiple forums pulling the same thing. I don’t like to ask for refunds, but enough is enough. I’m not really surprised when they argue about giving the refund when they haven’t delivered. I’ve yet to do a product launch. When I do it’ll be one that avoids that.

    I’ve got a few other quirks like autostart videos of undetermined length when I don’t even know the subject matter…

    Evidently, you pushed a button…

  31. Joshua says:

    Great post Robert everything is so true, I think we all spend to much time trying to make things perfect, before we no it we get board or frustrated and the next shiny object comes along and we start working on it. We can always sell to our list that upsell or what ever it may be but first you need to quit worrying and start hurrying to get that site up.
    Thanks again,
    Joshua Shoemaker

  32. Robert, I enjoy not only the products that you develop, but the insights and strategy discussed are tremendous, and well worth the association with you and your site!
    Thanks for the continued intellectual capital..

  33. jcb frc says:

    Very, very Good illustration & presentation.

  34. araxy says:

    Phew ! My head turned the first time i read the post 🙂 Had to read it again so that i can absorb the ‘subtle’ steps involved in there. At first it feels like a maze but then there’s a system to follow. Amazing insight. Thank you so much for sharing and not holding back on any information. You teach and you sell otherwise i’ll be duped into buying from the dishonest ‘gurus’.

  35. Lynn True says:

    Short, sweet, and to the point — that’s why I keep coming back. Thanks for all you’ve shared (and this goes for Lance, too) and please know that you are helping a lot of people. I still occasionally refer to the WP customizing videos I bought from you many years ago …

  36. Judy Jackson says:

    Once again you’ve hit it square on Robert. Love your “doesn’t have to be complicated” attitude.

  37. Jane says:

    Robert, you and Lance rock. I never feel scammed or pressured by you, I know that you’ll offer great content at great value and that you won’t hassle me if its not the right time for me to buy. I was introduced to you via a referral link for Podcast Crusher, I couldn’t believe it was only $7 and I almost didn’t buy it because I thought there must be a catch. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m gradually building my online business and fubpnds are tight as I havent created my product yet, so I have appreciated your approach to online marketing and upselling. This is a great post, but then it’s only what we have come to expect from you!
    Thanks 🙂

  38. Garth says:


    Another of your great posts…consistent with the standards I have come to expect from you. Everything I receive from you demonstrates yet again that you not only talk the talk, you walk the walk.

    Yes, I sometimes need to come up to speed on some of the underlying fundamentals to put what you offer into use, but once I have that, I find you left nothing out.

    I appreciate you…what principles you represent…and what you deliver.

    Garth Anderson

  39. Gregg says:

    Robert, terrific insights into the disturbing trend of “crippled front-end offers”.
    I think this is something that really needed to be addressed, as I personally have recently changed my IM related purchase decisions and buying behavior because of this precise reason.

    I have bought a product or two just because the sales letter says there is NO OTO. There are probably many that feel the same way I imagine… and as you so clearly pointed out that it’s not the end of the world just yet as they are more importantly on our buyers list.

    I also wanted to echo Dr. Michael’s summary:
    – Avoiding Upsell Hell
    – Don’t use Pricing “Bait & Switch”
    – Don’t Fear of Entry Level Products
    – Don’t be afraid of selling “Moderate to High-Priced Products”

    Maybe this will trend and front-end products will improve and the OTO will lead the buyer, if ready, into the next logical step. We can only hope more heed your sage advice 🙂

  40. Steven Sanchez says:

    I really like the “sideways sell” of offering a similarly priced, “logical” product after or while buying a similar product. It avoids the feeling like I was roped into a bigger commitment with a low-cost “bait” product, but offers me something at the similar level to where my buying threshhold is, softly introduces me to other products you have that I’m probably interested in , and keeps your integrity intact. Probably why I’ve bought so many of your products, Robert!

  41. Les Raketti says:

    Great Post – Definitely worth saving. I really like the way you outlined the thought process in terms that is considerate to the buyer. Thanks!

  42. Jeff says:

    Robert, you make enough major points to get yourself appointed Internet Ethics Police Chief and University Chancellor all at the same time.

    Nothing I hate more than making a purchase, only to discover seconds later that I only bought half a product and need to buy the other half too. This comes before I even have a chance to decide if the first half is worthless garbage or the real deal.
    All these ploys are an even bigger pain when you’re a senior living on a fixed income and not rolling in dough to begin with.

    I’ve had ClickBank vendors hit me with 5 or 6 upsells. I immediately requested a refund before even seeing the original product.

  43. tom armstrong says:

    Too bad the “gurus” who are doing the ridiculous OTO b.s. won’t see your post. Pretty much, if I think that a product is incomplete at the basic level and an upsell or OTO is needed to get decent value, I don’t buy. Recently, a well known “guru” that we all know, with initials RD, offered an affiliate product on financial trading. There were 5 upsells! He got a very nasty email from me about that c _ _ p.

    And I unsubscribed.

    If more people let the product developer know what they think of oto after oto, and started pulling off lists, maybe even getting refunds, maybe the message will get through.

  44. Laurie Mills says:

    Hi Robert,

    Great post, very true in all aspects.

    I’ve got to the point that most blind sales funnels, no item name or owner’s name just get closed as quite a lot of them have previously been looked at one way or another.
    You are right in that the continual up-sell drives you nuts and it gets to the point that you get to know the worst offenders and you don’t even bother anymore.

    If the sales funnels gave you the complete offer with the choice of which you wish to obtain, I think that this would get them more sales or downloads!

    And another thing, some of these people start to hit you with anything up to a dozen different sales offers daily, all you seem to do some days is waste time with them and eventually unsubscribing from their list/s.

  45. Hi Roger,

    I agree with you in offering complimentary products as the OTO and never as a required purchase to get additional features. The next logical step you mention is the smartest approach IMO.

    Keep the good work!

    Best Wishes,

  46. Byrt says:

    So many nuggets and so rich with common sense. But then again, ‘common sense’ is really not that common is it?

    Your Step #1: “Get Over It!” and Step #2: “Walk the Price Up” are just precious golden aha moments for me….and because you are someone who lives what he teaches and teaches what he lives by, I am paying massive attention Robert!

    Sydney AUS

  47. bruce says:

    they may work but I HATE upsales!

  48. Robert
    WOW when I was reading your post i thought you was reading my mind,
    when I see a offer on the worrier’s forum I always want to know what the OTO is
    it would make more sense to list the OTO and and give me the option to choose to skip the lower price point and pay only once.

  49. When someone has already bought from you, that is the best time; immediately after, to offer them the option of more.

    When you teach your students to do something and they do it, then a relationship begins to form and your student begins to count on you for the next step.

    You can teach them for free. Then offer them an upsell to the next level.

    Among online activities, searches are the number one initiator of conversations.

    When conversations involving brands are informed by search, they are 25% more credible and 17% more likely to lead to purchases than conversations informed by social media.

    Stories keep the brain from rationally analyzing and keeps the brain emotionally engaged.

    Don’t just throw knowledge at people. Direct them so they can feel involved.

    Personal access to a mentor or coach is a hot commodity; people need help to achieve their plans, and many people like to follow a leader.

    Just some food for thought.


  50. I have been following you for several years now Robert and you have always been a straight up guy. This post is right on the money and will save me a lot of money also. Thank you for everything.

    Willie House-Bey
    United States

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