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Dangling the Carrot
How to properly upsell

There is a very prestigious private school just down the road from my house. It’s rated the top school in the province. However, for a child to attend, they must get on a waiting list for a year or two, and then — once accepted –the parent must proceed to pay with an arm and a leg.

At this private school, elementary grade tuition costs are comparable to that of a university. And high school tuition is comparable to that of an Ivy League university… Nevertheless, the opportunity, and ‘life preparation’ this school provides children with has been well-documented, so parents shell out the money to get their kids in.

We have begun to entertain the idea of putting our son into a private school when he is of age. However, we have to be realistic given how expensive some of them can be, particularly the one down the road from our house. For the sake of convenience, there is a big attraction in sending Logan there. And the reputation of the school certainly sells. But is it really worth forking out a couple hundred thousand dollars for years K-12?

Doubt it. So I wrote the school off and started looking elsewhere.

But then… the carrot was dangled.

Evidently I wasn’t the only parent in this particular conundrum of wanting to send my kid to this school…

In light of this, the school is now offering all-day kindergarten for a few hundred dollars a month –  genius marketing strategy by the administration if you ask me.

For anyone on the fence, like me, you can test the waters, so to speak, with an affordable year of kindergarten for your child at the best school in the province. (all-day kindergarten, I might add, which is a huge plus compared to other schools that only provide half days)

Once you agree to sign your child up for kindergarten at this very attractive price, and you’ve gone through the waiting list period, you’re in. And now the school has an entire year to convince you — the parent — why shelling out several thousand dollars a year for the next decade or so is money well spent. Not only that, but it’s going to be tough on your child to have to switch schools if you opt to pull them out for grade one… shrewd marketing strategy.

Apparently this offer became available in January; and already I’ve heard there is a two year waiting list for kindergarten…


Build Rapport Before Selling the Premium Product

The moral of the story here: If you sell an ultra high-end product line and want to increase revenue, but are worried about offering a cheaper product because it may tarnish the prestige of your brand, don’t fret. Your brand won’t be tarnished in the slightest if you properly offer an affordable, entry-level product.

For high-end brands, offering an entry-level product for the majority is critical in our evolving global economy as it provides a path for anyone on the fence to test the waters. There’s a reason luxury car manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes and BMW now sell models for less than the price of a nice Toyota. It’s called building loyalty for the upsell later. This strategy has been successfully used for years by the world’s most prestigious banks, watchmakers and technology companies.

Give consumers a taste of just how good it can be with your brand or product. Successfully do this and they’ll likely spend the extra cash on your premium item down the road, as opposed to the cheaper competition. You can find lifelong customers of your most expensive items by implementing this strategy. It’s called building your pipeline.

And just remember, your customer’s earning potential (and purchasing power) grows as they age. They may not be able to afford your ultra high-end product right now, but that could, and likely will, change. Banks refer to this purchasing power evolution as ‘borrowers to savers to investors’. If you think about it from the private school’s perspective it works perfectly. Parents with kindergarten-aged children are often in their late-twenties to early-thirties, which is just a few years away from starting their peak earning stage in life – perfectly timed to shell out the astronomical cost of tuition for those later grades…

Get the customer in the door by dangling that carrot. This will enable you to earn their trust and build brand loyalty for your ultra high-end product sale down the road.

Stay hungry,
Aaron Hoddinott signature