My wife and I were recently having our first weekend away without the kids in four years. We travelled to Sydney and decided to head to the markets, something we did regularly when we lived there. As we were going through the lanes filled with tourists and spruiking shop keepers, I thought it appropriate to indulge my wife in a quick impromptu back and neck massage. I’d seen the chinese masseuses there every year, but had never decided to take them up on the massage offer. On this occasion, rather than politely waving my hand and shaking my head with a “no”, I said “why not?” ”Honey, $17 let’s both get our necks, back and shoulders done – my treat.” They gently ushered us both behind the white curtains and we rested ourselves on the two benches, our heads pushed through a tissue lined hole for our faces. ”Ah, that’s good” I thought, my tension becoming less and less with every squeeze. ”I bet Melinda’s loving this”. From the neck, the lady moved to my shoulders. They had told us that the $17 would equal about 15 minutes. Ever so slightly after about 5 minutes, I felt someone else take over. They moved to my lower back, then gently onto my buttocks, then onto my upper legs. For a brief second I thought Melinda was playing a joke on me by taking over the massage, and our time was up. But then some black hair dropped into my ear and a very close voice whispered, “Your hips and legs are in a very bad way, you need to fix this immediately or you will have trouble as you get older, for extra $20 I do your hips and legs as well as your back, yes?” Creeped out to the max, I politely passed. The breath came back into my ear 30 seconds later, “you really need this it’s very bad”. ”No thanks” again. ”For just $15 dollars I do your hips and legs, total $32, yes? I’ll start” – “No, thanks. The original $17 is fine, thank you”. Believe it or not this conversation happened a total of 5 times. Our massages were finished in less than 10 minutes and I knew I was going to be in trouble if Melinda had the same experience. I paid. ”Well, that was an experience” Melinda said before adding when we were out of ear shot “he just kept asking to upgrade me to hips and legs and I said no, like 10 times, but he kept asking”. Yes, it seemed she had the same experience as me. Neither of us could enjoy the massage as we were being upsold all the way through it. Clearly this is the ploy from the start. It’s no different to asking for fries with your burger or enticing a customer with some jeans to go with the shirt their holding, right? Wrong. A massage is supposed to be relaxing, tension releasing, pampering. Not an inquisition. It got me thinking about how our combined $34 had turned into such a focal point for the rest of our stay and how much we would be telling people not to have massages at markets. Then I thought, what sort of upsizing or upselling is not appropriate? It’s when your client clearly does not want it. Ask once and you’re being diligent, ask again and you’re becoming annoying. Ask a third time and not only will you most likely not get this person’s business again, you may not get their friends and family business either. Upselling and upsizing has been around for decades and in a lot of companies results are even rewarded for staff who are successful. Here are the two questions I would have the staff ask themselves before asking the customer for an upgrade;
1. Will this person benefit from the upgrade?
2. Does it suit the product or service they have just purchased or enquired about purchasing?
If the answer is no, do not ask. If the customer says “no” because you have asked, respect that response and move on.