Downselling guide

We have “Downselling” – just like the upselling strategy in marketing which is deployed to help you increase your average cart order value and at the same time render the best of your products to your customers.

Downselling is a sales technique where you offer an alternative to the primary upsell by offering a more budget-friendly or more convenient buying option to your customers after they must have rejected or declined the upsell.

Without giving it a second thought…

…we all know that upselling is one of the easier (if not the easiest) ways to put more money into your bank account.

And at the same time serve your customers/clients at the highest possible level.

In fact, the stats have it that:

  • Upsells are 68% more affordable than acquiring a brand-new customer
  • Upselling increases revenue by 10-30% on average
  • 70-95% of revenue comes from upsells and renewals on average for a business who offer them

As consumers and as marketers that we are… we see upselling in action every day of our lives.

And we unconsciously fall into the trap always because we have needs to be met.

The same goes for your target avatar.

From buying an item on Amazon, shopping at the mall, placing an order at MacDonald’s, enrolling in an online program, and even subscribing to marketing software…

It’s everywhere we go.

But what about Downselling and why is it so important?

Why is Downselling Important?

To some, seeing a reduction in price or a slight change of offer to suit the atmosphere causes a negative impression about a brand or doubt in the authenticity of a product.

While that could be true in some cases.

It’s your call as a business owner to study your audience and present the right downsells to people you think aren’t fit at the moment for your core offer.

In a bit, we’re going look into how to make a down-sell less annoying, less aggressive, and suitable at the right timing.

That said…

Let’s take a look at the benefits and why downselling is important:

#1. You Win More Customers by Downselling

The ultimate goal of downselling is to get those customers who didn’t buy or aren’t ready to buy, into the door in the first place.

Making you gain an opportunity to do business with them in the future.

Just as the probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70% (According to the authors of Marketing Metrics), while the probability of qualifying and selling to new prospects is 5-20% – it pays a lot more to convert visitors already in your sales funnel or pipeline with your low ticket offers.

And downselling is a way to get some (low ticket) return for your marketing efforts.

Even if it means acquiring leads. It’s worth it.

When in your sales pipeline, you can nurture them further and have them buy your higher tier offers along their journey.

Let’s take for example:

Kartra – one of my favorite marketing platforms. A sales funnel builder.

Normally the software starts from $99/mo and offers a $1 14days trial. But not everyone who visits the Kartra homepage would take the plunge.

Kartra team knew this.

So, they implemented exit-intent popup on the page to give away this:

The goal behind this is simple: Collect leads. Build a relationship and sell Kartra software.

Technically, this isn’t a downsell. But a way to give value to those who haven’t made up their mind yet or not convinced enough.

As you would see below, the next page is where you download your PDF (although you’ll still get a download link in your inbox).

Showing you all of the inbuilt done-for-you campaigns that come with Kartra:

You see all the available 31 campaigns and what they help users achieve (as you scroll down the page).

From there, I began getting some really exciting and engaging emails from Andy Jenkins (Kartra co-founder) every now and then.

He shared some transforming stories around Kartra, invited me into the Kartra group, and so on…

I ended up signing up for Kartra $1 trial.

Had it been there was no way to capture my email address during my exit – Probably, I would never have signed up for Kartra trial.

Just by offering lead magnets on exits, Kartra is constantly winning more customers this way.

#2. Downselling Boosts Conversions

One common objection that falls in the way of many consumers is the price.

Price factor.

Fair enough, downselling gives you leverage to offer reasonable and considerable pricing options so they could be able to afford it. No matter what.

I will show you (soon) some typical examples where marketers successfully boosted their sales conversions by offering timely discounts, payment options, and trial periods.

While pricing your services or products higher always yields a better profit margin – downselling the right way helps you close a sale faster…

…even when the customer can’t afford to pay for the high-ticket item at that moment.

Isn’t that more favorable than no sales at all?

Half bread is always better than none. If you ask me.

#3. Downselling Builds Trust and Deeper Relationships

Looking at from another angle.

Downselling, like upselling, focuses on helping your customers win in their daily life and business.

These aren’t just sales tactics aimed at persuading customers to purchase a more expensive or inexpensive version of your item.


It’s customer happiness and value-driven strategy.

You’ll agree with me that having a product that caters to your target customer isn’t enough to break the ceiling.

Apart from knowing where they congregate and having the right messages that resonate.

Nothing builds more brand loyalty and trust than understanding and showing your customers you care about their budget constraints.

No. Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t mean slashing your price is the better route.

No business owner plans to run into a loss. I never prayed to.

However, introducing a lower-priced item, different payment plans, or trial period alternatives are ways to remain fair without selling your kidney to please prospects.

6 Downselling Best Practices (With Examples)

Like I said earlier, down selling done wrong can leave you in pain.

As effective as it might be – there are a few mistakes you should avoid at all costs when applying this technique.

Even though there might not be enough downsell ideas and examples on the internet.

The below down selling best practices will give you a headstart on how it works and what to avoid:

#1. Don’t Introduce Your Downsells Too Early

This is huge.

Introducing your downsell offer too early within your sales pipeline can confuse your potential customers which might cause you to lose a lot of them.

Neither do you need to target everyone with your downsells.

Let’s take for instance:

You visited an online store that sells necklaces. After browsing through the various category pages based on different necklace brands and checking out a few with its pricing.

Spending a total of 1 minute, 30 seconds on the site.

Then you decide to open another browser tab, check your email, or do something else.

On your exit point, you immediately got an exit intent pop up downselling you on a 50% discount on a necklace that costs $450. Without any justifiable reason at least.

What would be your first thought?

Isn’t that fishy, desperate, too early, or [insert your feeling here]?

To some that could seem like a no-brainer. But to most – they’d rather prefer to give it a second thought.

Despite the fact that you NEVER spent up to 2 minutes on the site, yet to add that necklace to cart and also still in the buying process…

…Personally, that discount offer won’t do much to help with conversions BUT get me confused and could make me decline to buy any necklace from that store.

Two costly mistakes up there:

  • Slashing the price (massively)
  • Showing the discount at the wrong time

It could be a smart move having a pop for every new visitors like this (not downselling):

For new visitors of to opt-in to get a 10% off discount for necklaces on their birthdays. Doesn’t that make sense?

Again, you get leads and win more customers down the line this way.

#2. Use Smart Exit Intent Pop-ups

Exit-intent popups have their places.


I use them all the time. But not on every of my webpage neither do need to show them to everyone.

I use exit intents mainly for collecting emails and sending traffic to specific offers.

It can be used for showing discounts (like the above example), extending trial periods, countdown timer on offers, etc.

Exit pop-ups with discounts are popular downselling techniques.

But there’s more to it.

When implementing this type of technique, you have to ensure that you target visitors who seem to be truly interested in a product.

Unlike our instance above where the pop-up had shown at the wrong time.

Here is what could have been done instead:

Let your exit intent pop-up only show to visitors who spend a significant amount of time on your site, checked and clicked on some areas.

On a more targeted level – you can also show your discount to those who have added an item in their cart and on their way to the exit door.

Configuring these conditions before displaying your downsell presumably suggests that they are interested in making a purchase.

They’ve already spent enough time studying around and performing some actions.

Doesn’t this make sense than just downselling each and every visitor that comes around?

#3. Avoid Slashing Price off The Original Product

Remember the intent behind offering downsells?

One thing you should always bear in mind is that down selling comes in, NOT as the main offer. But rather an offer for prospects who are unable to afford your upsell.

Avoid ridiculous price slashing just to offer your services or product at a cheaper rate.

Not only will you be losing some atom (or molecule) of trust and cred from your audience.

It could lead to a bad buying behavior – undervaluing your products which would compromise your brand in the future.

For instance:

When a customer is convinced that there will always be downsell anytime they say NO, then they will always say NO to every one of your offers.

Don’t be surprised, humans are wired this way.

And you know they crazy part?

Savvy customers would keep coming back ONLY to get your discount. When they can’t find it. They’ll leave and probably never come back.

So, what should you do instead?

Introduce and offer lower-cost packages. Which must be significantly different in some way, justifying the lower price.

Let’s take the necklace store as an example:

You can offer a cheaper necklace with a similar design or another type of necklace from the same brand that is priced lower.

Or the same necklace without the pendants.

Another typical example is offering a silver type of material. If the main offer is a gold one.

Do you get the point?

The next practices focus on other ways to employ in offering downsells.

#4. Creating Value Packages

Creating value packages helps prevent you from slashing your price for more sales.

Works incredibly well for membership products or services based businesses.

Let’s take for example:

If you’re a gym owner trying to upsell a premium annual membership to customers who aren’t subscribed yet, some of them might probably not want a yearly membership due to the cost or one reason or the other.

This is where having a downsell membership offer comes in.

You simply create a value package or series of them.

A perfect downsell for your gym membership would be offering a 90-day membership.

Here you win didn’t just win a customer by giving them an alternative.

You won a long-term customer. And giving them access to all the benefits your subscribed members do get during their short 90 days membership – they could be tempted to upgrade to keep the enjoying the benefits.

Taking this a step further, you could even have a second downsell to a 30-day membership.

Does that make sense?

You can experiment with this technique in whatever industry you are in.

  • Consultations/Coaching
  • Software

Just by removing or limiting certain features and customize it to be more budget-friendly for customers.

A real-life downsell example of value packages:

Some months ago I placed an order of Dean Graziosi’s Underdog Advantage book. After checking out – as expected – there were multiple upsell offers.

In one of the upsells within the book funnel – there was an offer to enroll in the 1-year inner circle monthly live coaching. Accompanied by some courses.

As you can see joining from this upsell page comes with a 88% discount. Costs $197.

There are two options on this page:

  • Upgrade and add this offer to my book purchase
  • Or reject and proceed to the “Thank You” page

Not interested so I chose to reject the upsell. Guess what?

Here is what popped up:

Downsell offer example

This is a downsell splitting the payment into 3 of $69 each. Instead of a one-off $197.

An awesome strategy isn’t it?

#5. Creating Payment Plans

Offering flexible payment plans and options is particularly important when selling online.

Especially if you’re selling high ticket items. Or selling to a wider audience with a diverse standard of living.

Providing an option to make people pay for your products in installments can make it more affordable, and even helps increase your revenue.

This breaks the barrier of “unable to afford now”.

It’s kind of similar to creating value packages.

Looking at another downsell real-world example:

During my participation in the launch of Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins Knowledge Broker Blueprint 2.0 course – I witnessed the creation of value packages/payment plans for those who couldn’t afford the expensive course.

The KBB course originally costs $1997. But there is also a payment plan where those interested could do 4 payment plans of $597.

First, the live training was done (by Dean, Tony, Russell Brunson, and Jenner Kutcher) which sold people on the main offer on the launch date.

Obviously, not everyone bought into the offer.

Being a yearly launch that lasted for about one month or so. They remarketed to everyone who didn’t buy in during the live presentation.

And part of their strategy was down selling by offering a third payment plan.

They introduced an 8 pay option. $299 per payment.

Here’s a part of the email sent for this timely offer:

Downselling example KBB

But only for a limited time.

And guess what? Lots of people took on the offer.

How did I know? You ask…

I belong to the KBB partner group and I was lucky enough to make 2 sales as an affiliate from the downsell offer.

#6. Sending Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment is one untamed enemy hurting conversions.

Anyone involved in eCommerce would relate to this. As CrazyEgg would put it in their Cart abandonment guide:

Shopping cart abandonment is a phantom-like killer that is as elusive as the Gray Man, as annoying as “Call Me Maybe”, and as unshakable as a bad case of caffeine craving.

A study conducted by Baymard Institute found that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63%.

From this statistic, clearly you can see that roughly seven out of every 10 shoppers (not visitors) won’t complete their transactions.

What does this have to do with downselling you ask?

Stay with me a little longer to find out.

Going further, I went on to research the possible reasons why people abandon their cart during a buying process.

I came across so many reasons, like:

  • High and unexpected extra charges during checkout
  • Having to register
  • Payment security challenges
  • Confusing checkout
  • Unsupported or lack of payment options

And lots more…

After looking deeply into all the above factors, I discovered that the most consequential of them all is when customers are being presented with higher or unexpected costs.

Like shipping etc.

Don’t take my word for it.

Being presented with unexpected costs is the biggest reason why people abandon their shopping carts – according to WorldPay.

So, how do you follow them up, break this barrier, to convert abandoned carts into actual purchases?

Since you’ve already got their details it’s nothing too complicated order than downselling, by offering a time-sensitive discount to their original order.

Another example of downselling via Cart abandonment:

Some months ago I wanted to buy Astra Theme & Pro Addon for one of my new WordPress sites.

Since I already had an account with BrainStormForce (parent company of Astra Theme) and had bought one of their products previously (Schema PRO) – it was easy adding a sister product to cart.

I added Astra Theme to the cart from my BrainStormForce account but didn’t complete my order.

I got automated cart abandonment emails (from Sujay – Astra CEO). The day I left the cart, the day after, then followed by the downsell discount emails.

The first two emails were asking me to complete my order.

Here’s what the second email looked like:

The third email which is being sent on the third day after I abandoned cart was a timely discounted offer.

Take a look:

Downsell example Astra

Final Thoughts…

Are you new to implementing and using downsells within your pages and funnels?

You now have some of the most downselling tips, ideas, things to avoid, and real-life examples to help you get started now. In your industry.

Having an extra offer or page beneath your upsell can help your conversion rates positively and put more money into your bank.

It’s not even about the money.

But the customer acquired, problems you’d be solving, relationships, and trust built are much more likely to EXPLODE your business than the monetary gain attached.

I hope you took one or two things away from this downselling guide?

Let me know in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *