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This involves getting a “foot in the door,” generally by offering a low price, and then charging extra for essential elements (e.g., offering a product without shipping, eye glasses without scratch guard, software without support, car without warranty, and so on). The negotiation relationship explains why this deal tactic works. Sellers know that a buyer has no investment in the relationship until they’ve spent time evaluating the initial offer. A base price is quoted to gain interest and that investment of time, then necessary accessories are added on to upsell and ask the buyer to give more. Since the buyer is already committed to the base deal, they tend to value the consistency and feel-good vibes of accepting and are therefore open to upsells. The seller plays on the momentum of acceptance. This tactic is often used in retail.


For example, “Do you want fries with that?” is the typical refrain after one sells a burger. Another example: “The basic mobile package only includes email, but not web surfing,” or, “If you want the car within five weeks, we will add an expedited delivery charge.” The time, place, and manner of the deal drive cost. Add-ons can increase the value to the buyer or skew their budget.


You must handle this tactic prior to the interaction for maximum potency. Know what you want and ask for a quote on that. Kennedy suggests knowledge and full disclosure at the outset of the pricing model prior to the delivery of a buying signal[i]. So, ask for the cost of a “full meal deal” from the very beginning. Only then can you decide on the value by disaggregation.

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