A $300 Infomercial Marketing Lesson for Free!

For the first time ever, I bought a product being sold on an infomercial.


Was sitting there in front of the TV with my wife as Jack Lalanne demonstrated the merits of his Power Juicer.

Now, I’m kinda hip to marketing. So I know a little bit about what to expect in an infomercial.

But it was hilarious to watch my wife’s response as they went from 4 payments of $49.95 to 3 payments… and then all the way down to 2 payments.

My wife literally blurted out, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

At that point, she was totally sold. They’d created so much value… and made the offer so compelling… it was literally a “no-brainer.”

Since I try to be a good husband, I picked up the phone and called the 800-number to place an order.

And like I said, I know a little bit about marketing, so I expected a few additional offers after ordering the Power Juicer. But I did not fully appreciate just how many offers to expect.

I’ll share the entire offer funnel in a minute. But first, let me share with you what I think may be the most valuable lesson here:

They asked for my name and credit card number immediately. They didn’t even ask why I was calling or anything. Just:

  1. “What’s your first name?”
  2. “What’s your last name?”
  3. “Okay, Mr. Healy, would you like to use a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express?”
  4. “What’s your credit card number?”
  5. “What’s the expiration?”

Only after they’d captured all my payment info, billing address, and shipping address did they even mention the Power Juicer.

You see, the sale was assumed from the moment I said hello.

The quickest way to kill a sale is to keep on jabbering after a person has already decided to buy. And that’s why the sales folks didn’t waste any time capturing my credit card info.

This actually serves two purposes.

First, it practically guarantees the initial sale.

Second, it makes it super-easy for the buyer to say “yes” to all the successive offers.

And that’s when the real fun begins. :-)

Below you’ll find every single step that the telemarketer ran me through. I probably got to see more of the offer funnel because I said “no” on a number of things. Some people may get fewer offers… and some people may get more.

Step 1: Confirm order for the Power Juicer for 2 payments of $49.95 + S&H

Step 2: Offer to upgrade to a better model of the Power Juicer

Step 3: Chance to buy refurbished Power Juicers at a discount

Step 4: Upgrade to 6-yr. warranty

Step 5: Upgrade to 3-yr. warranty

Step 6: Accessory pack with glass stand, cleaning brush, and pitcher

Step 7: Jack Lalanne’s book Live Young Forever

Step 8: Jack Lalanne’s recipe book for how to use the leftover pulp in muffins, breads, etc.

[Upsell funnel pauses here as agent processes my order.]

Step 9: A free $15 gas card to speak with an accident insurance agent

Step 10: A free 2-day trip to the Bahamas (an agent will “answer your questions”)

Step 11: A free $25 gift card to Wal-Mart with 3 free magazine subscriptions

Let me tell you, that is a LOT of steps! I was on the phone for nearly 30 minutes. And when all was said and done, I had spent just over $300, including shipping.

What I found particularly interesting were the last three upsells. These were free gifts being offered as incentives by different companies. And I’m sure that the company selling the Power Juicers gets paid a flat fee per lead that they refer out to these other companies.

I said no to each offer because I didn’t want to be submitted to a second “sales gauntlet.” But I’m sure they get a lot of takers.

I mean just look at the last offer. They’re paying you $25 to accept three free magazine subscriptions! Seems kinda weird. But the company that’s trying to generate leads must really know its numbers.

For instance, the magazines themselves might pay for each new subscriber… even if he’s not “paid up”… because they can then justify or increase their ad rates based on higher circulation.

It’s all very interesting.

One thing I took away from the experience is that a multi-step upsell process works.

Another thing I took away is the idea of offering affiliate products at the end of your offer funnel — even if you’ve already walked through all the products you have to sell.

Bottom line: You can pick up a lot of good marketing ideas just from watching infomercials. You can pick up even more when you decide to actually order something. (Just take good notes during the sales process!)

-Ryan M. Healy

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Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter, list manager, and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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