Get UNSTUCK by Pat Flynn

A Tale of Two Upsells

published2 months ago
7 min read

Hi, it’s Pat! 👋

Pro tip: become a conscious content consumer.

A conscious content consumer is one who tries to understand not just what they are reading, but why.

  • Why did the author or podcaster say that?
  • Why does the sales page start with that imagery?
  • Why does the YouTuber insert b-roll in that moment?

When you begin to read, listen, or watch with the wonder of intent, you can learn and apply those things for yourself.

No, we’re not talking about copying, but rather asking ourselves: why did that work for me?

Or rather, why didn’t it?

In this newsletter, I’ll be sharing something important I learned by being a conscious content consumer.

When you become a CCC, you see see see.

(Okay, that wasn’t great, but work with me here.) Read on, and let’s get unstuck!


“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”

— Douglas Adams


This may sound weird but, in the summer of 2010, I was in the market for a course about…


Yes — punting, like in the National Football League (NFL).

You see, my friends were in an adult flag football league and they needed a kicker. They knew that I used to play competitive soccer and that I’d probably not be fit for any other position on the team.

They were right, and I was in.

After one practice, it was clear that although I had a strong leg, I had no idea how to punt a ball that wasn’t perfectly round.

So, as we often do, I looked to Google for help. One quick search later, and 5 different courses showed up that I could buy. After clicking around, I found 2 that seemed promising. I forgot the names, but that’s not important. For now, let’s call them course #1 and course #2.

(Note: both courses were promoted as “Downloadable instructional DVDs.” Online course platforms weren’t prominent like they are today, and that’s the language they used to relate to their buyers. Yeah — this was that long ago.)

Course #1

Course #1 had an ex-professional NFL punter on their homepage along with a lot of language you would expect for training like this:

  • Are you tired of punting footballs that go nowhere?
  • How would you like to have rifle-precision aim with your foot?
  • Do you want to be the hero of your team when the game is on the line?

These are all really good because everyone knows that the kicker can absolutely be the hero of the story, or the one everyone blames if the kick doesn’t go where it’s supposed to.

Anyway, I was intrigued enough to click “buy now for $29.95.” Immediately, I was offered an upsell. For an additional $29.95, I could get the actual DVDs sent to my home — this way I could watch the lessons on my DVD player, too.

I decided to decline, only to be asked if I wanted another upsell, a special ball that came with special markings on it for just $49.95 more.

After declining that, I was again offered another upsell for a “kicker’s playbook,” which I also immediately declined.

There were four or five other things, at which point I stopped and asked myself: what are they doing here, and how does this make me feel?

Well, it should be pretty obvious: they were trying to squeeze as much money as they could get out of me and I was getting frustrated. All I wanted to do was check out and watch the downloadable training videos.

As such, I left the website.

Course #2

The second course had a similar approach to the first, however, instead of an ex-professional punter, it was an ex-college punter who had become a specialized punting coach, mostly for high school and college students.

There were testimonials closer to the top of the website that were from ex-students, some who ended up going pro, which definitely caught my attention.

The same attention-grabbing one-liners were there about punting more confidently and becoming the hero of my team, but I was most curious to see if this checkout experience was going to be any different.

The price was $49.95 and after adding it to my cart and clicking to check out, I eventually got through the entire process and paid without any upsells at all.


I immediately went to my email to go get the download link, and I noticed a little P.S. at the bottom of the email:

P.S. If you’re not a fan or have trouble with the downloadable link, hit reply and let me know. We do have DVDs we can sell you, but maybe we can help you out first.

WOW. I loved this. It seemed personal and actually coming from a place of service.


Over the next week, I spent about 30 minutes to an hour each day practicing what I was learning from these videos and, I’m pleased to say, it was working. I could kick further, straighter, and I even learned how to spiral the ball coming off my foot.

Exactly a week after my purchase, I received another email from my instructor checking up on me to see how I was doing.

As a CCC, I knew this was an automated email, but I was curious to see its purpose and what, if any, call to actions there would be:

“I know you’ve been making progress with your punting over the last week. You can probably punt more accurately and further than you ever have before.

You’ve now unlocked LEVEL ONE of punting.

I’m not sure how far you want to go with this, but if you want to be a part of an elite group of punters in your division, there’s definitely more training to go through. Here’s the truth:

You can’t be a top athlete simply from an instructional DVD course. You have to learn in person from the best to be the best. “

First, I was only in this for my friends’ casual-competitive flag football team, but in the moment I remember wondering if I really could take this even further.

I was quick to brush off those thoughts, but I was honestly impressed with all parts of this message, down to how he used the word “division,” which pertains to all levels of football, from pee-wee to pro.

Second, he let me get some small, quick wins first and then, after proving himself, offered more if I wanted it.

The pitch was for an in-person kicker’s camp that cost a few hundred dollars. I wasn’t interested in the camp, but I was definitely interested to see what his conversions were because it was the perfect way to set up an upsell.

If I hadn’t done the training in the videos, then I probably wasn’t right for the camp anyway.

He upserved when it made sense, and that’s the biggest lesson I took from this as a CCC.

Don’t upsell. Upserve.

I’ve taken that with me ever since.

Your Call to Action

Think about your customer journey. Whether you sell or not, every moment becomes an opportunity to upserve.

Also, think about the quick wins, if any, you’re offering to your people. Have they had a chance to experience a quick win yet because you go and ask them to do the next thing too quickly?

Upserve, and you’ll experience incredible success because as I always say, your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience.

You got this.


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We work hard at SPI to remain unstuck and consistently provide you with the latest news, trends, and events to support your businesses. Check it out:

  1. Setting new goals can be a yearly tradition for many people. When you set yours, do you think about every aspect of your life rather than just focusing on your business goals? Here is a 6-step holistic process to help you think about setting this year’s goals differently.
  2. New monthly workshops are another way to grow your skills within the All-Access Pass. Become a member today and join SPI’s Community Manager, Ashley LaGrow, on January 25th for Social Media 101. Learn the basics of the most popular social media platforms, what the best organic practices are for each one, and begin creating your own effective social media plan. Sign-up today!
  3. Churn is one of the biggest issues we hear about from other community builders, and many have accepted it as part of doing business. But with simple tools and strategies to increase engagement and retention, churn no longer has to be an issue. On The Community Experience podcast, we explore this with guest Casey Hill, head of growth at Bonjoro, where they help brands create personalized videos to help them stand out to their customers, build trust, and make sales. Subscribe and listen!


I just saw 10 ants frantically running around my kitchen. I felt bad, so I built them a small house.

Now I’m their landlord and I collect rent from my tenants.