We have run down the infomercial once before. We explained that they are both information and a commercial - and both info and pitch are about a product - implying how this product will benefit you, the consumer.

We talked about it being highly formatted and psychologically tested to get into your mind and emotions. Well - there is more going on. There are almost always FOUR OTHER WAYS an infomercial goes after your money. We will run those down now to give you a fighting chance.

Most of these methods start after they have captured your emotions and hooked you into the sale. Of course - these methods are not exclusive to the infomercial. They can be found in other sales venues - say, an automobile agency or used car lot. Publishing these methods is not to stop you from buying - just to make you aware of what to expect when you are up against a salesman of any sort.


1. The Up-sale

Okay - you bit on the message and really want the product. You call the 800 number where “operators are waiting for your call.” You give your special code for Model X widget. The operator gets your information (closes the sale) and then mentions that what you are buying is the “Silver Edition” of the product. For only $XXX more - you can get the “GOLD Edition” which is a deluxe edition of the Model X widget.

You are already there - you are ready to buy - why not go for the “Gold?” It’s only $XXX more - and it’s going on your card anyway - do it.

That is the pitch and what they plan on is sometimes up to 50% or more of the buyers will upgrade. A $10 sale can double or triple - or ...? and it is still only one sale for them.

Now - this could really be a good deal for you. But what I am saying - don’t get caught up in the buying fever created by the pitch. Look at what you are buying and think before you buy.

2. The Cross-Sell

The timing is the same for the Cross-sell as it is for the Up-sell. You have made your call after - or during - the infomercial (depending on how much you have been influenced) and after your information is collected - additional products are made available by the operator.

Say you bought an electronic widget. The operator may ask if you need the right cables to hook it up - or maybe a remote for easier use. In other words - other products are added to the deal to make things easier and more enjoyable for you - all at an extra cost, of course.

Hey - you have already made the purchase - why not get the extras to make it perfect? More sale - more money - and still only one buyer for them. A $10 sale goes double or more with the same effort.

These two grabbers are at the point of sale. The other two grabbers are after.

3. The Follow-up

You bought. Hopefully, you are happy. A little later - because you have given them your information, remember? - you get an offer for further options or improvements to what you bought from the infomercial.

This is done on faith that the widget you bought is still working and you are satisfied - but is another bite of the apple for the pitch people. You have already bought once - so they know you have an interest in the product and were hot to buy. Why not dip into the same well?

4. The Continuity Pitch

Continuity of an infomercial product comes in a couple of ways. For example, if it is a replaceable product (like a vitamin, or protein powder), the continuity offer may be made at the first point of sale. They may offer a reduced price if you signup for an automatic renewal of the product. A lot of this type of offer gives you free shipping and sometimes a reduced price.

These are really win-win situations. You get free shipping and a reduced price - and the infomercial people get an ongoing, reliable customer.

Other continuity items are subscriptions to magazines, refills, anything that is repeatable on a monthly scale. What is looked for is a commitment from you to the infomercial product - and cash flow to them.

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of the products that are brought to you through the infomercial are good, if not great, products. For new inventors who do not get connections with major manufacturers - the infomercial may be the only way to introduce their product. New gadgets and gizmos come to life through the infomercial.

Just be sure you watch out for the sometime scam that can catch you off guard. As I said, I am susceptible to the infomercial - just like you probably are. We all have to step back - challenge the claims - believe about half of what the infomercial says - and if it meets that criteria - it might work.

There is a way to avoid the pitch of the infomercial by going to websites that carry the “as seen on TV” items where you can investigate in your own sweet time and make your own studied decisions.