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Selling The Top Of The Line (TOTL)


Techniques General Persuasion > Sequential Requests > Selling The Top Of The Line (TOTL)



First promote an expensive product. Then show them a cheaper product.

This can be done without really trying to sell the expensive product. Do it as if you are just a kind of product geek who is proud of what can be done and want to show off great products. Then become the friend who sells them a product that suits them best.

You can also try to sell the expensive product if they seem to be interested. Expensive products are sought by the affluent and those who value the social kudos the product gives. If they seem like the latter, add 'what people will say' into your patter.

If they reject the expensive product, then it is a simple step to move down to the cheaper product.


Just look at this wonderful washing machine, it has many different cycles and controls...It is a bit expensive - but this other machine does almost as much and is 30% less.

I really want to go to the Seychelles for a fortnight. But I guess that's a bit expensive...Maybe a week in Cannes would be better.


Selling the top of the line' is a common approach that is a variant of the Door In The Face (DITF) method.

Acting as a 'product geek' in showing off the more expensive item establishes the sales person as an expert and can help to build trust. Note that serious attempts to sell the expensive product may negate or even invert these effects.

The more expensive product creates desire, but cannot be afforded. The second product hooks into the created desire with something that is closer to the buyers budget. The method uses the contrast principle to make the second product appear relatively inexpensive.

The exchange principle also applies as the sales person is giving up a higher sale in apparent concern for the customer, who reciprocates the favor by buying the product.

Donoho (2003) showed 290 business majors different videos designed to sell CD players. Some were shown a 'top of the line' video, showing first an expensive product followed by a less expensive product. Others were shown products in different orders.  The 'top of the line' video resulted in 'purchases' of average 10% greater value.

See also

Door In The Face (DITF)


Donoho C.L. (2003). The ''top-of-the-line'' influence on the buyer-seller relationship. Journal of Business Research, 56, 4, April 2003, 303-309


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