brand removal

Why I Put a Decade Old Brand to Rest

OR The Death of the UPsell Brand and the Birth of Doing More with L.E.S. (now Relationships at Work)


“No, it’s not about sales. It’s about adding humanity to your organization.”

“It’s not about getting gum at the checkout or manipulating your customers into getting a few more dollars from them. It’s about building relationships.”

“Trust is the ultimate UPsell.”

I’ve been explaining “The UPsell” brand with these responses since 2009. I still absolutely know that focusing on people over all else, will always build and nurture far more success than not. But, I think it’s time for a change in how I speak to that approach and with you.

As you can imagine, “the UPsell” immediately conjures images of sales and sales tactics for many people. The term has long been associated with pitching a service or product at a particular moment when the customer would be more susceptible to say yes. Whether it’s a matter of convenience (all those chocolate bars at the checkout), timing (would you like that “bigger restaurant size”) or value (you’ve been so successful at this level of the program, why not try our next step offering? I think you’re ready), but I wanted to be clever. I wanted to let organizations know that that a short-term sales attempt is not as important as a long-term, empathic relationship with your customer. Planting seeds of trust and loyalty is the best “upsell” you can achieve.

But of course that’s not obvious. Yes, the confusion or “friction” might open up an opportunity to talk about and clarify my ideas, but it’s also not very intuitive. That puts me not in a great place: on the brand defensive.

So it’s time for a change. Not a big one, just one that helps me communicate with you better. My message of leading and engaging with intention and empathy hasn’t changed, but tweaking my delivery has helped with clarity… and of course I’m still trying for a little clever. (insert smiley face)

Do More with L.E.S. (now Relationships at Work)

Whether with colleagues or customers, we always can do more with L.E.S.

L for Leading – providing words AND actions of empathy from your organization’s leaders in the pursuit of building trust, relationships and purpose.
E for Engaging with Colleagues/Employees – connecting with your team in a way that’s meaningful, inspiring and valuable for them.
S for Serving Your Customers – nurturing an intentional customer-centric environment that meets and exceeds customer expectations to build a long, mutually beneficial relationship

This is an organization’s symbiotic ecosystem where one of these can’t be successful if they all aren’t successful.
For example:

  • Amazing customer service with horrible leadership and disengaged staff? Nope
  • Engaged colleagues and customers inspired by devoid leadership while providing underwhelming service? Nada
  • First class leadership excellence inspiring unengaged staff and delivering non-existent service? Doesn’t happen.

In a nutshell, great leadership is about engaging and serving your employees and customers. They all have to work together to create a truly healthy organization.

So moving forward, I will be speaking on the importance to “do more with L.E.S.” Because we can always be better in our leadership, in how we engage with others and in our approach to the service experience, whether it’s anything from a reminder to a complete cultural shift.

Whether in blog, podcast…or dare I say video, this will be my focus every week.

To those who love their UPsell swag with the beautiful UP logo attached, I invite you to see it as a reminder:

  • to UP your game.
  • to Level UP your current efforts to building meaningful relationships with your customers and everyone in your organization.
  • to Turn UP for your colleagues and customers every day.
  • to Measure UP to your own set values.
    (Any others you want to share, please do?)

This also means I’m going to need your help. Much like I did recently went I asked you what word has lost its meaning at work due to misuse or over use, I’m very interested in your professional experiences. Good or bad or ugly. And then using them as teachable moments for other organizations. I look forward to talking with you.

If you are curious:
LIKE my FB Page for news and articles from industry leaders.
JOIN my FB Group for personal stories and examples from you and from me, and discussion around them.
FOLLOW me on Instagram for a “behind the curtain” side of me and a smattering of service stories.
FOLLOW me on Twitter for news, recommendations and questions

Thanks again for joining me.


  • Darryl Kirsch

    Well done! I look forward to more! Your advice and information is so helpful and insightful. You have motivated by service and leadership in several work roles especially my current role.

    Thank you.

    I look forward to more!

    • REALLY appreciate your kind words, Darryl. Please let me know if you like the direction I’m going in and if there’s any topics around leadership, employee engagement and service you’d like me to address.
      Hope you are well.

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