Book Preview: How Consumers’ Decisions Get Influenced
If you’re in the catalog/multichannel business, you’re in the advertising business. And if you’re in the ad business, let’s face it: Much, if not all, of what you and your company does is to try to persuade people to buy your products. In his new book “The 7 Triggers To yes: The New Science Behind Influencing People’s Decisions,” (McGraw-Hill, 2008) author Russell H. Granger provides his formula for influencers that affect the human thought process.
Through his research, Granger concludes the human brain has its own internal triggers for decision making. And these triggers are activated by the emotional, not the rational, centers of the brain. Thus, Granger created a system to activate the internal emotion-based triggers of the people you’re attempting to persuade (i.e., your customers). Listed below are the seven “triggers” that comprise this system and how they can be implemented into your business.
1. Friendship. The easiest way to win people over is to create friendships with them, earning their trust and agreement through bonding. Become a friend and the other triggers will likely work; miss out on creating a friendship and bond, and virtually nothing else will work, Granger says. An element that can establish or renew a friendship is common interests. Some possible targets include leisure time activities, kids, business background, educational background, sports, travel, movies and pets.
2. Authority. Creating a sense of expertise or knowledge greatly enhances your ability to persuade. When you’re viewed as an authority, your customer perceives less risk and feels more assurance and trust in the decision you helped them to make, Granger says. Ways to go about establishing your authority include dressing the part as an expert, promoting past accomplishments, obtaining and promoting positive endorsements from people who’ve worked with you, using titles, and making aware any awards you’ve received.
3. Consistency. Engender consistency with past actions. In his book, Granger notes that values, beliefs and feelings have little to do with fact and logic. Reality is whatever we perceive it to be. Therefore, your customers’ perception is their reality. Learn this reality, and work to it, Granger advises. Learn how your customer is consistent with regard to the following elements: spending habits, affiliations with clubs or associations, religious leanings, peer group values, automatic or analytic mode, prior actions, among other things.
4. Reciprocity. This trigger is based on the quid pro quo theory. The recipient of a gift is more likely to give you something back in return. Before presenting your pitch to a customer, make a list of all the goods, services and information you could provide this person. Then present the gifts that are most appropriate, Granger advises. Here are some possible offerings:
* physical — flowers, candy, product samples, corporate promotional gifts;
* entertainment — show or sports tickets, golf outing;
* information — competitive data, consultation, helpful Web site URLs;
* compliments — praise, your time; and
* business — time off, bonus, award or recognition, promotion.
5. Contrast. Compare your proposal or request in a favorable manner to other available options. Show how your proposal is better than the other options, different from the competition’s, Granger says. For example, if the other company’s offer is risk-averse, highlight how your offer will preclude risk. Some areas to examine for beneficial comparisons include cost comparisons, time comparisons, resource comparisons, seek options and compare.
6. Reasons why. The reason why can be anything the other person will accept, Granger says in his book. It can be your reason or his. The key is to do your homework. Write out a list of reasons why your customers should do what you want. List honest, plausible reasons he should act now rather than later. Here are some possible reasons why your customer should say yes: cost, exclusivity, impending event and new information, among others.
7. Hope. Create a positive expectation to help deliver agreement, Granger says. Learn what people hope for, as we’re easily persuaded by those who understand our hopes, wishes, dreams and those who can help us achieve them. Once people perceive an opportunity to satisfy their hopes, they seldom rely on rational cognitive thought, on logic, before they act, Granger says. Here are certain areas that can be explored to activate the hope trigger: happiness, independence, profit, health, fears and success.