Getting to “yes” is easier than you think with this this time-tested method for making convincing arguments & persuading people to do what you want.
Topics: But You Are Free, Reciprocation, Commitment, Consistency, Social Acceptance, Liking, Authority, Scarcity.
There are lots of Sales techniques for becoming more persuasive, but perhaps the simplest, most practical technique is the “But You Are Free” method. A review of 42 psychology studies (on 22,000 people) suggests this technique could double the chances someone would say “yes” to you. Read on to see how this works. If you want to, that is.
A. “But You Are Free” technique: Make a request, but acknowledge the other person has a choice. PsyBlog explains that this persuasion technique re-affirms the person’s freedom of choice & indirectly tells the other person that you’re not threatening his/her ability right to say no. The actual words you use don’t seem to matter; according to the meta-analysis published this year by Chris Carpenter in Communication Studies. You could add to your request, “but obviously do not feel obliged” or “but you are free” and both would be effective—especially if you’re asking something of someone face-to-face.
Caution. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to use this Sales technique all the time, lest you start looking like someone with passive-aggressive issues. Acknowledging the other person’s ability to choose could make them feel more empowered & on your side. It even works on stubborn children and adults sometimes (“I like this choice best. But you’re free to choose another one.”)
Comments: Try this and let us know how it works for you. Otherwise, do you have another technique that works for you?
B. Powerful Compliance Triggers to get to Yes. It is easy to see the importance of fixed action patterns for writing Sales messages. All we need to know is where to find the “stick & red feathers” that can generate a “yes” response in a variety of selling situations. Here are six common compliance triggers identified by psychologists along with my suggestions for applying them to copywriting:
- Reciprocation — There is an over-whelming urge to do something in return when something is done for us. This deep-seated urge is so strong, that it is the very essence of what it means to be human. No society on Earth escapes the Reciprocity principle.
Application: Give people something for free. Whoever is on the receiving end of your gift – is then in your debt. What can you give? Anything: a free book, planning kit, sample, subscription, catalog, special report, or virtually anything else that’s related to your product or service – as long as it’s free. The urge to “repay” can then lead people to make the purchase you want for more sales.
- Commitment & Consistency — We are driven to remain consistent in our attitudes, words, & actions. So, when we are led to make a commitment of some kind, to go on record or take a stand or make a decision, there is an urge to remain consistent with that original commitment later on. The key is to get the initial commitment, which can appear small, reasonable, & innocent. This commitment can not only lead to compliance via the principle of consistency, but also to further compliance for larger requests.
Application: Ask for a little “yes” first, then build on that. Sales people sometimes call this the “foot-in-the-door” technique. Begin by asking your prospect to agree to a simple request, such as making a small transaction or completing a simple questionnaire. By getting people to make a decision, take a stand, or perform an action, you establish a new psychological “commitment.” Once you have that commitment, no matter how small, you can build on this small commitment and make ever increasing requests.
- Social Acceptance — Most of us are imitators in most of what we do. We look to others for guidance, especially when we are uncertain about something. We ask, “What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do others do?” Then we act accordingly, all thanks to the power of Social Acceptance.
Application: Show others using your services or buying your products. List Testimonials of satisfied customers or clients. Feature stories of those who have been “converted” from another service. Show pictures of people using your product. Provide Case Histories of some of your best customers. When people see that what you offer is okay with other people, they are more likely to give it a try themselves.
- Liking — No matter how reasonable we may think ourselves to be, we are always more likely to say “yes” to those we know & like. We readily comply with requests from those who are similar to us and for whom we have good feelings. It’s what makes refusing to buy products from a friend or relative next to impossible.
Application: Be personal & likable. This is one element of selling that most people know instinctively, but often fail to put into action. Getting people to like you – in person – is one thing. But how do you do it in print when people usually have no chance to meet you? a) Reveal yourself. b) Show your feelings. c) Tell a story that prospects can relate to. Use flattery & praise. Present your Sales Message in such a way. that you are not just selling something, but working with others as an ally with common problems, concerns, and goals.
- Authority — In this age of specialization, we are more prone to respond to authority than ever before. Regardless of an independent spirit, we look to experts (or those we perceive to be) to give us the answers and show us the way. Even the mere symbols of authority, such as titles & specialized clothing, are enough to trigger a response. Example: Note how seeing someone with a white smock and stethoscope instantly suggests “doctor” and makes anything that person says about medicine seem more authoritative.
Application: Provide signs & symbols of expertise. Establish your expertise by providing solid info. Show your credentials. Create trustworthiness by demonstrating lack of bias. Show similarities between you & your prospect or customer. Cite awards, reviews, speaking engagements, books (& other ways) you’ve been recognized. You can also “borrow” authority by associating yourself with those who have authority. Example: Show a photograph of yourself with someone your prospects will consider an authority.
- Scarcity — In general, the fear of loss is more powerful than the hope of gain. By properly engaging the instinctive tendency to avoid losing something — or avoid losing the chance to possess something desirable — you can trigger a “yes” response with scarcity.
Application: Create time limits & limited availability. A “reply by” date is one of the most powerful ways to create scarcity. You can do this with a specific deadline or expiration date. If you can’t be specific about the date, use a general deadline, such as “reply within the next 10 days.” Use “limited availability” by mentioning how fast your supply is selling or citing the actual number of items that remain. You can also put constraints on supply, such as limiting memberships to the first 500 or creating a limited edition with X number being produced. The video division of Disney creates scarcity by putting their videos “back in the vault” so if you want a copy, you must order immediately or miss your chance.
Comments: Do you have any different Sales Techniques that have worked for you?
from Life Hacker [Lucky 13 Feb 13 LoL] enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz