Persuasion Research Finding #1
DISCOVERY (NEW): If your (potential) client is going to be moderately opposed to an idea you present, then presenting it will allow the person to “have their say” (argue with you) and reduce the resistance they experience!
KEYPOINT: HOWEVER never become disagreeable in the presence of your (potential) client while a zealot is present. A zealot is someone who is going to have *strong* opinions that differ from what you are going to present. The zealot’s arguments only reinforce the zealot’s own certainty about a topic and ingrain the person further into their own beliefs.
KEYPOINT: I….and if your *client* is the zealot, NEVER ask for their verbal opinion or begin to debate the issue…or any other issue with them. When someone is strongly opposed to an idea you present the person will counterargue and will become MORE resistant short AND long term from the argument. (No sale today…or ever)
You are religion X.
You are very committed to religion X.
If someone says that religion X is bad or not “right” you resist that.
You become “aroused.” (Irritated, angry, upset, fearful…emotional)
(Usually in psychology “arousal” doesn’t mean the fun kind of arousal, but it can…)
Flight/fight kicks in.
Remember: You are committed to X.
You are being *threatened!*
You will COUNTERARGUE (fight to DEFEND).
We are attached to our belief. Our commitment.
The greater the commitment to X (whatever), the greater the arousal to the threat of changing the attitude.
So the question we must answer if we want to reduce resistance and possibly get to yes, is…HOW do you reduce arousal?”
A few ways.
Studies at University have shown that when students write essays that disagree with their current belief about something, they become aroused. (No surprise.) But later, to self soothe, to reduce their own arousal they adjust their attitude to come more in line with what they wrote in the essay.
KEYPOINT: Arousal is caused by counterattitudinal information.
KEYPOINT: Arousal causes attitudes (beliefs, ideas, thoughts) to become further entrenched and resistant to persuasion.
KEYPOINT: A crucial goal to accomplish successful persuasion is to reduce arousal first.
Dr. John Gottman, renowned relationship expert and scientific researcher, has isolated three key factors that can predict divorce with 90+% accuracy. You can determine the factors in less than 10 minutes in a relationship.
Gottman told me that when you become “flooded” (*upset*, *extremely aroused*) your heart rate increases and so do your respirations. At this point you become resistant to persuasion. (I’m paraphrasing from conversations.) In these situations his advice is to STOP persuasion attempts or you will make things worse. Wait til things are calm to influence.
KEYPOINT: Another way to change attitudes is to have people perform the behavior you want them to without talking about the attitude.
Once people ACT one way and THINK another, they tend to change their thoughts (or their thoughts tend to change…if you will) to be more congruent with the actions.
KEY: This is why it’s important to get clients and customers INTERACTIVE with you, your website.
Get people to write things, type things, underline stuff, and so on.
Actions > Attitudes
Brainwashing 101: Get people to do the actions without asking for attitude change.
DISCOVERY: Interestingly, getting people to perform an UNRELATED helpful behavior can cause them to later accept your proposal even when there is significant resistance.
Now, THAT is amazing.
So, if you want someone to do something or buy something and before THAT happens you ask them to help you with the dishes, (and they do indeed help!) they are more likely to help you do the next thing…their attitude is more likely to change, their arousal reduces!
OK, before we go on, let’s quickly go through the “take home’s” I showed you earlier.
TAKE HOME DISCOVERY: People who are REALLY COMMITTED to X (their idea, product, belief, religion, whatever) counterargue more and their commitment becomes stronger.
TAKE HOME DISCOVERY: On the other hand, people who are only a LITTLE COMMITTED to X counterargue more weakly and the ability to counterargue reduces their arousal (intensity) and ALLOWS THEM TO AGREE WITH YOU.
Thanks to Dr. Sekar Raju (U. Buffalo) and Dr. H. Rao Unnava (Ohio State U.), we now know that allowing people to disagree could be the best thing to happen with people who have modest commitment (investment in the religion, the relationship, the product) while getting to the debate/argument stage with highly committed people makes them even MORE committed!
Persuasion Research Finding #2
DISCOVERY: Internet vs. Talking: What causes Predictable Behavior in Buying and Selling?
If you can predict what people do given circumstances, it’s pretty easy to persuade.
You write in a forum online that you don’t like brand Q.
Another person tells someone on the phone that they don’t like brand Q.
Which person is more likely to be consistent with their previous statement (typed on the internet vs. orally expressed)?
We’ll answer that question in a minute.
FACT: If someone has bought a product in a specific room/office/store, the best place for them to buy from you again is in the same place. It triggers all the accessible memory from the first purchase and dramatically increases that experience and your making the second sale.
FACT: If someone bought something from you on the telephone, or you’ve been in touch with them by phone, CONTINUE to do so because as I have found out the hard way, you want to REPLICATE the original selling medium. If the customer bought on the internet, make your second sale on the internet. Don’t try and call the customer. Again, replicate the original context for maximum replication of brain activity which can yield the same or similar result.
Persuasion Research Finding #3
Persuading using the natural prediction fallacies of their brain….
“Gambler’s Fallacy vs. Go with the Trend: Predicting What People will DO Next in Every Facet of Life”
Gambler’s Fallacy says that after a LONG streak of wins or losses, the trend will reverse. In random events this of course is not accurate. Sometimes trends continue and sometimes they don’t.
“The Trend,” is a short-term fallacy that says that after a few “wins” or “hits”, that the trend will continue. And of course this is not accurate either. (Much like thinking a basketball player is “hot” so you want to give him the ball for the important shots.)
Predicting what happens is pretty simple. Short TRENDS are experienced by investors and gamblers (humans) as a reason to STICK with the trend.
Long TRENDS are experienced by investors as “ready to end.” Investors and gamblers bet against the trend.
Neither belief structure represents reality as random events are…random. But people see patterns in everything. Therefore when presenting information in marketing and selling, it’s important to remember how people make their decisions!
Persuasion Research Finding #4
“Saw it on TV…”
Persuasion using exposure and priming.
Discovery: Stocks of companies that are featured in the news are often the stimulus for people buying that stock outright or over another stock. In other words, people see the company in the news and if the news report is positive, people go to the net or call their broker and buy it, for no logical reason. (Dr. L.F. Ackert, Dr. B.K. Church 2006)
Keypoint: Individual Investors are net buyers of stocks of companies that are talked about in the media. Attention-grabbing information can cause “liking” of a company by consumers.
Keypoint: When other people are heard talking about stocks the listener is more likely to invest in that stock.
Applications: It’s very important to have some kind of positive PR for you, your work, your business if you want persuasion efforts, now or later, to be effective. The power of the priming and the awareness alone are incredibly potent forces in causing people to decide one way or another!
- In 2005 the Association of National Advertisers reported that 73% of senior marketers saw no impact of advertising campaigns on sales. 80% said they couldn’t accurately measure return on investment.
- $300 Billion were spent in the USA alone on advertising. $1,000 per man, woman and child.
- Most of this money is spent by huge corporations who have the ability to influence and build sales with their dollars and most fail.
- Companies don’t find out what their customer motivations are and they then have no idea why people are doing business with them and not someone else. They have little idea how their brand is perceived.
- A magazine? A full page ad will be viewed by the reader for 3 seconds before they turn the page. 3 seconds. Don’t try to do anything perfect, your job in magazine advertising is to get the reader to STOP flipping pages. You can TEST that before it ever hits market by having a randomly selected group of people in your demographic flip through a magazine with your dummy ad in it to see if ANYONE actually stops to look at it. (No one does this.)
Quick story: The other day I was working on helping a colleague on a salesletter for the internet. I didn’t even read the copy because it was written in fonts that are almost “invisible” to readers.
You’ve seen all of those tacky annoying ads on the internet right? They’re the ones people can read. It drives me nuts but the fonts are perfect for clarity of message and therefore of the people who do read a letter, they will read THAT letter.
You think your client will hang around for 3 seconds turning pages in Cosmo or Money if they aren’t STOPPED immediately by your ad?
They’ll flip right by it…every time.
The ability to influence is the single most important element in communication in business, selling, a professional practice, and intimate relationships.
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