You’re interviewing a candidate for a sales position. You like their responses to your questions, so you ask a typical question often required of sales candidates, “Sell me something!” In this case it's a jug of water on your desk.
Strategic Discipline Blog
Which do you feel is more important, for you to be liked or for you to like the person you are trying to sell? You may disagree with this next statement, but if you think about it I believe you will discover it is true. Praise is the only information accepted and valued as much as when it is true as when it is false. What’s the point of this? The point is that it’s not important for the other person to like you. What’s important is for you to like them. Whether I like you or not will not determine whether I make a purchase, but rather if you like me I will be more inclined to purchase.
Is your business reliant on the commitment that customers and prospects make to you? Do your customers and prospects make appointments and/or reservations and then too often fail to live up to their end of the agreement?
That’s exactly what BOSE discovered when they introduced a new wave sound system. So they approached Dr. Robert Cialdini to review their ad and give them advice. He agreed that the ad contained everything that a customer would want to know, but he suggested one change, the headline. Instead of announcing new, he suggested, “Hear what you’ve been missing.” The result? A 45% increase in leads generated.
Curious why that works? I am. He indicated it drew on Principle #2 of his persuasion principles, scarcity, or "if I can’t have it I want it. "
How many of you are old enough to remember new Coke? On the 99th Anniversary of the origin of Coke the makers decided to change the formula after having discovered in a blind taste test that customers preferred a sweeter version. So they announced it and guess what happened? There was an immediate uproar from Coke drinkers. They wanted what they couldn’t have!
Three elements Dr. Cialdini offered regarding the principle of scarcity:
- Differentiate: Make sure to tell your customers what they can’t get if they don’t move in your direction. Give them substantial evidence of what you in combination with your product or service are only able to provide.
- Advantages: When you describe your advantages, and this is key, it’s not enough to tell them what they can gain, it’s more important to let them know what they can’t get. Loss is the ultimate form of scarcity. Loss language is more powerful.
- Exclusivity of Information: Information is like bread, every day of delay is a day of decay. If you have information that no one else has move on it immediately. As Dr. Cialdini explains this is another one of those moments that you are entitled to. If you, your firm, your product or service is exclusive you want to make that known and take advantage of the opportunity it presents.
How powerful is it to include what someone will lose versus what they will gain? A Los Angeles energy audit offered half of the customers who underwent the same audit two different offers. To one group they indicated by doing the energy enhancements they would save 75 cents a day. To the other group they indicated that if they failed to make these efforts they would lose 75 cents a day. Based on the scarcity principle can you guess which offer got a greater response? The second offer of losing 75 cents a day got a whopping 150% better response.
By the way BOSE ran another ad after the one that asked, “Hear What You’ve Been Missing!” using another one of Dr Cialdini's persuasion principles that got a 60% increase in leads. We’ll discuss that principle in an upcoming blog.