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?
A restaurant was having a problem with no shows, almost 30% on an ongoing basis. Using Dr. Cialdini’s recommendation this restaurant made a simple change to their method of conversation with customers who called to make reservations. Dr. Cialdini indicates that in order for consistency to work it requires three steps; it must be active, public and voluntary. See if you can recognize these three steps in the benchmarks that the restaurant employed.
When a customer called to make a reservation the employee was told to ask the following question,” Will you please call if you have to change or cancel your reservation?” They were then told to pause and wait for the person to provide their acknowledgment and commitment to this. The result - no shows dropped from 30% to 10%.
Dr Cialdini indicates that not all commitments are created equally either. Asking someone to write down their commitment increases the likelihood that they will honor it. In fact in a study done where customers were measured on their loyalty to their initial choice when facing a furious attack from another competitive choice, 50% remained loyal to their initial choice despite no prior commitment, 68% remained loyal when they made an active prior commitment [verbal], while 89% remained loyal to their initial commitment when they had done so prior, publicly and had showed it to others.
The point Dr. Cialdini suggests here. If you are selling to someone who you know will be seeing your competitors choices after yours send them an email or note with all their preliminary agreements, those items they indicated they were excited about. It will remind them of their initial agreement and make it more difficult for them to commit to something else.
Of course getting their commitment in writing, out loud or in the company of someone else will help as well. Ask them to write down with you all the advantages of your product or service. Any and all of these may not mean you secure the purchase, but it will help lock in the person you are working with, and make it more difficult for them to change their decision in the face of a furious attack by your competition.
How important is it for your customer and prospects to see and know that others are enjoying the value and benefits of your product or service? More important than you might think. We’ll explore that next in our 5th Principle of Persuasion.