This article was written by Gregory Ciotti.
When it comes to converting more prospects into paying customers, it all boils down to how well you understand your buyer’s mind and what they want from your business.
The thing is, your time can’t scale in every circumstance, and there may come a point where you aren’t able to know each and every one of your customers personally. When that’s the case, what’s to be done?
The answer is to turn to rigorously tested research in social psychology.
We’re all different, but in many instances our brains are prone to respond in a very similar manner, and understanding these common elements in the human mind can help you find more ways to ethically move more buyers towards saying “Yes!” to your products or services.
Below you’ll find 7 such studies that will help you understand what makes many of your customers “tick”, and what you can do to create a more effective selling experience.
1. Play the devil’s advocate
Are you familiar with how the term “devil’s advocate” came to exist? It’s actually from an old process the Roman Catholic church used to conduct when canonizing someone into sainthood.
A lawyer of sorts was instructed to be the devil’s advocate for the candidate, taking a skeptical view of their character in an attempt to find holes in their arguments for why they should be considered.
The marketing world has an important lesson to learn from this process.
According to research by social psychologist Charlan Nemeth (and his colleagues), the role of devil’s advocate certainly plays a part in persuasion, but it is not one of creating dissent.
Nemeth concluded that when people are confronted with someone who truly appears to oppose their position (true dissenters), they begin to try and understand their perspective.
Those playing devil’s advocate? They actually increase the effectiveness of the original argument! This is because group members do not take the critiques from the devil’s advocate as seriously, and since the group is now bringing up (and dismissing) possible alternatives or flaws, they are more confident in their original stance.
For marketers, this offers an opportunity: playing devil’s advocate for your own products can actually enhanceyour persuasive efforts as people see their concerns addressed (and dismissed) before they buy.
The Takeaway: Playing the role of devil’s advocate has been found to increase people’s resolve in their decision making, not hinder it. Be your own devil’s advocate and back up typical objections with solutions for your offerings.
2. Use urgency … the smart way
Creating a sense of urgency in your copy is one of the oldest tricks in the book … and still one of the smartest. To top it off, Cialdini lists “scarcity” as one of the 6 pillars of influence, and it’s easy to see why: great demand leads to great sales.
In spite of this, I have some research that explains how urgency can completely backfire on you and ruin your meticulously written copy.
How can this be? More importantly, how can you prevent it from happening to you?
The research comes to us from a classic study by Howard Leventhal where he analyzed the effects of handing out tetanus brochures to subjects.
Leventhal handed out 2 different pamphlets to participants, both sparing no detail on the horrid effects that the tetanus disease can have on the body.
The difference was that the control group received a version of the pamphlet that had the effects of the disease … and nothing else.
The second group received a similar pamphlet, but theirs had minimal information that indicated where they could schedule an appointment to get vaccinated.
Those who had the second pamphlet (with the sparse follow-up info) were much more likely to take-action: the rate that they followed through to get vaccinated was vastly superior to the first group. They were also more engaged with the tetanus information they received.
Even though the follow-up information provided in the second pamphlet wasn’t at all comprehensive, Leventhal concluded that our minds are susceptible to blocking out information that evokes a sense of urgency if there aren’t any instructions regarding what to do next.
Those in the first group were prone to convincing themselves that, “I don’t need to worry about this because it won’t happen to me anyway,” whereas those in the second group had less incentive to feel this way because they had a plan to take action and couldn’t put it aside as easy.
The Takeaway: Urgency can be “blocked” by your customers minds if you don’t give them specific instructionson how to solve the problem that you’ve identified. Don’t give vague instructions, tell your audience exactly what to do when the time comes.
3. Highlight strengths by admitting your shortcomings
Is it ever a good idea to admit to your faults? After all, people don’t really want the “real” you, right?
Research from social psychologist Fiona Lee would assert that it is, and in fact, it may be the best strategic decision to highlight your strengths.
The study she conducted looked at companies who admitted to missteps and examined what effect (if any) these admissions had on stock prices. Lee and her colleagues had experimenters read one of two fictitious company reports (both reports listed reasons why the company had performed “poorly” last year).
The first report placed emphasis on strategic decisions. The second placed emphasis on external events (economic downturn, increased competition, etc.).
So what were the results?
The test subjects viewed the first company far more favorably than the second.
Interestingly, Lee found (after examining hundreds of these types of statements, over 14 real companies) that the companies who admitted to their strategic faults also had higher stock prices the following year.
Her conclusions were that admitting to shortcomings in areas like strategic thinking showcased that a company was still in control, despite their faults. Blaming external forces (even if true) created a sense that the company didn’t have the ability to fix the problem (or were creating excuses).
The Takeaway: Customers still don’t want you to overshare irrelevant details. But admitting to honest errors helps your customers understand that you are in control of the situation and not prone to making excuses.
Read the rest of this article here at : http://www.copyblogger.com/social-psychology-persuasion/