Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 12

PRE-SUASION Pre-Suasion Selling Into The Ideal Moment W hat happens in the brains of consumers during the milliseconds before they make a purchase decision? A lot, actually, and that precious moment can become key real estate for your next marketing or sales campaign. In fact, most businesses are so focused on the message they are trying to convey that they forget to “set the table” in the best possible way for their message to resonate with consumers. I researched this phenomenon extensively in preparation for my new book, Pre- Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, and my results just may change the way you think about your message and the context in which it is delivered. The good news is that making this simple change to break through the clutter is usually fairly straightforward, simple, and inexpensive. 12 The theory behind my research is this: if we focus our audience on a particular idea or concept, they will prioritize all subsequent information related to that idea or concept. Once they are oriented in the right direction, they will want to learn more, value the information more, and be more likely to take positive action. Your website—essentially your company’s “calling card”—is the first place consumers go to learn about your business. If you sell furniture, for example, consider which landing page image might have a more positive effect on sofa sales: a photo of puffy clouds or of pennies. In this example, our research showed that the group viewing the clouds prior to entering the site were more likely to search and purchase furniture based on comfort while the group viewing the pennies focused primarily on price, and therefore spent less on the site overall. We found, essentially, that consumers focused their attention on items that were congruent with their very first impression of the site—either the comfort of soft clouds or the frugality of literally “watching the pennies.” In addition to altering behavior with images, we found that words can have a similar effect. Consider a research study for introducing a new soft drink to the market—admittedly not a simple feat with the mega-cola companies already dominating store shelves. We tested consumers’ affinity for trying new products by posing an introductory question in two different ways. First, we asked a group of consumers if they would be interested in trying the new product, positioned as a brand new soft drink that had never before been on the market. Those who responded positively would submit contact information and a free sample would be sent to them. This approach scored a respectable 30 percent conversion rate. In the second approach, we asked a simple question at the top of the marketing material: “Are you an adventurous person?” The ad went on to describe the product and free sample offer in much the same way as in the first approach. But that simple challenge question dramatically improved consumers’ responses: the conversion rate for this