Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 13

PRE-SUASION “YOUR WEBSITE— ESSENTIALLY YOUR COMPANY’S “CALLING CARD”—IS THE FIRST PLACE CONSUMERS GO TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.” approach nearly doubled that of the first, scoring a whopping 55 percent positive response rate. A third way of communicating information prior to the introduction of your message is through context. For this example, a French experiment was conducted in which an attractive male approached a woman walking through a shopping mall and boldly asked for her phone number to arrange a date for some future time. This gentleman didn’t score too badly on this task, with around 13 percent of women offering their phone numbers when the invitation took place in front of an ordinary clothing boutique or shoe store. But would his results improve when the request was staged in front of one of the most romantic of shops—a flower store? You guessed it. Our tester received phone numbers from 24 percent of the women he asked in this scenario, nearly double that of the first scenario. Essentially, the study found that even a hint of romance can beat risk under the right circumstances. I experienced this effect firsthand some years ago when approaching a contract renegotiation with a particularly thorny vendor. As usual, the meeting was slated to take place at the vendor’s office with groups in attendance from each of our two companies. Arriving early for the meeting, I made one simple change that dramatically altered the tenor of the meeting from contentious to cooperative. What was that change? Rather than our team sitting in a row on one side of the table, leaving the opposite row for the vendor’s team, we alternated seating, leaving spaces available for them in between our own chairs. What resulted was a complete sea change in how we worked together to get the job done—an approach that stemmed from a feeling of collaboration rather than contentiousness. One person that does this better than anyone is the business tycoon Warren Buffet, who in many of his letters to shareholders will issue a “mea culpa,” taking responsibility for some mistake he has committed during the previous investment period. The effect of such a disarming statement is to immediately instill a sense of trust in the reader, as in, “If he is admitting to his mistake up front, he must be an honest guy.” Once he has connected with his reader in this humbling way, Buffet could practically sell his reader the next Brooklyn Bridge. The takeaway from my research is that advertisers and other businesspeople are missing out on a golden opportunity: those critical moments before you actually deliver your message. Everyone with something to sell—and that’s all of us, frankly—should invest in some simple research to see what messages motivate our customers to buy. Would a change in your website bac kground images do the trick? A new headline for your advertising campaign? What kind of trigger words, images, and situations do the best job in getting your prospective customers to convert? The answer will be different for every business, but it’s worth it to spend some time trying to unlock the code that works best for yours. And while you’re doing so, here’s another tip. In vetting your next campaign idea, ask your co-workers for their advice, not their opinion. That small change in wording will suggest collaboration and teamwork rather than essentially asking your colleague to turn inward to formulate a response. In working together to brainstorm and experiment with new marketing ideas, you can hone your skills of “pre-suasion” and soon see some very real results— right on your bottom line. + PRE-SUASION: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.” BY: DR. ROBERT CIALDINI, CEO AND PRESIDENT, INFLUENCE AT WORK Dr. Cialdini is CEO and President of INFLUENCE AT WORK; focusing on ethical influence training, corporate keynote programs, and the CMCT. Dr. Cialdini’s clients include such organizations as Google, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Bayer, Coca Cola, KPMG, AstraZeneca, Ericsson, Kodak, Merrill Lynch, Nationwide Insurance, Pfizer, AAA, Northern Trust, IBM, Prudential, The Mayo Clinic, Kimberly-Clark, The Weather Channel, the United States Department of Justice, and NATO. 13