It’s horse race tipping season in Melbourne at the moment with the Spring Carnival in full flight.
But instead of horse tips, today I thought I’d offer three behavioural tips to improve your odds of success.
1. It’s not what they gain, but what they may lose that matters
We are often very good at telling people why they should do business with us – what they stand to gain, but that’s only part of the equation to persuade. Most importantly, in order for your customer to proceed you need to overcome their fear of doing so.
What do they stand to lose? Money? Time? Effort? Credibility?
It’s often a fear of having to stake their reputation on yours that can get in the way of your customer moving forward. Ask yourself, have you given them sufficient assurances so that if they have to explain the decision to their boss, peers or spouse, they can do so confidently?
For more, check out the behavioural principle of loss aversion.
2. Less is often more
Too many options can leave your customer paralysed by the decision – all they end up anticipating is the regret of choosing one thing over another. ‘Information quicksand’ is when customers keep asking for more and more information only to get more confused and further away from making a determination. The answer? Your role is to clarify, removing information and choices as you take your customer through the process. Force them to make small decisions along the way, removing discarding some options before others are introduced.
For more, check out the behavioural principle called the paradox of choice.
3. Emotion rules decisions
As I wrote last week, forget rationality because that’s not how we make decisions most of the time. Instead, we are persuaded by subconscious biases and cues that shape our behaviour. That means, for example, your customer might tell you price is a barrier (a rationalised, easy to cite objection), but really they are not completely sold on proceeding. Something probably just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Your role is to unpick the real barriers, making sure you are doing the emotional sell as well. For example, including security seal icons and testimonials on your website at key moments where they may feel nervous.
For more, check out the behavioural principles of System 1 and System 2 thinking.
Bri Williams runs People Patterns, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.