People act in line with their commitments. Cialdini in his great book Influence, states that we have a nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. This is the theory behind those competitions that you’ve probably seen where you have to state in 25 words or less why you like a particular product.The rationale is that if you make people write down why they like you or your business, they will then subconsciously want to keep their word, so next time they have to choose they will select your product.
This principle means that people will feel a sense of obligation to you if they have told you they like your product or that they would find it useful. Once people make a commitment, especially in public, they will usually make an effort to stick to it.
Using commitment and consistency in your business
You can use the type of competition mentioned above to create a sense of commitment to your business. Run a competition where entrants have to state in 30 words or fewer why your frozen yoghurt is better than all the other frozen yoghurts on the market. This makes them think about why they like your product, and will also encourage them to buy from you because they feel they have decided that your yoghurt is the best and they will want to be consistent with this. Use the entries as testimonials with permission, of course.
You also now know the reasoning behind running such a competition, rather than just doing it because you’ve seen others do it which is never a path to success. Here’s an example of a business that doesn’t seem to understand why these types of competitions are run. At the time of writing, a book publisher is having a competition that asks readers to do the following: In 25 words or less, describe your favourite place to read in winter and why. What’s the point in that? Why not create positive feelings towards the books you publish? For example, Describe in 25 words or less your favourite book published by us. This is an example of a business using a promotional tool without really understanding why. Don’t make this you!
You can also use this principle when talking to clients. As you discuss with them the benefits of what you are selling, get an agreement from them each step of the way. Don’t just bombard them with the information. So, if you are trying to sell a mobile phone, you would say: This phone lasts 20% longer than most others on each charge. Would you find that useful? Then, this phone can also play music through headphones. Do you think you could use that? And so on. Then, if the customer has replied yes to all or most of these, when it is time to say ‘Yes I’ll take it’, they have almost talked themselves into buying the phone by agreeing that they would find the benefits useful. This approach will give you more success than simply reading a list of features to the customer.
Use the concept of commitment and consistency to encourage people to make a written or verbal commitment to your company. They are then more likely to purchase from you.
HEY, did you know i’m running a contest while I am away…