At some point in your day you will probably need to influence. Your employer, a colleague, a customer, your wife, or even your kids. In our time-challenged, over communication crowded modern world, what are the small change in behaviours or influences you can make to reach your goal. This blog post cover suggestions to change your or your team behaviour to avoid selling in a funnel.
To start let’s talk about the ineffective ways to influence other? Let me give you two strong, but still very common ones.
First is to apply incentive to influence someone else. “Pay more to incentive people to deliver more or reach a goal”. I’m sure you will find economists that will say there is plenty of study that “prove” incentive works, but they don’t always work the way we plan. Example, they might crowd out an intrinsic motivation to “behave” and that can backfire on the influencer. Also incentive can be rather expensive; they often set reference point on how we need to incentive people in the future, in a blue chip that can sum up to hundreds of pounds at best , millions at worse.
Secondly trying to inform people. “If we educate and inform people, they will pay attention and will act accordingly on the information we give them”. The problem with that is we live in the single most information overloaded world. So by informing this way, we only feed even more the crowd of information. Where is the relevance of your message versus all other messages?
So what is happening is that people look at shortcuts that are going to lead them to good, efficient and hopefully accurate decision. This is where we under estimate the impact that the above two small attempt change of behaviour can have.
So what types of shortcuts are available then? It’s about putting the bit of information you are about to send or the request you make – the change – and putting it into a context. That aligns to the three fundamental core motivation (we all use) to determine if we should pay attention or not.
We want to make accurate, good decision in the most rewarding way possible
While there could be multiple techniques, tactics to gain on persuasion over a group of individuals or a single person, the overwhelming majority of the most successful ones gain their persuasive power because they align with these three fundamentals motives. So understand this core motives and align your message accordingly is the best way to reach your goal.
- With the overload of information, people want to make accurate, good decision in the most rewarding way,
- We want to take decision, we want to engage in a way to gain the approval of others, increase the likelihood that we will create or enhance our social networks,
- We want to take decision and behave in such ways that allow us to be seen in a positive light: stand out of the crowd.
I see you coming; we need to recognise that there is a contradiction; we want to behave in a way that affiliate with the group and yet stand out at the very same time. This is the complexity of human beings. Knowing the rules doesn’t make it easier … so how to get the balance right?
One of the drawback of wanting to make accurate, good decision in the most rewarding way possible, one of the way we actually do that is not to consider what else is on offer at all, but to consider something different entirely. A great example is the typical restaurant tactic, if they position on the menu a product that you wouldn’t think find and/or buying into a restaurant like buying the table for £600 or an Italian espresso machine for £12,400, it have a significant influence over people perception on the very next thing they see.
It is the idea that one way we decide to pay attention to a request that is not what’s been offered but instead to pay attention to what is being showed to us first. This is known as the contrast effect, people will consider that the products they have on offer are more reasonably priced because of that very first thing they see.
What’s interesting here is that person making this decision do not use the feature, the benefit or the inherent value of what is on offer to determine whether it’s a good decision or not, we are using here a comparison that really have nothing to do with what is on offer.
This is the point, how might you use this insight? You can apply it to business in a very responsible and ethical way, example: when you write a proposal.
Often during this exercise that I practice at New Bamboo, Cognizant and Novartis, we define and explore a lot of different options and discard the options that are less appropriated and therefore put all efforts and attention onto a specific approach that we will take to the client. But … those options that we disregarded have value! If you present them briefly first with their potential impact on the client and there associated financial cost, they have that valuable aspect that they make the proposal we focus on the most shining in comparison.
The conclusion is that as human being we can’t make decision in vacuum, we need comparison. Something very small that we can all do is to ensure that the proposal we make is first framed by a legitimate comparison that make that proposition shine, it’s costless (you already been through these scenarios) and it is something that we often forget because we don’t recognise the impact that this process can have on the client, the success of the proposal and the reputation of our company.
In my next blog post I would like to talk about the very specific example of a simple but fundamental change of behaviour that led to a big impact on costly problem for the United Kingdom.