Effective leaders know that a good product may have a flaw, but they only promote the features that work.
Imagine a young wife shopping for her family. One day she stumbles upon a local manufacturer of handmade herbal soaps. She listens to the benefits of using herbs not just for cleansing the skin, but nourishing it and supporting optimal skin health. Then she asks the question that she has been holding. “Do you have anything for liver spots? My husband has a really hard time and we have spent so much money trying all kinds of products.” The manufacturer smiles and says, “No. But, I could make something. Give me 3 weeks and I will get back to you.”
Fast forward. The product is made and offerred to the suffering husband for testing. Now on the 4th bar of handmade herbal soap, the pleased wife smiles upon greeting the manufacturer who has just handed her a couple fresh bars of soap. Then she says, “It really works you know. I should let you see my husband.” Not only does the manufacturer have a committed repeat customer, this loyal customer is now networking to ensure that the product will get into the hands of many more who need it. It’s a win-win for all!
Psychologists define persuasion as, “… the process by which a person’s attitudes or behaviour are, without duress, influenced by communications from other people.(Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2019; https://www.britannica.com/science/persuasion-psychology).
Persons in marketing and sales departments have applied this understanding to close the deal and generate large revenue streams for their organizations. In fact, research conducted at the University of Chicago explored the impact of extensive persuasuive communication on consumers, voters, donors and investors ( DellaVigna & Gentzkow, 2010; (https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/ARE_Review.pdf). The results are mixed, but here are some salient highlights:
Simester et al. (2007) saw an increase in clothing purchases just by varying the number of catalogs individuals received by mail from a women’s clothing retailer. In an 8-month period, catalogues were increased from 12 to 17. Purchases during the test period increased by 5 percent for customers who had purchased frequently in the past, and by 14 percent for those who had purchased relatively infrequently (p. 7). Compare this with a negligible difference between more than 1 million Yahoo users who were exposed to an online buying campaign and those who were not (approximately 3%).
A door-to-door fund-raising campaign at East Carolina University was studied by Landry et al. (2006). … 36.3 percent of households open the door and 10.8 percent of all households contacted (including the ones that do not open the door) donate, for an implied persuasion rate of f = 29.7 (p. 12).
When it comes to buying stocks, the media can be a significant source for action to buy or sell a stock. “Engelberg and Parsons (2009) … use individual trading records for a brokerage house to study the way local investors respond to coverage of earnings announcements in local newspapers. … a company whose earnings news are covered in the newspaper experiences significantly higher local trading in the 3 days around the announcement. The low persuasion rate (f = .01) reflects the fact that individual investors trade relatively infrequently” (p. 13).
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But, what about the skeptical consumer who sees the promotion as gimmickery or whitewashing? How do you win them over?
Offer them an incentive. I know that providing a trial size, with a money back guarantee if the customer is not satisfied is an effective technique. When skeptics see that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is then all (certainly most) debate ceases. And, it is highly unlikely that your neighbour will promote a product that they have not tested.
So, listen carefully the next time that you are offered a solution to your problem. Financiers sell investment options because they know the value of huge capital investments. Teachers sell education because they know the power of a disciplined and developed mind. Doctors sell prescriptions because they know how debilitating it is to be critically ill. Fashion designers sell beauty because they know that a good outfit can make the wearer feel like a million bucks!
Whatever product or service you have to offer, promote the best features. Acknowledge the flaw if asked, but always promote the best features so that your client will make an informed choice about what works.
For more innovations in work check out https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/46932764/1.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DThe_Caribbean_Psyche_in_Work_Wealth_and.pdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A%2F20191104%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20191104T163554Z&X-Amz-Expires=3600&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=981c89f9398ea2b4c1d2e13d11d936a8bd4430eb6ea9e4494e9ec8c6fc57376e and more encouraging solutions are also available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD .