Bypassing Your Prospects’ Hard-Wired Conversion Obstacles, Pt. 3
Another set of psychological phenomenon you ly applicable to business and marketing is in the realm of cognitive biases.
The brain is not — and cannot be — completely objective in perceiving information. You can become a much more effective communicator and persuader by understanding the angles and spins that our minds apply to everybit of information we consume.
Let’s examine how cognitive biases and think about ethical ways we can use the brain’s predispositions to strengthen our marketing messages.
We are wired to look for evidence that supports what we already believe to be true. We tend to interpret data in ways that agree with our positions. We value people who are on our side of an issue or debate – we have an automatic kinship with them.
The opposite is also true. We tend to reject information that contradicts our opinions. That’s known as the Semmelweis reflex. In fact, information that disagrees with our preconceptions has been shown to strengthen our original beliefs. That’s called the backfire effect.
Our brains need consistency and predictability, so we automatically find ways to support the paradigms we hold. Information that contradicts our ideas about the world is often discarded out of hand.
That’s why it’s difficult for a Democrat to become a Republican, or a Yankees fan to start rooting for the Red Sox.
You need to present your product or service and your message in a way that agrees with what your audience already believes. Confirm their suspicions about themselves and the world around them.
You have to relate to the members of your audience right where they are. People have a hard time spending money on solutions for issues that haven’t “hit home” for them yet. We’re inclined to think:
“That could never happen here…”
“I’ll never be in that situation…”
Even if we logically understand the possibility, we don’t feel the need commit to anything that seems far removed from our everyday experience. Our brains can’t contemplate every conceivable occurrence that might come to pass in our lifetime. So the status quo becomes our default mental setting and we don’t give much thought to other scenarios.
You’ve probably noticed how hard it can be to convince people that danger may be on the horizon if it’s outside their personal “normal.” That’s one of the reasons disasters like Hurricane Katrina wreak as much havoc as they do. That same bias is present in all of your customers.
Are you selling a vaccine or a pain killer? Ibuprofen is almost always easier to sell than flu shots.
People tend to choose the option they know best instead of the best available option. (This is another reason why “building a better mousetrap” doesn’t guarantee people will beat a path to you door.)
This raises 2 important questions:
1) Are you building valued relationships with your audience
2) Are you providing enough information as your prospects need to feel confident in choosing you?
You can see how important transparency, honesty and credibility. This cognitive predisposition is the one of the psychological reasons behind the Know-Like-Trust concept.
In Jack Trout and Al Ries’ 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Law #1 says that it’s better to be first than it is to be better. Law #3 states that it’s better to be first in mind than first in the market.
How well-known are you in your arena? What can you do to improve that?
This is all about framing your message properly.
When you properly set expectations in the mind of your potential clients, you affect their how they perceive the topic you’re discussing. You can make them see what you want them to see, just like a magician…
Education is a wonderful selling tool. You can use it to shape your prospects’ opinions about how to shop in your industry, which gives you the upper hand over all of your competitors.
When people we trust share information with us about something, it has a huge impact on how we experience that thing in the future. For example, when I was young, my mother told me that I didn’t like cranberry sauce, even though I don’t remember having tasted them before. I can’t tell you how many years I missed out on eating them, without ever trying them for myself.
When we’re not experts on a particular subject, we usually take what the “real experts” have to say at face value (unless it contradicts our current worldview). They define how we think about that topic. Parents, doctors, mentors, etc. have tremendous influence because of this fact.
So, how are you framing your marketing conversations? What expectations are you setting?
Donnie Bryant is a direct response copywriter living near Chicago, IL, USA. He specializes in increasing conversion, sales and profits for businesses and entrepreneurs by injecting true persuasive salesmanship into their marketing messages. Visit his website at http://donnie-bryant.com