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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Persuasion Tactics Simplified


Interested in using simple tactics to persuade others?

If you were a product development manager who was interested in raising the sales of your product, what would you do? Would you give the consumer more choices to choose from?

Logically, the more choices given to a customer, the better the expected sales. However, do you know that offering people more might make them want it less?

According to research conducted by behavioral scientist Sheena Lyengar, employees of a given company were asked to select mutual funds for a voluntary retirement plan.

The results show that the more mutual funds choices that the employees were given, the lower was the participation rate. When only two funds were offered, the level of participation was about 75%. However, when fifty nine funds were offered, the level of participation dropped down to about 60%.

This counter-intuitive result stems from the fact that when people are offered too many choices, this frustrates the decision making process, resulting in a reduced interest in the product.

This phenomenon transcends itself in supermarkets as well. According to an experiement conducted at a local supermarket, when the number of flavors of jams was reduced from twenty-four to six, the percentage of people who actually made a purchase increased from 3 percent to 30 percent.

This simple persuasion strategy appears in advertisement as well.

In a study conducted by Michaela Wanke, students were asked to compare an ad for BMW that states:

"BMW or Mercedes? There are many reasons to choose a BMW. Can you name 10?"

against a slightly modified ad

"BMW or Mercedes? There are many reasons to choose a BMW. Can you name ONE?"

Afterward, the students were asked to give their opinions about BMW and Mercedes. Surprisingly, the first advertisement that asked for 10 reasons resulted in generally lower evaluations of BMW and higher evaluations of Mercedes compared to the modified ad.

So, what is the reason for this result?

It is speculated that when the students were asked to come up with only a single reason for the BMW, they had an easier task as compared to the more difficult task of naming ten reasons. Hence, rather than using the number of reasons to evaluate the car brands, the participants instead based their judgment on the ease or difficulty of the assigned task to make their selection.

This result reinforces the main idea of this post, which is often times, the most effective persuasion tactic or strategy is the more simpler one. People inherently like easy solutions in life. Simplify your persuasive arguments by leaving out all the unnecessary clutter and just present the clear facts and simple alternatives.


Patricia Rockwell said...

Yup. Simplicity.

mohdaktar said...

Its common in all.more interest less choices...less interest more choices

Mishu said...

Great Post. Before reading ur post, i believed people will like to have more options. But ur post changed my believe.
Keep posting such great things.

Unknown said...

hmmm...you are quite pro...