“Why” is a fundamental question we naturally seek answers from from a very early age. Who else has been trapped in that seemingly never ending series of questions from children when every question starts with “why”?
Your answers would always begin with “Because…” and invariably end the series with “Because I say so” or “ Just because” to try and stem the flow of increasingly tricky questions.
Our natural search for reasons and explanations can be used in sales and persuasion so this week’s magic word is “because”. A well-quoted experiment back in the 1970s by Dr. Ellen Langer looked at how persuasive people could be jumping the queue to use the office photocopier (remember it was the 70’s).
These were the results:
- Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine? — 60% allowed them to jump the queue
Quite high – it helps to ask for consent.
- Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush? — 94%
Amazingly high by adding a valid reason that supports their request and using “because”.
- Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies? — 93%
Even more amazing, the results are almost as high even when the reason is not a strong one.
There’s valuable insight in this experiment that we can apply to Trusted Selling. First, it’s surprising how well people tend to respond to a request when you first ask for their consent. And yet people respond even better to request or an idea when they are given a rationale that supports what you’re asking them to do.
“Call us today” is not very compelling
“Call us today because this offer expires on 30th June” is more compelling
These findings suggest that accompanying statements or requests with a “because” statement, even if the reasoning seems to be fairly simple can be extremely beneficial.
Several brands also use the word “because” in marketing. For example the advertising slogan for L’Oréal has been “Because you’re worth it” for the last 40 years. Consumers found that the phrase created strong consumer involvement, and satisfaction. More recently L’Oréal Kids came up with a slogan for their kids line, “Because we are worth it too”. It appeals to both our logic and our emotions as it makes us feel good.
How to use this in YOUR business:
- Always give a reason. Human brain is wired to react when it hears because. It is a magical word. It is an automatic trigger for compliance, and connects cause and effect in our brains. Take a look to see how many times I have given reasons on this page.
- If you make a special offer/discount or give something for free – say why. Otherwise your audience might be suspicious and not believe in your offer (they may expect there is some catch). You will hear me do this on my webinars and it is a great way to do trusted selling. This appeals to the logical and critical parts of our brain
- In case of any delays and/or faults in a product – stating why that happened will help you get the client to understand, be less critical. This will limit refunds and will help maintain loyalty. Keeping the communication going and letting people know why things aren’t the way they should be means they accept it. For example I didn’t have time to write this on Monday, as usual, as I was attending a funeral. But I let you all know and there have been no complaints, and I hope you are still reading this….?