Jul 16, 2013

One Thing Leads to Another


This post is part of a series on Design for Engagement.

Engagement > Persuasiveness>

Consistency

Brother, can you spare the time? (Banksy)
Steve Delott is a persuasive man. So persuasive, in fact, that he has been prohibited from selling securities in the state of Illinois as a result of misleading sales techniques. He offers the following advice to financial consultants meeting with prospective clients:
“Ask for their driver’s license at the end of the appointment, saying money cannot be transferred to your care without it. If they promptly pull out their wallet and hand over the documentation – which the vast majority do – you know the sale is yours.” (reported by Olen 2012).
Steve’s tactic is based on the fact that people prefer to act consistently with their own past actions and choices. The drive for consistency runs deep. Consistency forms part of our concepts of Justice, Integrity, and Identity. We expect actions to be consistent with words, and behavior to be consistent over time. The “driver’s license close” works because, having said yes to the first request, the prospective client is biased toward saying yes to the next request. Beggars who stop you in the street to ask you for the time before asking for money exploit this same rule of consistency.
Cook's Illustrated asks for your email address
before asking you to buy a subscription.
Websites use the principle of consistency when they ask visitors for small, relatively insignificant pieces of information before proceeding to a larger request. For example, Cook’s Illustrated asks you for your email address before asking you to purchase a subscription.

The rule of Consistency is also part of the reason it’s easier to get people to say yes to a renewal of a subscription than an initial sale (not having to fill out forms also helps by making the purchase more immediate). One yes leads to the next.

A voluntary, active, and public commitment by your audience provides the strongest drive for consistency. For example, the fundraising campaign Movember asks participants to grow a moustache to demonstrate their support for the cause of prostate cancer research. Mo Bros know that, once having made this publicly visible commitment, it’s difficult to deny the request for a donation.
The Movember journey proceeds from registration to moustache to donation.

Bottom line

  • Ask your audience for a small, easily agreeable, action before a proceeding to a larger request.
  • A voluntary, active, and public commitment by your audience provides the strongest drive for consistency.


Thanks for reading to the end. Why not leave a comment? Please engage.

This post is part of a series on building customer engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

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