|on 13 Sep Posted by Admin Category: Internet Related|
by Karl Hourigan
The Fifth Step: Persuade
We conducted a lot of research into the B2B buying process, and this research was presented in The BuyerSphere Project book. One of the ideas explored in the book is the need for IQ and EQ in the buying process. IQ refers to information; it’s the data, product specs, hard facts. EQ is the emotional side of the equation. You’ve no doubt heard the cliché that people buy from people, and it’s true. At various points in the business purchase process, we need emotional support to know that we are making the right decision for ourselves and our company.
There are some reliable human traits we share when we make decisions. Understanding how they work can help vendors influence a buyer’s choice.
In his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persusasion”, Dr. Robert Cialdini describes what he calls “weapons of automatic influence”. He compares these influencers to jujitsu, the art of using the opponent’s own strength against them. These automatic influencers can be summed up in these principles:
If someone does you a favour, our descriptive norm is that we want to return the favour at some point. The garage that stays open and fixes your flat tire when you come in 5 minutes before their closing time is doing you a big favour and most people would feel a need to reciprocate in some way, by recommending the shop or bringing them business directly.
Commitment and Consistency
Once we start down a path, it’s hard to abandon it, especially if we have publicly committed to it. A commitment ties our sense of self to a particular course of action. In terms of Sales this means that once we get a show of commitment from a prospect, we immediately increase the likelihood of being the final choice.
Despite the fact that we all like to be thought of as free thinkers, we are wired to be followers to some extent. If we see enough people doing (or buying) the same thing, we are usually more easily persuaded that it’s the right choice. And why not? It’s a quick tool for making decisions when we are unsure ourselves.
Liking (and Empathy)
Guess what? We buy more from people we like. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, we want to be “enchanted”. We tend to like people who are similar to us, people who give us praise and compliments, and people who cooperate with us towards mutual goals.
Authority, in its various guises, has been shown to be very persuasive indeed. The most persuasive authority is one that is perceived to be both trustworthy and knowledgeable. To establish your authority, take a look at your credentials: are you accredited by a recognized professional body or institute? Do you publish thought leadership collateral? Do you blog, speak at industry panels, or participate in activities to advance your industry’s understanding? Do you have experience, delighted customers, an appropriate appearance? It all adds up to give you authority.
Are you selling forbidden fruit? We want what we’re afraid we can’t have. Fear of losing out on something is a proven persuasion technique: “this is the last one in the shop, I have another customer coming in to look at it this evening.” That fear of losing out, a form of risk, is very real. According to a study in the Journal of Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, potential losses figure far more heavily in managers’ decision-making than potential gains.
An overriding theme in B2B purchases is “risk”, and the purchasing processes many businesses set up has a lot to do with risk avoidance and mitigation. Once a company makes the shortlist in the buyer’s consideration, it’s time to highlight the differences of your company’s value proposition. When the buyer is asking (directly or more likely, indirectly) why they should choose your company, keep in mind that different people in their organization are looking for different kinds of information; some of it is reassurance (think testimonials, references, case studies, guarantees, awards, client list) and some of it is about the nuts and bolts of how your product or service will work for them and how it will integrate with their work flow (think videos, brochures, technical specifications, flow charts).
Biography / Resume : Karl joined Mediative’s service delivery team in 2008. A year later, he moved to the company’s research department where he conducted online surveys, eye-tracking studies, one-on-one interviews and usability testing. Most recently, he transitioned to the marketing department. Before Mediative, Karl worked in sales and marketing. In 1997, he caught the digital bug and became the original “webmaster” for Roland Canada Music. Around the same time, he began teaching the relatively new topic of Internet marketing to college and university students. Karl’s insatiable curiosity and drive to get to the core and substance of every situation has served him well in his various roles at Mediative.