The “Influence” series:
“Commitment & Consistency”
Here’s how to literally change readers’ minds.
Cialdini* tells of a researcher who “surveyed” residents, asking them to predict their response if they were asked to spend three hours collecting money for cancer research.
Many said they would. But they didn’t know that a few days later the Cancer Society would knock, asking them to help. The result was a 700 percent increase in volunteers compared to control groups.
Why? Because those “surveyed” made a personal commitment – something we're driven to remain consistent with. And in the gap between visits, their self image changed – they started seeing themselves as more community-minded.
To apply this to influential writing:
- Offer something small for a low price to get them thinking of themselves as your customer instead of your prospect. A bigger sale may be easier later.
- Ask for a testimonial. This is a powerful mind-changer, forcing people to think of your positive attributes, then commit to them in writing. It’s also public, which greatly enhances the effect.
- Try to generate positive customer comments on your blog. (Don't be afraid of negative comments — responding well can win you raving fans.)
- Survey people as in the Cancer Society example above. (Third-party surveyors may be best!)
- Subtly remind them what great customers they are and how much business they’ve done with you.
- Affirm behaviour you want. E.g. if you want someone to keep sending you reports on time, write, “Thanks for sending the KPI report on time last week. Could you do the same with the sales figures? I need them by COB Friday. Thanks.”
Next month I’ll show you how to use “Social Proof” to help readers decide in your favour.