Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spot Apathetic Resisters

Consumer researchers are interested not only in why people buy, but also in why people resist buying. For instance, a group at University of Texas-Austin, Loyola University in Chicago, University of Stirling, and University of Bath explored why high school students resisted buying into the idea of attending the prom.
     The researchers identified four types of reasons:
  • They wanted to make a statement to others 
  • They wanted to make a statement to themselves 
  • They predicted they’d feel bad if they attended 
  • They were what the researchers called apathetic resisters 
     This fourth one might sound like an oxymoron. Resistance requires an active effort, so how can you resist apathetically?
     The answer is in the power of inertia.
     Sitting before the parole board, an inmate is asked, “What is the first thing you’ll do if we release you to the community?”
     “I’ll build the biggest bomb I can and blow up this place!”
     Based on that answer, the board promptly turns down the man’s bid for parole, telling him, “We’d like you to rethink and revise that decision. In twelve months, we’ll again consider releasing you.”
     Each year, the inmate appears before the board, each time he’s asked, “What is the first thing you’ll do if we release you to the community?,” he answers, “I’ll build the biggest bomb I can and blow up this place!,” and the parole board members recommend he develop a better plan.
     Then one year, the answer is dramatically different. The man says, “When I get out of prison, the first thing I’ll do is to find a job as an accountant, making use of the thorough training I’ve received while incarcerated here. I realize that because of my felony record, it will be a challenge to become a Certified Public Accountant, but I shall persevere. In any case, my research has shown me that there is a demand for talented accountants. My instructors have told me I am especially talented, so I fully expect to be very successful financially.”
     Highly impressed, one of the parole board members asks, “What will you do with all that money?”
     “I’ll buy the biggest bomb I can and blow up this place.”
     The inmate in that story apathetically resisted opportunities to change. When you spot this type of reasoning in a store shopper you are serving, recognize the depth of effort it would probably take to close the sale.

Click below for more: 
Acknowledge Inertia in Consumer Behavior

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