Monday, May 9, 2016

Show Effectiveness with Stewardship Claims

The same selling appeal which raises probabilities of purchase in one context can actually lower them in another context. A set of researchers at Maastricht University, Loughborough University, and City University London, while exploring ways to build the commitment of consumers to protecting the environment, stumbled upon one such example of contextual reversal: Study participants were encouraged to think of their affinity with future generations. For those also persuaded that environmental protection would directly benefit the future generations, stronger affinity appeals increased a commitment to engaging in that protection. But for the study participants who were not persuaded of the direct benefits to future generations, stronger affinity appeals made commitment to protection less likely.
     We’re genetically programmed to nurture our offspring. Whatever you’re selling at retail to parents, you can realize more successes by bringing to the shopper’s mind the children. Psychological research at Cornell University and then later at San Francisco State University concluded that possessions used just by the purchaser bring less happiness than experiences shared with others. We want to provide for our biological descendants, and this generalizes to also wanting to be of assistance to future generations who are not our biological descendants. Adults may sacrifice their own comfort to provide adequately for household pets.
     So why did the researchers’ appeal end up decreasing the selling potential if evidence of effectiveness was lacking? Why wasn’t the result to just cancel out the extra punch? Part of the explanation is “reactance.” Reactance kicks in when shoppers sense that their freedom of choice is threatened. As you escalate the sales pressure, the shopper digs in, becoming progressively more determined not to do what you’re trying to convince them to do. They start debating each idea you present and step away from you.
     The other part of the explanation for the contextual reversal in this case is narcissism. Your shoppers are more self-centered than in the past and walk into a sales situation—whether the sales objective is a product, service, attitude, or behavior—accompanied by a compelling sense of entitlement. The less effective you are in mobilizing nurturing by showing effectiveness of an action, the greater will be a reactant move toward narcissism. With the pitch for environmental sensitivity, this meant a turning away from concerns about helping out future generations.
     In any retail persuasion based on the appeal of stewardship, be sure to give compelling evidence of the effectiveness.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Evolve the Most Basic Sales Pitches of All
Leapfrog Generations to Sell Experiences
Unbox the Resistant Customer
Read Kit Yarrow’s New Book

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