Monday, January 30, 2017

Enhance Subjective Knowledge via Identity

What your shoppers think they know might not match well what they do know. This is of concern because consumers’ impressions of what they know—their subjective knowledge—is often more important in purchase decisions than is their actual, objective level of knowledge. Moreover, salespeople can inadvertently decrease subjective knowledge while trying to build objective knowledge. As shoppers learn more, they become sensitized to how much more they should be learning.
     We’d like our customers to feel confident in the decisions they make. Researchers at University of Hong Kong, University of China, and Peking University say that’s most likely to happen when our customers have excellent self-esteem in general or when they believe they have superb expertise about the particular product or service category they’re considering.
     But for the many who harbor lingering self-doubts, those researchers discovered another successful technique: Help the person become aware of the different roles they occupy in life. Ask them about their job, their family status, their leisure pursuits, their community activism.
     None of this needs to relate directly to the particular item category where the shopper starts out feeling like they don’t know enough. They could bring to a shopping trip for tires concerns that their acquaintance with tire selection is lacking. You’ll enhance their confidence in their knowledge by asking about their occupation, then about their kids, and then about what they like to do in their off-hours. None of it needs to directly reference the shopping for tires.
     Often, you’re more likely to make a sale when you chat up the person first. Researchers at University of Minnesota, Utrecht University, and University of Twente saw how brief chitchat at the start, such as, “How are you today?,” softens up the prospect’s resistances to a solicitation which follows. But this tactic of talking specifically about different identities of the shopper goes beyond unfocused chitchat. Purposefully widening the perception of range of identities also heightens the perception of subjective knowledge about a range of products and services for sale.
     In using this tactic, stay aware that we don't want customers making misinformed purchase decisions or misusing what they buy. They could hurt themselves. They also could damage the merchandise. We want our patrons to be not only confident, but also what consumer psychologists call “well-calibrated.” In well-calibrated customers, the discrepancy between subjective knowledge and objective knowledge is small. Their shopping confidence is deserved.

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

Click below for more: 
Calibrate Your Shoppers Well
Raise Your Community’s Aspirations
Warm Up Cold Calls
Give a Vocabulary for Richer Shopping
Dream Consumption Visions of the Past

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