Successful selling is the art and science of influence. There are simple persuasion strategies that you should be using when you sell. Here’s one simple way to boost your sales results.
Tap into commitment and consistency.
A financial planner recently spoke to the engineering group that I lead. We spoke about his work before the meeting started. He uses dinner meetings to conduct seminars and meet prospects as many financial planners do. I asked about his participation rate for his seminars.
I was shocked when he told me his participation rate.
He told me that 30% of the people who sign up for his dinner programs actually show up for the meeting. That means he is paying for 70% of the dinners that he guarantees and no one eats them. What a waste of money. Over time he has learned to cut back the number of reservations he makes.
There’s a better way for him to save money.
What is commitment and consistency?
I suggested he use a simple persuasion strategy to increase attendance. It’s called commitment and consistency. What this means is that if people commit, either orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment.
This is because we want what we say to be congruent with our self-image.
I told him to ask people a simple question when they sign up for his programs instead of saying, “We’re looking forward to seeing you at the dinner meeting.” He should ask, “Would you call us to let us know if your plans change and you’re unable to attend the dinner?” When a person answers, “Sure I will” is when commitment and consistency begins working.
What happens is that the person unconsciously made a commitment to the financial planner by announcing out loud that he would call if his plans changed. Unconsciously, he will feel badly if he decides not to attend without giving a cancellation notice.
Don’t take my word for it. This strategy has been used to decrease the no shows in restaurants that take reservations. In an effort to encourage people to keep their reservations, a restaurant changed the way they talked with their customers.
Instead of saying, “Please call if you have to cancel,” they asked, “Will you please call if you need to cancel?” This simple change altered customer behavior and decreased their no-show rate from 30% to 10%.
Will you incorporate commitment and consistency into your selling? You just might if you answered yes.