I Can’t Believe This Worked on Me!
post # 267 — December 21, 2006 — a Client Relations post
We all love to believe that we are very rational in our own buying, especially when it comes to purchases of important things like professional services. Nevertheless, there are times when marketing and selling approaches that we would like to believe donâ€™t work on us, well, they actually do.
For example, this is a terrible confession, but youâ€™ve almost always got me to complete those silly questionnaireâ€™s that come in the mail if you include a dollar bill with the questionnaire. Itâ€™s an old direct marketing technique, but just as Robert Cialdini analyzes in his justifiably famous book Influence , the â€œsense of obligationâ€ that putting that dollar in my wallet creates is enough to make me complete and return the darn questionnaire. And thereâ€™s no way Iâ€™m going to avoid the problem by throwing the dollar away, am I? And it will cost me more in time to send back than itâ€™s worth! I’m trapped with no way out!
Similarly, I hate it that Iâ€™m a sucker for the freebies that exhibitors give away at conferences. I know, if I had more courage, I could just go and help myself to the freebie (pens, computer flash memory, free software) without getting into a conversation with the people staffing the booth, but it just feels rude not to enquire politely about their product or service. Iâ€™m not saying I always end up buying, but a high percentage of the time they get my business card, and they follow up. The darned approach works on me and I wish it didnâ€™t.
Iâ€™ll confess that Iâ€™m also a sucker for â€œextra features.â€ If you show me a plain vanilla option and an â€œextra special option,â€ Iâ€™m going to listen hard for what the latter can do for me. I hate that I fall for it — but I do. I hate it that I buy the â€œextra insuranceâ€ when renting a car, even though my statistical training tells me itâ€™s a stupid purchase. They play on my insecurities, and they win.
Have any of you got confessions to make about marketing or selling tactics that worked on you that you really didnâ€™t think were going to? I donâ€™t just mean at the supermarket or the car showroom, but perhaps in hiring a professional provider to assist you.
Have you ever spent more than you planned to on a service provider? What did they do that â€œworkedâ€ on you? I don’t mean the honorable, trust-earning things that truly make you want to work with an honorable provider. I mean the things that make you say (as the title of this blogpost says): I can’t believe this worked on me!
Tom "Bald Dog" Varjan said:
A good few years ago I hired a web designer to do the graphics elements of my site. We signed the contract and a few days later she informed me that sheâ€™d created a â€œSite under construction pageâ€ and had sent me a $210 invoice for it.
But I was raised in a family where it was fine not to accept professionalsâ€™ services, but once accepted there was no haggling. So, although I know it was unfair, I paid and ended the contract.
So, Iâ€™ve become a non-haggler myself, and have absolutely zero toleration with people who try to haggle with me. I respect skilful negotiation, but passionately hate â€œthis is your best price, man?â€ type haggling questions. I smell troublesome clients behind them.
posted on December 22, 2006