The same thing happened to me more than once at more than one sushi joint. The sushi chef put a little wooden platter in front of me with ginger and wasabi. When you eat sushi, you have to have soy sauce, ginger and wasabi. But, I hadn’t ordered any sushi. Since the ginger and wasabi was already in front of me, I felt like I was already in the process of ordering sushi. I had no intention of ordering sushi when I walked in that restaurant. I wanted teriyaki. But, because of the ginger and wasabi, I ordered teriyaki, and sushi. Then, I went to another branch of the same restaurant in a different nearby town, and the same thing happened. Bizarre.
My question is, how can you apply the art of subtle persuasion in your business?
The sushi restaurant got me to buy something by giving me what they wanted me to buy — or at least a part of it. Psychologically, they got me in a buying mood just by letting me see something in front of me. If you are in the call center business and you want your clients to purchase data analysis from you as well, how would you do this?
Don’t give them the chance to say, “No!”
One way is to have packages where if you purchase a certain number of hours of call center services, you get one hour of data analysis per month at no extra cost. As clients get used to getting the data analysis reports, they might develop an interest. They might start asking questions. They might realize the value of the data analysis and then want more hours of data analysis. The key here is that you gave them the report without them asking for it, and without them consenting to get it. The minute you ask permission, most people will say no. People are in the habit of saying no to things that they don’t absolutely need, or that they are not in the habit of getting. The minute you get them into the habit without them saying yes, they will be a lot more likely to purchase from you.
If you studied sales, you will know the difference between a cold sale and a warm sale. Cold selling means selling to absolute strangers with whom you have no credibility. Cold selling is much harder, and generally doesn’t work as well as warm selling. A smart marketing understands the value of getting to know your prospects and clients one by one. You get to know their likes, dislikes and needs. But, most of all, they get to know you and get comfortable with you. If you give them great answers to questions and are nice to them, they will be much more likely to buy from you in the long run than from a stranger. Investing time getting to know people is a great sales technique — it just involves making casual small talk! If you are bad at small talk, it is time to practice getting good at it! But, the concept of getting existing clients to purchase new services by putting the service in front of them at no cost is another manifestation of warm sales technique!
Just giving someone a sample without them asking for it is often a great way to get clients. But, sometimes, labor resources come at a hefty price, and you can’t just give them away to anyone. You need to select. It is a great idea to give free samples of your work to prospective clients. Or, give free samples of additional services to existing clients. The quantity of what you give for free should be small enough that it doesn’t put you out of business, but large enough that it gives the client an idea of what the service is like and how well you perform it. I created an entire business giving away free samples of advertising. My business now makes around half a million dollars a year and I still give free samples to about three thousand prospects per year to keep the ball rolling!
Think about the long run
Many businesses don’t like the idea of giving anything away for free. After all, they are there to make money, not to lose money. But, when you give something for free to an appreciative client, they will remember you long after the fact. Don’t waste free services on those who don’t appreciate it otherwise the work goes down the drain, but consider this — if you give $200 of services away, and you are rewarded by $200,000 worth of business from that client in the long run, not to mention potential referrals, was it worth it? What if you had to give samples to ten people to get that big client? Is that worth it?
One way to make sure your prospect appreciates what you are giving them is to make them pay for their sample, but at a discounted price. You can give them the first 20 hours at a reduced price for example. If they don’t like the quality of the work, they haven’t lost much. But, if they do like it, they can stay with your company forever.
Tips for the road
If you are always giving your clients valuable tips, they is another technique that persuades them to trust you as a source of information as well as services. By giving tips, you mold their mind into associating you with the solutions to their problems. In two minutes of strategic talking, you have channeled their thinking into buying without even trying to sell them anything. Credibility, helpfulness, and knowing you makes people want to buy from you. So, don’t focus on hard selling, focus on getting people comfortable with you which means trusting you.
Think about using subtle persuasion in your business. Each of us is in a different business. But, if you spend a few minutes philosophizing about this last article, you might come up with some great ideas to make your business double its sales! Change the way you think about business and prosper!