Consumer behavior is one of the most important areas of understanding for any great sales or telemarketing professional.
The following ideas were presented to me in my early direct sales days, some 12 years ago. I have heard these principles explained many ways over the years by many great teachers. I believe the original source of this work is Dr Robert Cialdini who is an expert in the science of influence.
My ideas on consumer behavior here are based loosely on his work and my understanding of these principles. I have always known them as The Principles of Influence.
Understanding how people think and why they act as they do is fascinating. It has been one of my main interests whilst working in this fabulous Sales industry.
On this page I am concerned mainly with influencing Consumer Behaviour. By understanding how people are influenced we can adapt our telemarketing calls to get better and better results.
So, let’s look at the principles of influence as they relate to consumer bahaviour, I’ll explain what I have found them to mean and the ways in which we can use these principles in our Sales and telemarketing process.
Consumer Behaviour and the Principles of Influence
Law of Authority
Generally, people are more likely to take notice of and listen to a person in a position of authority or someone who is considered an expert.
We know this well, it is why we listen to police officers, train conductors and security staff. The uniform they wear signals their authority and instills a sense of safety that it is okay to do as they say.
This is similar with an expert. Just remember the last time you went shopping for a piece of technological equipment. If you have a salesperson who seems to be an expert, that is they can tell you what the equipment is, what it does, why it does it and how it compres to other models, then you feel comfortable taking their advice, as opposed to the sales person who says, “I’m not really sure, but it says here on the box that….”
Law of Social Proof
When a person can see or hear that others are doing something or buying something, they feel more compelled to get involved.
The best example of this I have seen in years is the Apple I-Phone. Everyone has one, why? Because everyone has one!
I personally knew nothing about Apple and their products prior to getting my I-Phone. But I felt comfortable, excited even, about buying one because I could see that so many other people had one and were happy with it. This is the law of social proof.
Another example is the old one about walking down the street and seeing a man standing there looking up at the top of a building. What is he looking at? So we look up too, our interest is peeked and we want to know what is going on. Before you know it, there is a crowd of us standing in the street looking up at the top of that building.
People Buy off People they like; People like people like themselves
This one explains itself really doesn’t it? But let me clarify.
Take a moment to think about your group of friends. I bet you that it consists of many people who are somewhat like yourself, whether they have a similar background, interests, work or just live in a similar area, they will be like you in some way. That is because generally, we like people who are like ourselves.
But we don’t just like to be friends with people like us, we also prefer to buy off people like us. Why? Because we feel comfortable with them, therefore we trust them.
Law of Consistency
People like to be and feel consistent.
If they have always lived in a certain area, they will probably continue to do so, if they have always worked in a white collar industry, they will probably continue to do so. We also like to feel that we are acting in a consistent way as inconsistency can leave us feeling unstable and unsure of ourselves. As an example of this, if I was speaking to someone, giving “yes” answer after “yes” answer to theri questions, it would be inconsistent for me to suddenly answer “no”.
Law or Reciprocity
This law says simply, that if I give you something, you feel compelled to give me something in return.
The absolute best example I have of this, is the spare Christmas present I keep in the boot of my car each year as I do the Christmas rounds of family and friends. I’m sure that some of you do this too. You see, we feel bad if someone gives us a gift and we have nothing for them in return.
Charity collectors and religious organizations often use this principle by giving people a sticker, card or other small gift before asking for a donation. It is also widely used by street entertainers who give us great performances so that we feel obligated to thank them in payment.
Law of Scarcity
The more scarce or unavailable something is, the more we tend to want it.
This idea is often used in real estate and Car sales. As soon as we know that someone else is interested in the one we like, suddenly we feel a need to make that commitment to buy much more quickly. We don’t like the idea that we may miss out on something or that someone else may get what we wanted for ourselves.
Law of exclusivity
If something is exclusive, we often feel a sense of specialness.
Like the A class seats at a concert, or the VIP section of a party or bar. If something is exclusive, again, we value it so much more highly. It separates us from the crowd and says “I’m special and that’s why I was offered this”.
Law of Commitment
If people have on some level commited to something, they feel obliged to carry it through to completion.
For instance, when you are asked by your hairdresser to call and cancel if you can’t make your appointment, and you verbally agree that you will do this, you will generally call. Had they not asked you though, you may not have felt it necessary to let them know.
You had agreed, therefore you see it through. Much like moving house; if a friend asks you to help them move house and you agree, you are unlikely to cancel, even if you really don’t feel up to it when moving day arrives.
How do we use this Consumer Behaviour Information?
These Principles of Influence, when taken into consideration along with Sales Skills and an understanding of the Sales Process give us a consumer behavior blueprint.
With this consumer behavior blueprint we can then begin to write our own Sales Scripts in a way that will give us our best Telemarketing results!