Persuasion and specifics: Bring things to the beginning (of the month or quarter)

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Matt Handal has published a provocative interview with Robert Cialdini, who has written some powerful books about persuasion and psychology.  There’s much to learn here — in fact, so much that I discovered I was missing some key ideas on first and second reading.

Accordingly, I’ll break my report on this interview into some individual posts here. I urge you to read the entire interview and seek out Cialdini’s latest book, Pre-Suasion, for some ideas that will influence how you package and present your marketing messages. The reason: Subtle things you do before you ask for the order will dramatically improve your effectiveness, and your potential clients won’t even know how you are setting the stage for effectiveness. (Handal and Cialdini also discuss ethics here — because clearly these persuasive methods can be used for evil as well as good purposes.)

Consider this one, for example.

Is it better to have a key client meeting where you are seeking a positive decision on Dec. 1 or Nov. 30? The answer: Go for the first of the month, or quarter, or year, or any time when people generally think most about change.

Yes, your chances of a “yes” are significantly higher at the “beginning” date than at a middle or end date.

We all know that people make their resolutions for change at the beginning of the year, New Year’s resolutions. But it also turns out that people are more willing to change at the beginning of the month than at the end of the month. They are even more willing to change at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week. If we have a message for change, send it in the first few days of a month or the first couple of days of a week.

Handal writes in his interview: “That’s crazy” because obviously the particular time of month (or year) should have no objective impact on whether your presentation or pitch is successful. But it counts. And there are more persuasive concepts to share.

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