Telling a customer they are wrong!
Sometimes the customer is not right. They think your price is too high when it’s average for your market. They think a lousy competitor can give them better value. You can’t argue with them, but how can you make them see the light without wrecking your sale?
Recent research from Dartmouth College may provide a solution. Subjects were presented with factual information that directly contradicted their political beliefs. The researchers deliberately chose topics that were polarising – the “surge” strategy of sending more US troops into Iraq, and job growth during Obama’s first year in office.
Liberals tended to think that Bush’s surge strategy failed – when it did in fact reduce violence in Iraq. Conservatives were convinced that the economy got worse after Obama was sworn in – when in fact jobs increased. So how could they be coaxed into accepting the evidence that refuted these dearly held beliefs?
The researchers tried three methods: giving people a written paragraph that laid out the facts; asking participants to reflect on a positive life experience, so they’d be less defensive and more open minded; and presenting the facts visually in a chart or graph.
The most effective approach by far was presenting the information visually because our brains prioritise visual information over words. Cognitive research also suggests that the human brain has is more likely to see visuals as “true” and words as, literally, “debatable.” A classic study from the University of Minnesota, for example, found that presentations using visual aids are 43% more persuasive than unaided presentations.
So when dealing with a “confused” buyer, try using images to make your case. The visuals can be simple – in fact, the charts and graphs used in the study weren’t complex. They just presented the information in a way that was easy to understand.
This technique may not work every time, but if you’re stuck with someone who wholeheartedly believes the wrong thing, show them a chart, close your mouth and you just might win them over.
How do you persuade a customer who is mistaken?
Adapted from an article by Michael Boyette, entrepreneur.com
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