When it comes to increasing sales, we have to talk about changing the mindset of belief and behavior of buyers.
The traditional approach to getting people to change their mindset of belief and behavior is to point out the negative aspects as threats and warnings of bad consequences. Think of the well-meaning warning labels introduced on cigarette packages to deter smoking, Or, the sneaky approach of drug advertising listing all the side-effects, including death, but showing someone happily benefiting from the same drug. Neither proving to be a very effective deterrent.
A variation of increasing sales is found in sales copy lore as “agitating the pain.” This is where you remind buyers of their pain as you lead them to your solution. By using a pain reminder, it sets the brain up for being receptive to change when a solution of pain relief is offered.
But, here’s the problem. You work hard to understand your target audience and the business pain they suffer with. You design an innovative product to addresses that pain. Your marketing copy covers all the strategic points. However, when sales are less than expected, you’re left trying to figure out why this pain approach isn’t producing better results.
Some customers are savvier and are turned off by the same pain marketing formula over and over. Other customers may think your solution is too good to be true. There are also customers who are tempted to purchase but the idea of changes is overwhelming.
Marketing experts will tell you to expect around 3-4% (even 1-2%) purchase rate from a sales campaign. Increasing sales means you need all kinds of conversion methods, a larger list and ideally JV relationships. That’s a lot of effort. Or, is there something else you can do first?
Increasing sales with neuroscience.
Neuroscience researcher, Dr. Tali Sharot, at University College London “… focuses on how emotion, motivation, and social factors influence our expectations, decisions, and memories.”
In her studies, she asked 100 people to score the possibility of 80 different negative experiences that might occur over the course of their lifetime. Besides their own estimates, they were then given estimate opinions from two different experts. One provided a positive outcome (a lower risk of occurrence) and the other a negative outcome (a higher risk of occurrence).
The results indicate people tend to change their belief when comparing it to the expert with the more desirable (lower risk) chance.
In other words, people are more likely to change based on good news than bad news.
According to Sharot, the brain really doesn’t want to hear the bad news, It prefers the good news that projects a lower risk. It’s one reason why threatening with the negative consequences has a hard time changing behavior. The brain wants to reject the bad news and will try to balance that out with all kinds of rationalizations. In the case of smoking, “they’ll find a cure before I need one,” “they’ll create a healthier cigarette,” or “no one I know died young from smoking.”
The marketing equivalent to this is to go beyond agitating the pain by offering a solution product. The brain of the buyer needs to hear the good news. One way to reinforce the good news is to promote all the benefits that come with your solution.
That’s as far as most marketing strategies get. If that was the only thing we needed to do, sales would be rolling in. Rather, think of benefits as being a primer — a way to get the brain in a good mood.
Sharot found that there were three principles needed to increase the chances of changing belief and behavior.
As part of the human tribe, we respond to the opinions of others. We become more willing to change in order to be better ourselves and be liked, acknowledged and respected by others. Social incentives play a large part in activating parts of the brain where change can happen.
Three types of social incentives you can easily add to your marketing campaign include storytelling, activity feedback, and endorsements.
In storytelling, it’s your story that matters most. It’s your willingness to be vulnerable and share your growth so others can identify with you. It’s the good news a buyer can use to estimate their chances of resolving the same pain problem.
There’s also activity feedback where a buyer gets a sense of good news. This could be a plugin or widget recording real-time sales, the number of social media “likes,” and pop-ups notice of friends, or a first name buyers and their city when they purchase.
Endorsements are more relevant when they are authentic. This may come from a recognized authority or from someone honestly sharing their struggle to reach a good news outcome. Having lots testimonials can add credibility but at the same time, it can lose meaning if the content doesn’t sound authentic.
Your brain can really kick into making a change with an immediate reward. While a future reward may be greater, the default brain program is more likely to go with certainty of now over the uncertainty of a future reward.
While you might be able to sell your buyer on how great your product is, your buyer is looking for some form of certainty your solution solves their problem. This means looking at your solution process and finding where making a change in one area will provide some initial results. Once a buyer’s brain sees results, it’s willing to continue and anticipate future results.
It could be a particular yoga stretch that gives a greater range of motion. It could be a menu plan that gives a sense of more energy before any weight loss occurs. It could be a series of basic steps that get you up and running as you learn how to add more complex functions. The idea is not having to wait until the end to experience a rewarding result.
When it comes to progress monitoring, the brain is better at coding information related to making progress. Expecting progress with negative warnings and threats is less effective because the brain becomes non-responsive when acting on fear rather than motivation.
Early on, the Internet had a large market for informational products. It was sufficient to create content spelling out why you needed to do it, what you needed to do and how to do it.
Today, the market for information products hasn’t changed but the brains of buyers want more. They are looking for support during the process; they want to know they are doing it right; they want to get their questions answered; they want motivation and accountability partners.
It’s time to move beyond offering a product solution. Increasing sales now means changing belief and behavior by appealing to a buyer’s brain with an added service. It could be a mastermind group, a private Facebook page, or different levels of private or group counseling. It’s about offering the good news of how change can be the solution to their pain point and how they can be supported during the process.
Increasing sales begins with offering the good news of how change can be the solution to buyer’s pain points and how they can be supported during the process.
What changes can you make to your product or service that would increase sales by appealing to the brains of your buyers?
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