Influence customers to say ‘yes’ to big decisions

Gilan Gork is an expert mentalist, bestselling author, and global speaker in more than 30 countries. He deconstructs influence so you can get what you want in positive ways.

In sales there are two goals which almost seem to contradict:

1. Help customers make faster buying decisions (shorten your sales cycle).

2. Help customers make bigger buying decisions (increase the value of each sale).

Most often the bigger the value of the sale, the slower customers are to make a decision. But what if there was a way to help more customers feel comfortable saying yes more easily?

In a famous psychology experiment, Jonathan Freedman and Scott Fraser asked California homeowners to agree to install a massive billboard on their front lawns. It read ‘Be A Safe Driver’. Only 20 per cent agreed.

So they tried again with different houses in the same neighbourhood, except this time they added a little step. Ten days prior they sent two people to ask the homeowners if they’d sign a petition to ‘Keep California Beautiful’. How many people do you estimate said yes to commitment? Pretty much anyone who was home. Then, a week or so later, the researchers arrived to propose the billboard. The number of agreements rocketed to 50 per cent.

The influence was thanks to the principle of ‘commitment and consistency’ which, simply put, is that people like to remain consistent with things they’ve previously said or done. Signing the petition gave the homeowners a sense of pride in caring. They perceived themselves as pro-active citizens who take action to improve their neighbourhood. So, when asked about the billboard, it was naturally more likely they’d remain consistent with this, and say yes to the bigger commitment.

Use this principle in your sales cycle to positively influence customers to say yes to bigger buying decisions more often. I’ve written a ton of ideas here:


Also check out:

How to get past ‘gatekeepers’, according to mentalist Gilan Gork

#GilanGork: Is cold calling dead?

Rid yourself of anxiety in sales

Latest from Sandton Chronicle