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5 More Scientifically Proven Ways To Sell More Stuff With Less Work

Last month, I gave you ten tips for being more persuasive and selling more stuff.

This month, we'll continue the series with 5 more ways to persuade your prospects to become customers, including a method for completely changing a person's mind, which isn't always easy.

You can also apply these techniques in your personal life. Want to persuade your child to do his chores without complaining, or your spouse to agree to your vacation plan? Then continue reading...

1: Here's How a Simple Question Improves Conversions

Researchers asked potential voters to predict whether they would vote on election day and to explain why.

Those who were asked to make a prediction had a 25% higher turnout rate than those who were not asked.

What's going on here?

To begin, when asked whether they will engage in a socially desirable behavior in the future, people feel compelled to say yes in order to avoid looking bad.

Second, once people have predicted that they will vote, they are motivated to act in accordance with the statement they just made.

When a restaurant encountered a problem with people failing to show up for their reservations, they stopped saying, "Please call us if you need to cancel." Instead, they asked "Will you please call us if you have to cancel?". People, of course, said yes, and their no-show rate dropped from 30% to 10%.

For decades, salespeople have used a variation of this commitment technique. "Would you allow us to insure you today if I can show you how to save 50% on your car insurance?"

Perhaps dividing it into two questions is a slightly better way to go about it.

"Would you want to put that money in your pocket if you could save half of what you're paying for insurance for the exact same coverage?"

"And if I can show you exactly how to do that, I'm wondering if you'll let us start saving you money right away?"

As an aside, the phrase "You will allow us to save you that money beginning today" is an embedded command in the second question.

How does this commitment technique work online?

You can request a commitment if you're hosting a live event, such as a webinar or Facebook Live. "Are you willing to go to any length to ensure your family's financial security?" Who could say no to that?

These questions can also be included in your sales materials. Include a drop-down box where they can select their response.

"Do you think you'll become a millionaire once you figure out how to do it?" Alternatively, "Are you willing to invest in yourself in order to lose that extra weight, live 10 years longer, and feel 20 years younger?"

Get them to say yes, then give them the opportunity to follow through on their prediction.

2: How to Keep Your Prospect's Commitment LONGER

Students in a recent study were asked if they wanted to volunteer. Half of them were told that they needed to fill out an application if they wanted to volunteer. The other half of the students were instructed to leave the form blank if they wished to volunteer.

The percentage of students who wanted to volunteer in each group was roughly the same. The percentage of students who actually showed up to volunteer, on the other hand, was drastically different. Only 17% of those who were told to leave the form blank showed up to participate in the project. However, 49 percent of those who filled out the form showed up to volunteer.

What is the takeaway here? If you want your prospect to commit to a long-term goal, have them write it down.

People who write down their commitment or goal are more committed to seeing it through than those who only verbally commit. If you make a New Year's resolution, write it down along with the steps you'll take to make it a reality, and you'll be much more likely to follow through and actually do it.

If you want your client to commit to a new way of doing things, have them write it down. For example, if you're hosting a webinar, ask participants to write down their objectives in the chat box. Even better, have them write it down on a piece of paper as well. You could even have them text you a picture of the paper in exchange for a discount on the product you're selling.

3: Here's How to Break Someone's Rigid Beliefs

In general, the older a person gets, the more rigid their beliefs become. They "know how things are," and it's difficult to persuade them to change their minds. Not everyone over a certain age is like this, and I've known young people who are so set in their ways you'd think they were 100 years old, but those are perhaps the exceptions.

As an extreme example, suppose you want to persuade an 80-year-old to do their banking online. They "know" that online banking is dangerous, that there are thieves who will empty their bank accounts the moment they go online, and that going to the bank in person is the only safe option.

Wow, that sounds exactly like people I know, especially one in particular.

Telling them that online banking is completely safe, that billions of people do it, that it does not increase the likelihood of their money being stolen, that driving to and from the bank is riskier than doing it online... all of those common sense arguments will fall on deaf ears. I know because I once tried to persuade an 80-year-old woman to do her banking online, which resulted in frustration on both of our parts and no change in her behavior.

Instead, here's what I should have done:

The first thing I should have done was frame her decision not to bank online as being correct at the time she made it. After all, given the evidence and information she had at the time, it made sense for her not to bank online. She had heard news stories about people stealing money on the internet when it was new. As a result, she reasoned that not banking online would keep her money safe.

The second step is to demonstrate how online banking aligns with her initial decision to keep her money safe. She is not changing her mind by banking online now. Instead, she is making a new decision based on new information, which is consistent with her previous behavior.

I know it sounds like I'm picking at straws, but this works. I tried it on an elderly neighbor who refused to get a smartphone. His children were desperate to be able to text their father and have him respond, but he was adamant about not getting and using a smartphone because he believed it would be too difficult to learn.

I told him that when cell phones were new, his decision made perfect sense. Texting was a chore, batteries didn't last long, and switching from one phone screen to another was difficult... I even made up a story about how difficult it was to help him justify why he didn't get a cell phone back then.

Then I asked him about his children, why it was important to keep in touch with them, if he wanted to hear from them every day, and so on.

Finally, I suggested that getting a cell phone now was completely consistent with his desire to communicate with his children and to avoid becoming frustrated while learning how to use this new gadget. I told him that calling and texting were now easier than ever, and that he'd been wise to wait until now to get one.

When I saw him the following week, he proudly showed me his new smartphone and practically glowed when he told me his kids now text him every day.

Remember, if you want to persuade someone who is adamant about his beliefs, start by praising their previous decision as correct at the time they made it based on the information they had at the time.

Then demonstrate how this new product or behavior is consistent with their previous practices, beliefs, or values.

4: How to Turn an Enemy into a Friend

The American author, inventor, statesman, politician, diplomat, scientist, publisher, and philosopher Ben Franklin had a problem. He was constantly bothered and harassed by a hostile political opponent while serving in the Pennsylvania legislature. Here's how Franklin won him over, in his own words:

"However, I did not intend to gain his favor by paying any servile respect to him, but instead, after some time, took this other method." After learning that he had a certain very scarce and curious book in his library, I wrote him a note expressing my desire to read it and requesting that he do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it right away, and I returned it in about a week with another note expressing my gratitude. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me with great civility (which he had never done before), and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship lasted until his death. This is yet another example of the truth of an old adage I learned: "He who has once done you a kindness will be more willing to do you another than he whom you have obliged." – Benjamin Franklin

Is this still valid today? Participants in one study received money from an experimenter. The experimenter then asked half of the winners if they would return the money because he had been using his own money and had very little left. Almost everyone who was asked to return the money did so.

Following that, both those who were asked to return the money and those who were not were polled to determine how much they liked the experimenter. Those who were asked to do the experimenter a favor rated him higher than those who were not asked to return the money.

People will alter their attitudes in order to maintain consistency with their behavior. If they have done someone a favor, they may subconsciously reason that they must like that person.

Ask a favor of someone in our life or business who you might consider an enemy. The worst that can happen is that nothing changes, but you may be surprised to discover that you've gained a new ally.


It's one thing to persuade someone to choose your product or service over the competition.

But how do you completely persuade someone to change their mind about something? For example, what if they are certain they do not require what you provide, despite the fact that you know it is the best thing they could do for themselves?

You may believe that all you need to do is build a solid case for why your product will improve their lives.

However, while most people believe that providing enough information and facts will cause people to change their minds, this is not usually the case.

People choose which facts to pay attention to and which to ignore or twist into something entirely different.

When something contradicts what a person already believes, they either ignore it or rationalize it away. We are motivated by our emotions, motives, prior beliefs, and desires, and we are rarely influenced by facts.

As an example, consider climate change. The researchers wanted to see if they could use science to influence people's views on climate change. They began by asking people if they believed in man-made climate change and if they supported the Paris agreement.

The researchers then classified them as strong believers or weak believers based on their responses. They told some of the people that science had reevaluated the data and concluded that things were much worse than they had previously thought, with temperatures rising by 7 to 10 degrees.

Others stated that scientists have reevaluated the data and now believe that the situation is not as bad as they previously thought; it is much better, and the temperature rise will be quite small.

Here's what they discovered: When people who didn't believe in climate change heard that scientists said it wasn't all that bad, their beliefs shifted even more in that direction, and they became even more adamant that climate change isn't real. However, when non-believers were told that scientists believe it is much worse, they did not change their minds.

When people who already believe that climate change is man-made heard that scientists say things are much worse than they previously stated, they shifted even more in that direction, further polarizing the debate. But when scientists said it wasn't so bad, they didn't change their minds.

Giving scientific information to either group exacerbated polarization rather than bringing people together.

What happens when facts fail to persuade? Surprisingly, it's because the information isn't getting to the person.

When scientists scan the brain activity of two people interacting, they will discover that the brains of two people who agree are both encoding what the other person is saying. However, when two people disagree, it appears that the brain switches off and does not encode what the other person is saying.

When two people agree, their certainty that they are correct grows. When they disagree, however, there is little to no change in their belief that they are correct or incorrect.

And it gets worse (or better, depending on how you view this information.) Scientists have discovered that the more intelligent you are, the more likely it is that you will twist or manipulate data in your mind to conform to your own beliefs.

Even if your information reaches the intended recipient, they are likely to change it in their minds to conform to their current beliefs rather than changing their beliefs to conform to the new data.

So, how do you persuade someone to change their mind?

It's critical to understand where people are coming from before attempting to walk them to where you want them to go. Going against their conviction will backfire, but starting where they are or approaching it from a completely different perspective may change their mind.

For example, if you want to persuade someone that you don't have to be a wealthy one percenter to make a lot of money in the stock market, your first step is to agree with them that it appears that the only people who can make a lot of money in the stock market are the wealthy one percenters. Only then do you start moving them in the direction you want them to go.

Consider yourself and your prospect standing on opposite sides of the room, with you shouting at them to come over to you, as opposed to you going over there, taking their hand, and walking them back to where you want them to go.

In one UCLA study, researchers hoped to persuade parents to vaccinate their children. Some parents refused to vaccinate their children because they believed there was a link between vaccination and autism. When scientists demonstrated to the parents that the link to autism is false, that there is data to prove it, and that vaccines are safe, the parents refused to change their minds. Hearing the truth made no difference at all.

But then researchers tried a different approach: instead of talking about autism, they talked about how vaccines protect children from deadly diseases. They showed the parents what diseases, such as measles, look like and what they do to children. They never mentioned autism.

And the outcome were much better as a result. The parents have now stated that they will have their children vaccinated. The moral of the story is that the parents had forgotten why they were getting vaccines and had instead bought into the false narrative that vaccines cause harm rather than saving lives.

By avoiding direct confrontation with these beliefs and instead focusing on what was truly at stake, the parents were able to see clearly that vaccines are beneficial, not harmful.

Assume you want your friend to buckle her seatbelt. You could show her statistics about how people who wear seatbelts survive bad accidents while those who don't die, but chances are she's heard it all and won't listen to you.

But if you ask her about her final wishes, she will tell you whether she wants to be buried or cremated. What kind of music does she want played at her funeral? Who will raise her children if she is killed because she did not wear a seatbelt?

This could be a roundabout way of reaching her, just as parents of unvaccinated children should be prepared for their children's deaths and possible legal charges for failing to protect their children from death.

If you want to change your prospect's mind, you should start where they are and then take a detour through what's important rather than confronting the myth they currently believe.

Don't try to disprove what they've heard on social media. Instead, return to the real reason they need to do, have, buy, or go the route you suggest.

Remember the parents who were afraid of vaccines because social media claimed they were linked to autism? The real goal of these parents was to keep their children safe. Begin there and show them how to get what they want.

You get the other person to relax, lower their defenses, and LISTEN to you by agreeing, by finding common ground.

If you only remember one thing, make it this: Begin where they are and work your way up. The rest will be simple after that.

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About Kavi

I've been living the online solopreneur lifestyle for over 20 years. I began as a freelancer back in 2000 and have since created my own software company, hosting service, produced information products, and engaged in affiliate marketing.

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