In parts one and two of this series on persuasion, you’ve armed yourself with some powerful weapons of influence: social proof and authority. And learnt how to use these to make your website more effective at making sales.
The next weapon in your arsenal is the force of commitment and consistency. So how does this work?
Once we make commitments, we have a stubborn tendency to be consistent. Why? Because good personal consistency is highly valued by society.
And, like with social proof, being consistent acts as a decision making shortcut. When you have to make a similar decision again, you don’t have to weigh up all the information each time. You just remember the original decision and act consistently.
By far the most powerful type of commitment is one that is public and written down. For example, dental surgeries were able to dramatically reduce the number of missed appointments by simply getting patients to complete the appointment card themselves. They had committed on paper and publicly, so they felt more compelled to be consistent and attend the appointment.
So, how can you use the force of commitment and consistency to increase your website sales?
Well, anything you can do to encourage your customers to take some form of action takes advantage of commitment and consistency.
- Get your prospects to say yes to small requests and it will increase the likelihood of them saying yes to a bigger request later. Clicking on a ‘how to’ video or downloading a free e-book, for example, are small steps that gain commitment from your customer and make a future purchase more likely.
- Actively ask for client testimonials and product/service reviews via your website. Remember: people live up to what they write down. Increase the likelihood of people taking the time to do this by giving them an incentive: “Thanks for visiting our website. We would love to hear what you think about our service/product/business, it helps us get even better for the next time you shop with us. If you complete this quick form/survey we’ll enter you into a draw for a FREE XYZ widget, just to say thanks.”
- Get the readers of your website to do the work for you. Start your sales copy with: imagine your dream (whatever); imagine not having the problem of (whatever). With this technique you’re getting your readers to take a form of action (albeit in their head) and this is one small step to gaining agreement. The more agreements you get, the more likely you are to make a sale.
Don’t limit yourself to these options. Find ways to get commitment from your customers and one yes will turn into another. And another. And another.
Next time, we’ll explore the unbelievable power of reciprocation and how this will change the way you think about online marketing.