I love reading about the psychology behind language. Not because I want to use it to my advantage but because I almost always recognise myself as a victim of those sneaky sales tricks.
I am a salesperson's dream. I rarely pass on an impulse purchase, I panic buy when I'm told 'only 3 left in stock', and I don't know how or why, but I'm far more likely to part with £9.99 than £10.
Seems it's not naivety after all. The BBC refers to these subtleties as 'nudge methods'. When used correctly, they can push us into acting a certain way or carrying out a specific behaviour. This could be as simple as ordering a particular lunch dish, to choosing which side to vote. It concludes that we are all being influenced in some way without even realising it.
Reckon you're wise to it? Okay, what about when you're waiting for the train? I'm sure you never step over that yellow line, right? This may not be a linguistic cue, but the same concept applies. This is a nudge method.
The article hones in on positive reinforcement and it reminded me of its importance in B2B conversions. I recently wrote this article about social proof, and how we are more likely to convert when they are safe in the knowledge that 'everyone else is doing it'. Think about the last time you bought one version of a product over another because it had more or better reviews, even if the alternative was better value for money.
Do you consider yourself resistant to nudge methods or have you fallen victim yourself? Perhaps the answer to that question can be your benchmark for testing its effectiveness, or now you'll just be more likely to recognise them.
Either way, they should absolutely be a consideration if you are in any way, shape, or form trying to convert or sell to others.
Positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions are a powerful way to influence our decision-making. In Nudge Nudge, Mary Ann Sieghart investigates how Nudge Theory has pushed us into becoming fitter and richer, without us even realising it. Nudge Theory is “a way of prodding us to behave a bit better”, Mary Ann says. “It’s just a gentle tweak to encourage us to take the right decisions”, and most of the time we won’t even notice it’s happening. So what are the ways we might see Nudge Theory in action in our everyday lives?