Thursday, 24 April 2014

Influence Robert Caldini and camper vans

Ok. An odd title but bear with me the two are connected.
A while ago there was a radio 4 programme which featured a book called Influence by Robert Caldini. An example given was an increase in Big Issue sales by the very act of the vendor 'giving something' to his potential buyer thus creating a sense of obligation.
In this case the gift was simply opening the door of the shop the buyer was trying to enter. This made it much more difficult to ignore the vendor on the way out gain. Increased sales.
So off to buy the book. 
That month purchases included this book and the other was supposed to be a campervan.
Reading through and there's a chapter covering desirability of a product and how to make it more desirable. Here the example is of a student who paid his way though college by buying cars and reselling them. Rather than arrange individual appointments for viewing everyone got given the same time. So the first person looked it over, considered their offer but then person two arrived. At this point the vehicle became desirable. After all, someone else wanted it. And the second person on seeing the first also decided it was desirable so the mental fight for ownership began. And the student realised his asking price every time!
Since we were looking for a campervan and there was one in Norwich (not this one) we went in eyes wide open even when we were told Sunday was 'open day' for buyers.
We got there second after a two hour drive. The vendor knew how far we were coming and had promised to let us know if it got sold on our way there. Having shaken our hands (also in Influence as a ploy to make buyers feel connected to vendors and more likely to agree to a purchase) and checked that we had had a good journey he stood back to allow us to view.
Number one buyers were a young couple with a nine? year old child. They were carefully  looking the van over when we arrived and started looking around and inside. We'd decided there was no way we were going to fall for the desirability ploy (thank you Mr Caldini) but were interested to see it in action.
Sure enough within 10 minutes the couple had gone into the house with the vendor leaving us and group number three to look around. By now we were
bemused and prepared to sit it out. Within minutes the vendor came out and said it was sold.
Number three group were not happy in the way only the British can be and bemoaned their early exit from their bed on a Sunday morning.
We ambled away happy not to have paid over money to a person capable of the trick and hoping for group one that they hadn't been psychologically conned into a bad buy.
Ultimately we knew what was likely to happen. We thought we were mentally prepared.
We weren't.
We came away with that feeling of almost being conned by a person with a dishonourable way of treating others.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the sale method. 
It just didn't taste nice :(
Thank you Mr Caldini for the warning.
Buy the book, there is going to be something in it somewhere that relates to  your life or that can be applied in your work.

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