March 05, 2008

Seth Godin: How do I persuade you?

This is form Seth Godin's blog:

Do I show you a powerpoint filled with bullets?Or give you a spirited sales pitch while looking you in the eye... Perhaps I should send a very attractive salesperson. Do I amplify my word of mouth and be sure you hear about my idea from three people you trust? Do I minimize fear or maximize gain?

Are you best persuaded in a group, surrounded by your boss or your employees or your family or people you trust? Will it matter if those around you give me a standing ovation? Can I persuade you over time, drip, drip, drip, or do you respond better if you feel an avalanche is coming?

Will you change your mind if I'm funny? Or if I scare you to pieces?
Perhaps there's no way you'll be persuaded. Perhaps nothing I can say will make a difference. However, you've told yourself that before and been wrong...

Will you buy if you get a discount?

What if the price is high and going up tomorrow?

Do you want to be the first person to embrace an idea (or the last)?

Here's the thing: unlike every other species, human beings make decisions differently from one another. And the thing that persuades you is unlikely to be the thing that persuades the next guy. Our personal outlook is a lousy indicator of what works for anyone else.

Copywriters have been taught to consider their individual feelings towards a product or service before they put pen to paper and try to persuade others via their advertisements. One test they do is to 'get into the other person's shoes' and see if the 'persuation piece' is really presuasive. Would these copywriters buy the product or subscribe for the service themselves after reading the piece? They've been doing that for quite sometime.

And now here comes confusion. Here comes Seth Godin saying that "Our personal outlook is a lousy indicator of what works for anyone else." That's scary. Can someone illumine all of us on this score and bring us back to the Land of the Smug?

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