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Do You Know your Customers’ and Boss’s Decision Shortcuts?

When you communicate, how do others evaluate what you say? Effectively transmitting ideas is vital in business. Executives with important initiatives need to get buy-in from colleagues, superiors and agents. Marketers need to get the company’s message across to insureds and prospects. 

 
Whether in one to one communication or a marketing and sales support campaign, you could spend hours putting together a strong, persuasive message. But busy people often don’t take the time to carefully consider all the facts. Instead, research reveals, they use decision shortcuts. You probably do it yourself. Some decision shortcuts will vary from person to person. Do you know which ones your boss or customers use?  Some are universal. Here are two:
 
Confidence
 
Georgetown University professor Deborah Tannen wrote, “The CEO of a major corporation told me that he often has to make decisions in five minutes about matters on which others may have worked five months. He said he uses this rule: If the person making the proposal seems confident, the CEO approves it. If not, he says no.” One who speaks with conviction often wins others over.
 
This, of course, is a two-edged sword. Many have attended meetings where one person appears supremely confident, but hard facts prove him/her wrong. As Professor Tannen’s example shows, people often assume that the most confident person in the room is the most correct. It’s therefore vital to base a self-assured presentation on solid evidence.  No doubt the JPMorgan Chase executive who recommended gambling on risky trades sounded convincing, but that didn’t stop the bank from losing $20 billion.
 
Familiarity
 
Does it truly pay to regularly advertise your product or idea's advantages? Yes. Repetition boosts familiarity. Researchers find that people often base judgments on how easily something comes to mind. Social psychologist and author Dr. David Myers restates their conclusion: “Mere repetition can make things believable.” Studies reveal that even false statements, if repeated often enough, will be widely regarded as true. Naturally, in the information age lies are often quickly exposed. But if repeating a falsehood increases its acceptance, what will skillful reiteration do for the truth?
 
Effective marketing communications strategies often involve artfully repeating a product or plan's key advantages  enough to gain acceptance. This is particularly true during challenging economic times. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch states, “It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.” 
 
Thus an integrated marketing communications campaign that uses different communication channels and messaging to build a brand will often succeed. In uncertain times people look for a sure thing. They often choose a product or a plan they’ve come to believe will work for them.
 
Are confidence and familiarity shortcuts your boss or customers use to make decisions? Research reveals several others that are common. Stay tuned.
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