Internet Psychology from Graham Jones
Welcome to another weekly digest of material from my website grahamjones.co.uk. Enjoy. The researchers focused on a part of the brain known as the “nucleus accumbens” which is a central feature in what you might call our “pleasure centre”. When it fires up, it leads to hormonal changes that make us feel we like something. The researchers found that when this small part of the brain was active on brain scans, people then decided to buy the music they were listening to. The study merely adds to a wide array of literature which confirms, time after time, that our decisions to buy something are linked directly to personal pleasure. If our brain does not kick in with pleasure hormones, then we don’t buy. In other words, all the “logic” of sales training and sales gurus is for nothing if the potential buyer does not have an emotional, visceral feeling of pleasure. Your customers buy things because the products or services you are trying to sell them make them feel good. Focusing on “closing the sale” or “handling objections” is frankly a waste of time. Focusing on triggering the nucleus accumbens by making potential customers so happy is what you need to do. Remember, your customers are always mentally tuned into one radio station “WII-FM” – “What’s In It For Me?” My forthcoming book – Click.ology – due out soon will show you many other examples of brain science which show you what to do to get more sales online Related posts 1. Don’t do what other Internet Marketers do 2. Nudge, nudge, think, think – the best way to change people 3. You must laser target your website visitors
Music study shows why your customers buy things
Sales training courses would have you believe that there are “eight steps” to selling something. You’ll hear sales gurus talking about the need to establish rapport, to ask questions, to reflect back the answers and then how to deal with objections. And we fall for it. It sounds so plausible and they can show that their techniques work. But just because a technique works, does not mean it is the best thing to do. After all, I have a technique for getting a golf ball in the hole, but it is not going to help me win The Masters this week…! Picking the ball up and dropping it in the hole works every time; I can prove it. Apparently, though, that’s not right…! Equally, “dealing with objections” or “establishing rapport” can be shown to work in terms of achieving sales, but there may be a different approach we need to consider to get our customers to buy things. Thanks to relatively recent developments in brain scanning techniques it is now possible to study the neural activity of people in a wider range of circumstances. A new study by researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute is one such example. They got people to listen to music they had never before heard and measured their brain activity at the same time. The scientists then used the brain scans to predict which pieces of music individuals would buy. And they got it right.
How to increase online customer satisfaction
When people have signed up, they then use the service site, with no reminders of the alternatives they could have bought. Whichever option you choose, however, you need to operate your online products and services much more like a posh restaurant. Remove the reminders of alternative choices once people have made a purchase and they will be happier with your products and your company. Related posts 1. Don’t delay – act today…! Web delays can cost 2. Website choices depend on similarities, not differences 3. Do you really need a sales funnel?
Posh restaurants have one major difference to the international chains; the posh restaurants hand the menu to you and then once you have made your meal choice, they take the menu away. But those big chains have an ever-present menu. It is either on the table in front of you, or it is on signs on the wall facing you. That means when you are eating your meal, you are constantly facing reminders of what else you might have chosen. However, in the posh restaurants you have no idea what else you might be able to eat because you no longer have the reminder in front of you. There’s a reason why posh restaurants take the menu away and don’t leave it on the table – customers are happier with their meals when they no longer have reminders of what else they could have bought. A recent study looked at a different angle of this; researchers at the London Business School offered people chocolates and asked them to rate how nice the chocolate was. The difference in the study groups was that one group was asked to place the lid back on top of the chocolate box, whereas the other group was asked to leave the lid to one side, so they could see the remaining chocolates. The group who could no longer see the chocolates rated the chocolate they selected more highly than the people who could see the others in the box. The researchers point out that putting the lid back on the box is a “physical act of closure”. In other words, by doing something physical which stops you making an alternative selection to the item you have chosen, you feel as though you have made the right choice. Online, of course, that is difficult. You can make a selection from an online store, but immediately you can see all the other things you might have bought. Online you are constantly reminded of what might have been. And that reduces satisfaction with our purchases. So, if you are selling products and services online, what can you do about it? The first thing is to consider the page people end up on once they have made their purchase. If this includes menu links to alternative items, if people can easily get back to see other options there is a chance you are reminding them of “what might have been” and thereby reducing overall satisfaction. One way of avoiding this is to create specific post-purchase pages which only relate to the item they have bought and which do not have links back to alternative products. Similarly, if you are offering an online service, such as a membership club, the service pages themselves should have no access to the alternative membership levels that they might have chosen. Essentially, the best way of doing this is with two sites – one to sell the service and the other which runs the service.
Your online customers don’t set prices the same way as you
Setting prices is a difficulty for almost every business. Do you charge a price similar to other services and products of the same kind or do you stand out because you have more benefits? Do you end the price in a 9 or a 7? Should you offer a price range? These are all debatable points. Frankly, though, it doesn’t much matter. What matters is whether your customers are prepared to pay or not. If your customers are prepared to buy from you, then the price becomes a minor issue. But how do customers decide whether or not to buy something? Traditional marketing lore is that you should emphasise the benefits of what you are offering. Once people understand the benefits, they will simply want to buy and therefore the price doesn’t matter much. Of course, like many things, traditional lore is often not quite true. Earlier research shows that people do indeed focus on features, not benefits. If they know that a car will get them from home to work using an internal sat-nav and allowing them to have the listening comfort of a digital radio, they don’t need selling on those benefits. When people know what they want, they look for features. However, new research shows that customers also do something else. They tot-up the “total price” in their head and then decide whether or not to buy. So, for instance, imagine you are selling a piece of software and you set the price at $97. Sounds good – you have ended in a 7 (a good ending number for a price), you have set your price just below the competition and it will also allow you sufficient margin to offer attractive discounts. All sounds good. But what your potential customers do is to then think about the cost of training it might need, as well as the cost of adding additional licences for their laptop or tablet device. Then they’ll add the cost of any conversions from old software to new software and end up with a total price. This is the price that will be the basis for their purchasing decision. So perhaps rather than quoting a price for items you sell, it would be a good idea to quote a total acquisition price. That means your four £8.75 cinema tickets for the family actually costs £110 – £35 for tickets, £7 sweets and drinks, £60 for the meal afterwards, £5 on petrol and £3 on car parking. When we look at the £8.75 we then mentally tot-up these other costs to decide whether or not it is worth it. No amount of emphasising the comfort of the seats, the surround sound or the digital projection perfection will get people to part with their cash if the total cost is too high for them.
You can gain a significant competitive advantage if you emphasise total costs of acquisition, rather than just your price alone. Related posts 1. Online pricing tactics can backfire 2. How to charge the right price online 3. Price should be just the money your customers pay
Lady Thatcher gave you the Internet
Wales before the Government lost an appeal. However, so much publicity about the book was generated by her determination to get it banned that I thought it must be a terrifically revealing book. So, on my arrival for a speaking gig in Copenhagen I was quick to pounce on the massive pile of copies of Spycatcher which were in the airport bookshop. I decided it would make a brilliant read for the return flight home. How wrong I was. It is the most boring book I have ever had the misfortune to start reading. It was impenetrable and I could not make past the first 20 pages. Indeed, it was so bad that I had to resort to re-reading the in-flight magazine, High Life for the umpteenth time. I blame Maggie Thatcher for introducing me to Spycatcher…! Like me, you may well have personal recollections of Lady Thatcher. But perhaps we should reflect for a moment where we would be online if it were not for Margaret Thatcher. Prior to her election win there was only one state-run telecomms supplier. If you wanted a phone line, you had to wait a minimum of six weeks. If you needed an answering machine you could have one – the only one available, a single model from the state supplier. And it is surprising to recall that if you wanted a holiday you would almost certainly book with Thomas Cook – which was stateowned until 1972. Britain was obsessed with state ownership. Can you imagine the Internet under state ownership? One broadband supplier? One router? One heck of a wait? True, some countries do have state-run Internet – but they tend to invest considerable amounts in their technology. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is not short of a bob or two.
Baroness Margaret Thatcher will be remembered in totally different ways. Some people believe she was tremendous and delivered the massive change this country needed. Others believe she led to division and the smashing up of industries and associated communities. If you have been watching the myriad of TV tributes over the past day, you will also see that some people say she really was an Iron Lady, whereas others say her public image was not the woman they knew who was somewhat softer and more gentle. One thing is clear; Maggie was a Marmite Mum. You either loved her or hated her. My own reminiscences of Lady Thatcher also show this division. On one occasion I was due to attend a conference where she was the opening speaker. Indeed, the conference was her idea and involved several European heads of state. Security was very tight indeed, but somehow I lost my way and went up the wrong lift at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London’s Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament. I arrived at the relevant meeting room, on the dot of 11am as the conference was due to begin. I walked in through the door, expecting to be in some ante-room being told I could not go in. But I was not. Instead, I entered the room at the back, immediately behind Maggie as she was at the podium beginning her speech. Security…? What security? I walked past her and sat down next to a colleague I spotted who simply said “Nice entrance Graham”. This is a story I often tell in talks I give because it highlights several issues – one of which is the fact that even though as Prime Minister she could well have been threatened by some unexpected visitor walking in behind her, she carried on as though nothing had happened. Determination. To me, that’s a good thing – being un-phased by things going on around you, simply determined to reach your own goals. However, I also have a negative story about Mrs T. In 1987 the former British spy, Peter Wright, published his autobiography, Spycatcher. But Mrs Thatcher led the decision to ban the book from publication. Indeed, for a year the book was indeed banned in England and
The fact that Mrs Thatcher spearheaded an entrepreneurial economy which set the path for individuals to earn money on their own account, rather than working under some set of rules cobbled together by trade union leaders and poor managers. It is this spirit which has helped the UK develop many leading Internet businesses and to be at the forefront of the mobile sector. But there is one other thing we should thank her for. Prior to becoming Education Secretary and then Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher was the UK Science Minister and was instrumental in supporting the funding and work going on in Switzerland at the CERN laboratories. The very laboratories where the World Wide Web was invented. You have to wonder, if she had not been so supportive, if she had not sign-off on the funding Britain provided, would the web have arisen? OK, I admit, probably it would have – but you cannot deny that in the web of politics, funding, science, research and striving for new things, Maggie was there, in the mix. She may not have been fundamental, but she certainly played a role. The Internet in the UK may not be the kind of thing we love today without her involvement. Related posts 1. The State of Social Media 2. Do you really need a sales funnel? 3. Kindle Cash Success
Your past is your present online
Paris Brown is a teenage girl from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent who is going to go down in Internet history. She has become the first really notable case of someone’s online past catching up with them in the present day. All day yesterday in the UK her tearful face was
headline news across TV channels and this morning she is looking up at you from the morning newspapers. Three years ago when she was just 14 she posted some rather stupid Tweets. One, for instance, said “I really wanna make a batch of hash brownies”. On its own that might seem she is condoning the use of illegal drugs. It was, though, a teenage girl referring to “Scoobie Snacks”, the biscuits given to the cartoon dog, Scoobie Doo – widely thought by cartoon analysts to be cannabis soaked chocolate cakes. For a teenage girl giving a nine-word comment on a cartoon movie of the time this was an innocent giggle; the kind of thing teenagers say to each other all the time without any real meaning. The problem for Paris Brown now, three years on, is that she has just been appointed the Children’s Police Commissioner for Kent, on a salary of £15,000 paid for from the public purse. Had she said the sometimes nasty, admittedly stupid, things to her friends they would have been forgotten and had no impact on her new job. However, online those teenage, childish comments have a permanent life. What she said three years ago in teenage angst is now part of her present day because unlike real world conversations those comments live on through the Internet. Think back three years yourself. Back in the year 2010, two years before the Olympics came to London, did you say anything daft to the people around you? Did you make some comment after watching a movie, for instance, which taken as a single line could be interpreted as just plain stupid or worse? The chances are, you cannot remember and neither can your friends. You were down the pub, commenting on some daft politician in the news and said a line which was potentially offensive but which your friends, in the context of a chat down the pub, took as a joke. The conversation moved on, you had another drink and here we are three years on and no-one remembers it. Similarly, is there anything you said to people back in 2010 which you regret? Is there something you wish you had not said? Like most people, there are probably comments you made which still live inside your head, but which other people have actually forgotten. No-one is immune from saying daft things or comments they regret – we all do it. For “real world” conversations, though, these things are forgotten. They disappear almost as quickly as they were said, never to return. But make the same comments on Twitter or Facebook and they are there forever; a permanent reminder of your stupidity or lack of thinking. It means that the daft comment you made on Twitter about some comedy programme you were watching could well be seen by a future client of your business in 10 years from now. In isolation, that comment may make them think again about whether or not they should hire you. They won’t be aware of the context. All they will see is something negative. Your seemingly fun comment on Twitter could well be the reason why you lose business in a decade’s time. Let Paris Brown be a warning to you – your past is your present online. Related posts 1. Blogs with comments need attention 2. Blog Post Comments Help More Than Your Blog
3. The Tweeting Pope has a lesson for your business