The Science of Persuasion – How to Use Consistency

Neil HartleySalesLeave a Comment

persuasion principle consistency example

We started discussing how to leverage the Science of Persuasion for the purposes of B2B tech marketing in our post The Science of Persuasion – How to Use Social Proof last month.

The author of the science behind Influence (Robert Cialdini) highlighted six universal principles of Persuasion which, when ethically applied, can influence decisions. The first post covered Social Proof or, more accurately, Consensus. This post covers the principle of Consistency and how it can be used in B2B tech marketing.

Consistency – people like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made (meaning – be realistic about the commitments you ask for).

I highly recommend watching the video in the previous post if you’re totally new to Cialdini’s work. If you have some awareness but haven’t read Cialdini’s book, here are a few other comments on the principle generally:

  • Effective commitments should be voluntary, active and, for greatest effect, made public and stated in writing.
  • The drive to appear consistent can make us act in ways counter to our own best self-interests. Consistency is a bigger pull than being right or wrong.
  • Being consistent can be be used as an expedient shortcut in decision making (the greater the need for a solution to a problem, and the more small commitments already taken towards a particular solution, alternative viewpoints can actually make the buyer purchase more quickly).

As Cialdini stated, “Sealed within the walls of rigid consistency, we can be impervious to the sieges of reason.”

So, what does that mean for our target market – B2B tech companies thinking big? How can you apply it?

Given that we believe the ultimate (not to mention, only) outcome of your limited marketing budget should be lead and opportunity generation, and that inbound digital marketing is then the most effective vehicle for that budget, how do you apply the principle of Consistency in your marketing campaigns?

Let’s go back to “consistency being activated by small initial commitments that can be made”. If you read broadly on marketing you may have come across the term “micro-yes” and how many micro-yesses can lead to a “macro-yes”. This is just a different way of stating the principle of Consistency.

What does a small commitment (or micro-yes) look like for you?

Let’s assume you’re running some paid ads (e.g. Google Adwords). The first small commitment is getting someone (not anyone, someone with a problem you can solve) to click on your ad. This should take them to a landing page that addresses how you solve for the problem they have searched/clicked for. What, then, do you want them to do next? This is the second small commitment. It could be to click on a video, download a white paper etc.

The first macro-yes may simply be collecting their information and permission to contact them (we’ll post on GDPR in the coming weeks so watch out for that). Then you can construct a further series of small commitments that lead to a call/a demo (or some other macro-yes).

And on the process goes until they become your client. Of course the skill of the marketer is to keep them from saying “no”. That means not deflecting them from the small commitments you desire. For example:

  • When they click the initial ad, make sure they go to a specific landing page that is in line with their search query.
  • Make sure the ad itself is specific to your target market, don’t pay for clicks that will be wasted and lead to an easy “no”.
  • Keep the landing page succinct and focused on the next small commitment. Don’t give the visitor any distractions. It’s tempting to show everything but the whole focus should be on the next small commitment.

This may sound daunting? If so, Domino can help. We set campaigns up for our clients that are solely designed to generate leads that turn into opportunities and sales. We can design, develop and implement all aspects of the marketing campaigns and will employ all aspects of the Science of Persuasion as part of our deliverables. Please contact us via the normal methods.

If you did take the time to watch the video, you’ll have seen an example of the use the Consistency principle at a Health Authority where the number of missed patient appointments fell by 18% simply by having the patient fill in the appointment card themselves (a commitment made publically and in writing) rather than having staff do it for them.

One way of applying this in your B2B tech company is to have prospects set appointments (for calls or demos) themselves. You can use an online service such as calendly so that prospects can choose their own time and enter their own information. That way, they’ll be more likely to keep the appointment – another small commitment made and kept!

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