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The YES Factor: How to persuade business buyers to say yes.


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A new behavioural economics Slideshare from Earnest exploring why b2b buyers are less rational than you think - and why the micro-yesses matter more than ever. Get the Yes Factor.

Published in: Business
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The YES Factor: How to persuade business buyers to say yes.

  1. In B2B marketing, we’re in the business of PERSUASION Image: <Alejandro Escamilla>
  2. Everyday we persuade people we often don’t know to: Open our emails Visit our websites Download our white papers Watch our videos Follow us on Twitter And even once in a while, buy something from us.
  3. It’s all about persuading people to say ‘YES’ Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>
  4. The thing is: “The buyers pipeline requires a series of micro-yesses before getting to that macro yes.” YES [Brandon Stamschrar, MECLABS]
  5. So what makes people say ‘YES’ ? Image: Earnest
  6. “Each micro yes is about perceived value v perceived cost.” [Brandon Stamschrar, MECLABS]
  7. But when making micro-yesses buyers don’t: Evaluate all the options Investigate each option fully Apply everything they know Assign a value and cost to each option     Image: Unsplash <Dietmar Becker>
  8. Because… > They haven’t got the time > They’re subject to biases > They’re stifled by choice > They’re inherently lazy thinkers And the big one: THEY HATE RISK Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>
  9. “When making any choice our first instinct is not to choose the ‘best answer’ but the answer which minimises the harm we personally can suffer in the worst case outcome.” [John Von Neumann via Rory Sutherland]
  10. Others call this “SATISFICING” (To Satisfy + Suffice) CHANCE Where buyers opt for the low risk, easy solution rather than searching for the best possible solution. No thanks
  11. And they’re not even aware of it. Because 85% of decisions are made by the unconscious part of the brain. [Martin Lindstrom, Buyology] Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>
  12. It means the micro-yesses even for the biggest decisions Image: <Maria Carrasco>
  13. So the big question is what makes business buyers more likely to say ?
  14. Essentially, we need to be aware of how people think because it influences how they make decisions. Image: Shutterstock
  15. There are two ways: FAST & SLOW [Thanks Daniel Kahneman]
  16. FAST Aka. System 1 or Autopilot • Operates automatically • Assesses what’s going on in our environment • Determines whether we should direct more attention to a task Image: <Anna Dziubinska>
  17. It helps us make SNAP JUDGEMENTS Serving as OUR FILTER OF THE WORLD P.S It also determines whether buyers pay attention to your communications or not * * Unfortunately typically not
  18. Because without it, things like this would kill us. Image: <Thomas Lefebvre>
  19. SLOW And then there’s the other way of thinking… Aka. System 2 or Pilot Image: <Todd Quackenbush>
  21. It means System 2 requires: ATTENTION EFFORT
  22. But remember we’re LAZY THINKERS (you, me & even your buyers) so we try to make our lives easier by substituting difficult questions with simpler ones Image: Shutterstock
  23. So when it comes to asking the question: Which of these service providers will do the best job? Buyers can end up asking: Which of these sales people do I like the best? Which of these brands will my boss have heard of? Isn’t it easier to go with the guys we’ve always used? Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>
  24. SYSTEM 2 As B2B marketers we tend to design for System 2, but it’s POINTLESS if we never break through System 1. Score:000
  25. Especially when in most cases, people make decisions like this… System 1 Autopilot System 2 Pilot Input Decision
  26. The fact is even if you sell something that’s BIG, COMPLEX and CONSIDERED you’ve got to break through their System 1. Image: <Martin Wessely>
  27. Because if they don’t: Open your emails Download your content Attend your events Take your calls     The Micro- Yesses You’re being filtered out
  28. You need to make first impressions count How long have you got? Ad in popular magazines – 1.7 secs Ad in trade journals – 3.2 secs Poster – 1.5 secs Mailing – 2 secs Banner ad – 1 sec [Via Phil Barden, Decoded] Image: <Sonja Langford>
  29. So how do you make the cut? EASY does it Image: <Loudge>
  30. Make it easy for buyers so you secure that micro-yes EVERY TIME
  31. Because if you make it easy they’re more likely to Like what they see and BELIEVE what you have to say
  32. As the easiest thing in the world for them is to: DO NOTHING [Some call this Status Quo bias – the fact is most people just hate change] Image:<Caleb Thal>
  34. Feels good What does EASY look like? EASE Feels familiar Feels true Feels effortless Repeated experience Clear display Primed idea Good mood [Causes and Consequences of Cognitive Ease: Thinking, Fast and Slow]
  35. And this is where BRANDING pays dividends Image: <Mario Calvo>
  36. It’s all about building… FAMILIARITY and FAVOURABILITY [See it’s not going to kill you this time] Image: <Thomas Lefebvre>
  37. And it’s why we prefer brands we KNOW rather than brands we’ve NEVER heard of before
  38. Because the things we are MORE FAMILIAR with are EASIER TO PROCESS “The experience of familiarity has a simple but powerful quality of ‘pastness’ that seems to indicate that it is a direct reflection of prior experience.” [Larry Jacoby] Image: <Griffin Keller>
  39. And simply being EXPOSED to one BRAND more than another can have the desired effect. BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND
  40. Research shows that people tend to develop a PREFERENCE for things simply because Research shows that people tend to develop a PREFERENCE for things simply because they are more familiar with them.* * The Mere Exposure Effect [Robert Zajonc] they are more familiar with them.* * The Mere Exposure Effect [Robert Zajonc]
  41. Novel stimulus leads to a fear and avoidance response. But with REPEATED EXPOSURE, the stimulus causes less fear. We even react fondly to it. [Often without knowing it.]
  42. Yet know one knows you. [Even the one with the half baked offer.]
  43. The thing is in B2B, brands are just about equal in INFLUENCE and only just behind price and product. Strong brands outperform weak brands by 20%. [McKinsey] Image: Unsplash<WojtekWitkowski>
  44. This is where your content marketing, search and social media strategy could pay dividends. CAN’T AFFORD A BIG BRAND CAMPAIGN? Making you visible. Useful. Relevant. Increasing your exposure. Reducing cognitive strain. Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>
  45. What other ways can you make it EASY for buyers? Make your message simple for buyers to understand If you want to be seen as credible and intelligent, don’t use complex language when simpler language will do. [Want scientific proof? Check out ‘Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity:Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly’ by Danny Oppenheimer] JARGON
  46. Don’t overload your buyers with too many options. Too much choice is the same as no choice at all. [Barry Schwarz] Aka. Paradox of Choice
  47. Be relevant. Information that stands out - and is novel and salient - is more likely to affect the way a buyer thinks and acts. [P Dolan, Mindspace]
  48. Ensure a seamless journey for buyers, every step of the way. X X X Let people accomplish tasks as easily and directly as possible. [Don’t make me think: Steve Krug]
  49. And get to the of what’s really motivating people to buy from you
  50. Because they’re sure as hell not buying your products or services for the sake of it. They’re a means to an end. “To understand people one needs to understand what leads them to act as they do, and to understand what leads them to act as they do one needs to know their goals.” [Motives and Cultural Models, edited by Roy G. D'Andrade, Claudia Strauss] Image: <Daniel Ruswick>
  51. And that end is ultimately about convincing them you can satisfy their goals more effectively than your rivals. . EXPLICIT & IMPLICIT Image: <Sunset Girl>
  53. As B2B Marketers we tend to focus on the explicit goals. But there’s only so far promising to: Transform their business Deliver greater efficiency Lower cost Improve productivity Increase revenue Demonstrate ROI & all that jazz will take you * Delete as appropriate *
  54. Especially when every other chancer in your market is professing to do MUCH THE SAME Albeit it a slightly different way. Image: <Brownie>
  55. That’s where being able to satisfy not only their explicit but also their implicit goals can pay dividends. The stuff that motivates people PERSONALLY (whether they know it or not) Image: <Timothy Muza>
  56. So what do these implicit goals look like? Research shows there are two basic motivational drivers PROMOTION Emphasis = > Gaining > Benefiting PREVENTION > Progressing in some way Emphasis = > Avoiding loss > Protecting status quo > Living up to expectation
  57. Think about where your audience It provides their FRAME OF REFERENCE and determines whether its best to position what you have to offer as avoiding loss or gain. is starting from. What’s their anchor point?
  58. How can this inform the way you THINK about your audience… Image: <Craig Garner>
  59. …Adding another dimension to your personas that can help inform and shape your messaging, campaign & content strategies? Image: <IlhamRahmansyah>
  60. Implicit goals Primary driver Motivations Persona Progress Recognition Stimulation Avoidance Control Obligation PREVENTION PROMOTION I need to do this to get ahead I need to do this to look good I need to do this to learn / because it looks interesting I need to do this to avoid losing out / losing something I need to do this to stay in control I need to do this because it’s expected of me Gain an advantage over others; Innovate; Lead the field Receive acclaim; Advance career; Win awards/accolades Personal discovery; Learning experience; Challenge myself; Helping others Be secure; Prevent losses; Avoid threats Stay on top; Maintain status quo; Be empowered Need to comply; Fulfil promises; Be true to my word Go-getter Status seeker Adventurer Worrier Controller Box-ticker Earnest Goal Matrix: It’s yours to use and abuse
  61. Psst. Different decision-makers and influencers (even within the same organisation) will have different motivations and biases. Work to identify which personas they fit – and tailor your story to hit the right implicit & explicit goals.
  62. So when all your competitors gather here… EXPLICIT goals
  63. You win by differentiating here… So when all your competitors gather here… EXPLICIT goals IMPLICIT goals
  64. “More C-Suite execs are increasingly making decisions about technology purchases they know nothing about. As a result, many decision makers choose suppliers based on personal value.” [O&M, Admap] Image: <Liam Andrew>
  65. STILL NOT CONVINCED? “Buyers who see personal value are not only much more likely to purchase that brand, they are even more likely to pay a higher price.” [CEB Marketing Leadership Council / Google 2013] Image: <Vladimir Kramer>
  66. Finally, never lose sight of the influence of others. People (your buyers) learn by copying others. Image: <Jonas Nilsson Lee>
  67. And it’s still true when people buy things today. They copy the behaviour of others, as it reduces perceived risk. When we were in fear of predators, it allowed us to determine what was safe (and what wasn’t).
  68. It’s why the more: > Case studies > Client reference sites > Testimonials > Positive Reviews > Followers > Likes > Shares …you have, YES the more likely you are to get even MORE.
  69. So business people are not quite as rational as you think, even for the biggest business decisions.
  70. “The next revolution will be psychological – not technological.” [Rory Sutherland] Image: <Jake Givens>
  72. @earnestagency Sign up to the next installment: Email: with the subject line: Yes Cover image: <Sebastian Muller>