This may be a bit "academic" but I want to start looking at models of persuasion to see what psychology can offer to sales, marketing and managing a business and I start with the Elaboration Likelihood Method.
It is common to see in marketing and sales books and training the idea that decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally.
To persuade someone to buy, you need to build up the emotional motivation by focusing on some combination of the pain of the problem or the gain of pleasure from the solution.
You then need to provide the logical reasons to buy so that the buyer can justify the emotional decision to buy to themselves, and often even more importantly to someone else.
It has an intuitive feel and I think we can all recognise the compulsion to buy something that you really want. "I've just got to have it."
But we also like to think of ourselves as rational people, who weigh up the pros and cons before making a considered decision. And like me, you probably buy lots of things that don't stir the emotion based on convenience and apparent value for money.
The Elaboration Likelihood model of persuasion
The Elaboration Likelihood model of persuasion is a model of how attitudes are formed and changed.
According to this model there are two routes
The central route involves careful consideration of the proposal to identify the merits to decide if it is favourable and worth accepting or unfavourable and should be rejected.
This takes time and effort so the person needs to be motivated and have the ability to make a considered judgement.
The periphery route skips around the heavy duty thinking as people look for ways to short cut the decision making process. This time the mental processes depend on the way the message is presented. Is it from a reliable, trusted source, is it well presented and does it look attractive?
Which route is taken depends on motivation - the personal relevance of the decision, the accountability on the results of the decision and individual's personal preference for thinking - and on the ability to make a rational decision.
If you can't make a rational decision but you need to buy, then in the Elaboration Likelihood model, the peripheral route will be taken because the other is not practical.
How can the Elaboration Likelihood Method Be Used For Business
Assuming that you have a strong rational argument that will win in the majority of cases, you want to take people down the central route so that logic is making the decision.
Since you can't change their personal preference over thinking and you can't make them accountable for the results of the decision, you need to focus on the motivation by making it personally relevant to them.
It seems to me that this is where the saleman's focus on finding the pain and creating modest fear comes in and he or she explores with the prospect what is likely to happen if the right action isn't taken.
While the sales trainers will say that this is creating emotional pressure to buy, the Elaboration Likelihood Model says that the decision will be made rationally.
For other prospects who show personality characteristics that indicate a strong preference for thinking, the central route will be their main method for high value or high impact purchases.
If the rational argument is not as strong - but you still believe that it is the right decision for the prospect because you don't want to manipulate do you - then you may need to throw people out of the central route and careful consideration of the decision by interrupting their thoughts.
This is where the NLP concept of pattern interrupts come in when you can ask an unusual question. Don't make it too extreme - "do you believe that Mars has thousands of blue and red penguins the size of a whale?" - would certainly interrupt their thought patterns but would mark you down as strange and perhaps even crazy.
What Do You Think About The Elaboration Likelihood Model?
As always I am interested in your thoughts.
Does this model make sense to you and how you think you make decisions?
It resonates with me.