In this episode of LinkedIn for B2B Growth Show, host Michelle J Raymond hosts an engaging conversation with the expert Nancy Harhut, author of 'Using Behavioral Science in Marketing, Drive customer action and Loyalty by prompting instinctive responses'.
They discuss several behavioral science principles including 'Reciprocity Principle', 'Social Proof Principle', 'Authority Principle', and 'Rhyme-as-Reason Bias'. Nancy shares insights on how these principles can dramatically enhance marketing strategies, boost B2B buyer confidence, and increase sales.
She also shares actionable tips on how these principles can be applied in everyday life and business, particularly about LinkedIn and B2B growth.
The episode concludes with interesting talks about the use of rhymes and their cognitive impact, which can be leveraged for business growth.
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00 Introduction and Welcome
00:12 Guest Introduction: Nancy Harhut
00:50 Discussion on Behavioral Science in Marketing
02:11 Nancy's Journey into Behavioral Science
04:34 The Role of Emotions in B2B Purchasing
09:32 The Power of Reciprocity in Business
17:49 Leveraging the Social Proof Principle
22:11 The Importance of Choice in Buyer Decisions
26:07 Utilizing the Authority Principle
30:37 Rhyme-as-Reason Bias: A New Perspective
33:02 Conclusion and Farewell
Connect with Nancy Harhut on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyharhut/
Buy your copy of Nancy's book on Amazon - "Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses"
ABOUT MICHELLE J RAYMOND
Michelle J Raymond is an international LinkedIn B2B Growth Coach. To continue the conversation, connect with Michelle on LinkedIn and let her know you are part of the community of podcast listeners.
Connect with Michelle J Raymond on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellejraymond/
B2B Growth Co offers LinkedIn Training for teams to build personal and business brands and a LinkedIn Profile Recharge service for Founders/CEOs.
Book a free intro call to learn more - https://calendly.com/michelle-j-raymond/book-an-intro-call-15mins
LinkedIn for B2B Growth Podcast is a fully accessible podcast. Audio, Video, Transcript and guest details are available on our podcast website - https://linkedinforb2bgrowthpodcast.com/
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#behavioralscience #b2bmarketing #customerloyalty
[00:00:00] Michelle J Raymond: Welcome everybody to the LinkedIn for B2B Growth Show. I'm your host, Michelle J Raymond, and this week listeners, I have brought the other side of the world closer to me because I've had a severe case of FOMO on LinkedIn. Every time I see Nancy Harhut present at any of the events in the U S there are posts going crazy saying how amazing that the speaking has been and I've been jealous.
[00:00:24] Michelle J Raymond: So Nancy, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
[00:00:27] Nancy Harhut: Michelle, thank you for those kind words and thank you for having me. I'm delighted to be here.
[00:00:31] Michelle J Raymond: And a quick shout out to our common connection, Ashley Faus, a friend of the show who put us in touch so that I could make that special request of you to come on the show, because she is one of the people that I have seen speaking and then I see you and I'm thinking, I wish I was in the U S.
[00:00:49] Michelle J Raymond: It's so great to be able to have you on the show. Now you are the author of Using Behavioral Science in Marketing, Drive customer action and loyalty by prompting instinctive responses. Now, this is a ripper of a book. I have been reading it over the last few months since you graciously sent me a copy.
[00:01:06] Michelle J Raymond: And I'm going to put it in the show notes and listeners, do yourself a favor, go and grab that book and you are going to get a masterclass in this. Nancy, quick question. Is it marketing magic or is everything behavioral science just in general? How do you sit with this?
[00:01:23] Nancy Harhut: That's interesting. I think it's a combination of both.
[00:01:26] Nancy Harhut: I've had people describe using behavioral science and marketing as marketing magic. And I suppose that's one way to look at it, but really, the truth is there, there is no magic wand. There's no silver bullet. There's no way to make people do what we want them to do, but there is a way to increase the likelihood that they'll take the actions we want them to take, and that's what I talk about in the book, and that's really what the crux of using behavioral science and marketing is all about.
[00:01:48] Nancy Harhut: It's trying to trigger those hardwired, automatic, instinctive responses that all humans have. And as marketers, if we know that people are hardwired to behave in certain ways, we might as well get out ahead of it and prompt them to behave in those ways in order to, increase the likelihood that they do what we want them to do.
[00:02:05] Michelle J Raymond: Absolutely. Now, when it comes to marketing, there are so many different fields and areas that you could have landed in. How did you end up in talking about all things behavioral science?
[00:02:15] Nancy Harhut: It's funny, I've always been interested in persuasion and convincing people to do things and why people do what they do and, it might be because when I was a kid I had a very overprotective mother and, getting to do anything that I wanted to do required, a masterclass in convincing my mother. If I wanted to stay out late or go to a friend's party or whatever, I'd have to think about why would she say no and what can I say to get her to say yes and I think that might have been the start of it.
[00:02:36] Nancy Harhut: But I started out working in ad agencies as a copywriter, began to work my way up and one day I read this book called Influence the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and I loved it. And I was underlining and taking margin notes and thinking about the work that I was doing for my clients and thinking about how what I was reading would apply.
[00:02:54] Nancy Harhut: And I was like, Oh, I might be able to use that to help sell credit cards. Or I might be able to use that to help sell newspaper subscriptions. And so I started to experiment and use some of these techniques, apply them. So I would always have the best practices for whatever I was doing, email, direct mail, social media, what have you.
[00:03:09] Nancy Harhut: But then I would overlay the behavioral science and I began to see that things were working very well. And so I was like, all right, now we're going to start to do some head to head tests. And when we started to do the head to head test and we saw the numbers then it was it was a no brainer.
[00:03:22] Nancy Harhut: I never looked back. I was like, this is something that's working and so I'm going to embrace it.
[00:03:26] Michelle J Raymond: The numbers don't lie in this case. And the thing that I've been looking at full confession, I spent 20 years in B2B sales, so on the dark side, so not in marketing. So I'm fascinated by having conversations like this because my foray into B2B marketing has been more recent. You know probably in the last 3 to 5 years, more than anything.
[00:03:45] Michelle J Raymond: So I, as I said, started to read your book, I'm about roughly halfway through and I am that person with the highlighter and scribbling notes and going, Oh wow, and there's like little popcorn moments where I'm Michelle, you should go and try this. Michelle, go and try that. And so I can't wait to probably read it a second time to go back and see what I've missed cause it's been quite fascinating to go through the principles that you've highlighted and I'm sure there's many more, but just the what is it around 25 or so that are in there have just, had my mind bubbling away, thinking of ideas.
[00:04:19] Michelle J Raymond: But when it comes to B2B, Nancy. If we have a look at this, beyond rational buying decisions, because I think in B2B when we talk sales and buying, it seems to be quite stiff and stern and it must be this certain way and people don't have any emotions when they're at work. But do emotions come into play in B2B purchasing?
[00:04:38] Nancy Harhut: They absolutely do. And you're right. A lot of times when we think about B2B, we think that people are making very well thought out, considered decisions, and it's all about what's going to be right for the company, and it always comes down to speeds and feeds and, facts and figures and pricing and availability, and and all of that is true.
[00:04:55] Nancy Harhut: Those all play a role, but the truth of the matter is behavioral scientists have found that People, all people, men, women, young, old, rich, poor, B2B environment, B2C environment, people rely on emotion when they make decisions. They make decisions for emotional reasons and then they later justify those decisions with rational reasons.
[00:05:14] Nancy Harhut: So what it says to us in B2B marketing and sales, marketing and sales in general, but specifically in B2B marketing and sales is that we want to have that balance of The emotional and the rational. We did some work for a client that was selling business intelligence software. And, so you would think, okay, we're selling business intelligence software, what it does is it unlocks the data that's in disparate databases so that the user can get a full 360 view of all the information.
[00:05:38] Nancy Harhut: And you think, that's a pretty good benefit, let's just lead with that. Let's put the fact out there. And what we did instead, though, is we led with a more emotional, more empathetic approach. We thought about what it would be like to be the target user. This is someone who's making these very important decisions, and they know that they're making them, not necessarily having access to all the information that they might need.
[00:05:59] Nancy Harhut: And so when you're in a position like that, how might you feel, right? You probably worry a little bit that maybe You know, maybe you're going to make the wrong call, that one of these days it's going to catch up to you, that if you only had that other piece of information, you might have made a different decision.
[00:06:12] Nancy Harhut: And it's the kind of thing that might, give you agita or keep you up at night. And we led with lines like that. We said, it's the antacid for a diet of tough decisions, or it's the delete button for that voice in your head. And this company got a 13 percent lift in purchase intent. And I believe it was because we led with that very emotional approach, that, that idea that people would read this and say, Those people understand my world.
[00:06:36] Nancy Harhut: They know what I'm feeling. They know what it's like to be me. And if they understand me so well, maybe they do have a product that I should look into. So this idea of people making decisions only rationally, only with, facts and figures is is, it's not the full story. We really as B2B marketers need to get our heads around the fact that we need the emotional as well as the rational.
[00:06:55] Nancy Harhut: We want that balance because behavioral scientists have proven that without tapping into the emotional parts of our brain, it's virtually impossible for people to make decisions. And, people are people, whether they're at home or at work, or, making consumer decisions or B2B decisions.
[00:07:10] Nancy Harhut: This is how we operate, this is how we're hardwired, so we need to embrace that.
[00:07:14] Michelle J Raymond: I was just thinking about it in my career as sales, a lot of it was built on that relationship and emotional connections. And then we talk business. And I can see how that, that would translate. And I feel like the B2C worlds embrace this a lot earlier than B2B.
[00:07:29] Michelle J Raymond: Is that a fair assessment?
[00:07:31] Nancy Harhut: I think it is because, when you say to someone people make buying decisions based on emotion. It's probably a lot easier to understand that when you think maybe that's how you sell beer or vacations or fashion, right? Sure, there's a lot of emotion in that, but I'm talking about, a CRM system. I'm talking about a software as a service. It's very different. I'm talking about construction equipment, perhaps. It's the B2B world and you're thinking, where does emotion fit? But the, the truth is there's always some emotion.
[00:07:59] Nancy Harhut: You're going to want to make a buying decision that's going to be good for the company, but part of you is also thinking about well, how am I going to look to my boss if I make this decision? Or how am I going to look to the board? Or how difficult is it going to be to implement this? If I go with this solution, am I going to be stuck at the office, 24 7 and never see my family?
[00:08:17] Nancy Harhut: If I go with this one, does it mean I can get home on time? Does it mean I have my weekends free? So we worry about these. If I back this particular product that I happen to think is good, but things go south, Are people going to, think less of me? What's it going to do to my, credibility in the company?
[00:08:32] Nancy Harhut: Maybe I should go with a safer choice that even if I don't think it's the best one, no one can blame me if things go south. Emotion factors in there. It really does.
[00:08:41] Michelle J Raymond: I imagine it does as well when you start adding more zeros onto the end of the cost of these products. The investment is significant.
[00:08:47] Michelle J Raymond: I've worked in businesses where they were spending a million dollars on a CRM system implementation and whoever signs that bottom line, they want to make sure that they get that right because it is a significant investment and you don't want it coming back on you. It's, going to impact your career.
[00:09:04] Michelle J Raymond: And, I've seen people go, buy the product and then spend their whole time trying to justify it. So you can see how it plays out afterwards. And I think we forget it plays out beforehand just as much. Now, I went through the book and as I said, you've got so many principles in there about behavioral science and how we can leverage them, but I picked out some of my favorite ones because I think they tie back into LinkedIn nicely.
[00:09:26] Michelle J Raymond: And especially for my B2B listeners who are always, we're looking to grow our businesses. That's why we're hanging out on LinkedIn. That's why we're making all of these actions happen, but one of the ones that always stands out for me is giving to get the Reciprocity Principle. As my grandmother says, and I've said this on the show many times what goes around comes around, but how do you think this actually works in business as a principle to increase sales?
[00:09:52] Nancy Harhut: The principle of reciprocity basically holds that when someone does something for us, we feel this obligation to reciprocate, to answer in kind, to do something else, and we almost feel like we want to even the score and do that as quickly as we can, because we don't like to be in this position of owing someone.
[00:10:12] Nancy Harhut: And so What happens is if somebody does something for us or gives us something, whether or not we ask for it, sometimes it's because we've asked for it, but sometimes, someone is the first person to give. To give, to get. If we're the recipient of something, whether we ask for it or not, we feel this kind of hard wired urge to repay. And it really goes back to our ancient ancestors, right?
[00:10:31] Nancy Harhut: Ages ago, you had to cooperate, you had to be civil, you had to get along you, you had to be reciprocal, because if you weren't, you would be cast out of the tribe, and you really couldn't survive on your own, right? Back in those days, you worked as a team, you worked as a group, and if you were Not part of that group, it would be very hard, if not impossible to exist on your own. And so it's hardwired into us to, to get along with people to do the things that help people cooperate, that make people feel, civil to each other.
[00:10:58] Nancy Harhut: And so when a company is the first to offer something, whether it's help, whether it's information, whether it's a series of, of how to videos, or a guidebook, or a checklist, even if you say, no obligation, this is for free, which certainly, Helps the uptake. Even though people understand that there's no obligation and that it's free, they still feel an obligation.
[00:11:16] Nancy Harhut: So if, if I watch all of your how to videos, if I download your checklist, if I read your guide, when it's time for me to make that ultimate buying decision, I'm just gonna naturally return to you because you're the one who helped me out. You were the first to give, and as a result, you're gonna get my business. We're just hardwired to do that, and we may not be thinking about it that way. We may not go, Oh, I read that company's guide, so now I have to give them the business. But something in us, motivates us to move in that direction. We just want to return the favor.
[00:11:45] Michelle J Raymond: It was one of these things where, when I was reading the book and I was reading this particular section, I was thinking about how many times I'd do it within my own life.
[00:11:54] Michelle J Raymond: And there was a lot of times it's Oh yeah, you do feel like there's this, scoreboard, this pretend scoreboard that says they did this. I'll do this. And I tell people that, even when we're talking about just commenting on LinkedIn, if you want people to comment on your post, go and comment on theirs. The same principle applies in a much smaller scale.
[00:12:13] Michelle J Raymond: But the words that you use in the title of your book, which stick with me is it's these instinctive responses that for me, it's like you do it without thinking. And I think that's the magic part for me. And I know that there's plenty of science behind it, but I just see it all the time, give to get and whether it's, if I give someone a recommendation on LinkedIn. Funny enough, Nancy, you can guarantee within probably the next 48 hours, I receive one back from them.
[00:12:41] Michelle J Raymond: And I think the whole way that businesses can grow, not just individuals building personal brands on LinkedIn, they can bring these same principles in and start to be more generous. Now I've found companies on LinkedIn typically have been broadcasters. Pay attention to me, here's what I want you to know. And just, it's a one way traffic. I'm just going to shove stuff at you.
[00:13:03] Michelle J Raymond: But I think if we can create this give to get, it's such a powerful shift away from that. And I think people are really craving it. So this is one of those principles that when I read it, I was like, I think I do it mostly naturally but then I think, no, that's exactly what you're saying.
[00:13:19] Michelle J Raymond: It's the behavioral science that it's just instinct in me to follow that from what you were sharing. Is there anything else you'd like to add to this?
[00:13:27] Nancy Harhut: I'll build on that idea that it's, it is very instinctive. Sometimes we think about it sometimes, you know, they left me that, you know, that nice review, now I have to return it. But other times it is really just more like we just, we do it. It's a very instinctive thing. And when we think about, the age old debate about gated content and ungated content, you're much better off just putting a lot of information out there. And to your earlier point, it's not always what we, the marketer or the company wants to say.
[00:13:51] Nancy Harhut: We really need to look at it through the lens of what it is our prospective customers want to know. And, so we, we don't just like a fire hose, throwing stuff out there that we want you to know. It's really, what is it that you're looking for and where can we be of service?
[00:14:05] Nancy Harhut: Where can we provide what it is you're looking for? And that's, what's really going to get that that reciprocal reaction going. So it's wow, I found something of value from this company. They weren't afraid to to share this with me. They were very generous by putting it out there.
[00:14:18] Nancy Harhut: And, just like you said, very instinctively you gravitate towards that company.
[00:14:22] Michelle J Raymond: It's interesting because I feel like a lot of marketers might hear and listen to this, but be jammed up against management or KPIs that directly go against this. And I can feel often that they listen to when I say, try this, be in service words along these lines.
[00:14:40] Michelle J Raymond: And then what you see is I've been told I've got to do this. I've been told I've got to do this. And so it's really quite interesting. I feel sorry for some of the marketers out there that are put in a little box and told you to do things a certain way when if you open up that box and start to, apply some of these principles, I would imagine it's quite liberating.
[00:14:58] Nancy Harhut: I've got an interesting story Actually. I worked for a client. This client came to me and they sold, financial instruments through financial advisors, right? Different funds through financial advisors. And they had over time, they found that there was this group of financial advisors who had stopped selling their products.
[00:15:12] Nancy Harhut: Because you, as a financial advisor, you can represent several different, fund companies. And for whatever reason, they had stopped. And this particular company, my client, had tried and tried to re engage them. Calling them, emailing them, the wholesaler would reach out and they were unsuccessful.
[00:15:27] Nancy Harhut: So they came to our agency and they said, can you help us reactivate them? Maybe we would like to send them something and your listeners might say why would you send something? Why would you send a gift to people who stopped doing business with you? It's counterintuitive.
[00:15:41] Nancy Harhut: If you're going to send a gift to someone, send the gift to the financial advisors who are selling your product. But they said, no, we'd like to send something. We ended up sourcing a New Yorker cartoon that was appropriate for, people in the financial services industry. It was a picture of a little kid going around the neighborhood selling something. It was cute. It was funny. It was amusing.
[00:15:58] Nancy Harhut: And in the caption, we could actually put in the individual's name. The one that you received would have Michelle in it. The one that I received would have Nancy in it. It was a New Yorker cartoon with your name in the caption and it was framed and it came with a, a little note about the artist. And it also came with a note from the wholesaler, from our client saying, Hey, here's a little something for you. We've been, wondering, how you're doing. We'd love to hear from you. Please give me a call.
[00:16:23] Nancy Harhut: If I don't hear from you I'll give you a ring in a, a week or two. What they ended up finding was they generated $68 million in incremental revenue based on this particular campaign. So talk about give to get, they actually sent someone to people who had stopped doing business and they'd stopped doing business 12 months or more ago.
[00:16:42] Nancy Harhut: So over a year ago, they'd been dormant. Resisted all of these attempts to reactivate them. And yet, when this gift that they didn't ask for from a company they were no longer doing business with showed up, all of a sudden they started doing business with them again, right?
[00:16:56] Nancy Harhut: Because, how could you not? How could you not? Every time you look at your desk or on your wall, there's that framed, cartoon. And when the wholesaler calls, what are you going to do? You're going to tell your assistant, tell that person I'm not here? No, you're going to take the call, right? It's just, you feel obligated to. You feel guilty if you don't. And as a result, now you're starting to interact with them and boom, $68 million of incremental business later. It's a successful campaign based on reciprocity.
[00:17:23] Michelle J Raymond: Oh my God. And this is what we're talking about. Business growth comes from these kinds of things that you can leverage, which do have a financial return. We're not just doing this for fun. It's not just a test to see whether Nancy's right or wrong. It's so that your business will have outcomes along these lines. So I just love that story.
[00:17:41] Michelle J Raymond: But another one of the principles in there, which I also talk about when I'm redoing people's LinkedIn profiles, funny enough, is the Social Proof Principle.
[00:17:49] Michelle J Raymond: So can you just share what is it and how can we use this to boost B2B buyer confidence?
[00:17:55] Nancy Harhut: Sure. Social proof is a a very common decision making shortcut. When behavioral scientists talk about social proof, they talk about this idea that when people are uncertain of what decision to make, they'll look to others, particularly others like themselves, and they'll follow their lead.
[00:18:08] Nancy Harhut: If you're not sure what to do, you look around, you see a bunch of people are doing something, you say I'm going to do that. It must be a good thing to do. We assume that those people know what they're doing. We don't think that they're as lost and uncertain as we are. We just make the leap that if a bunch of people there are doing it, they know something we don't.
[00:18:21] Nancy Harhut: So two things happen. We think if I do what they're doing, it'll be a good decision. It'll be a smart one, a safe one. I won't be disappointed. And we think if I don't do it, I might lose out. I might be missing out on something really good. When we're not sure of what to do, we very often look around and we see what other people are doing.
[00:18:38] Nancy Harhut: So from a B2B perspective, we want to let people know how many customers we have. How many customers in your vertical or in your area. We want to talk about our products. We want to talk about the ones that are best sellers. We want to talk about the ones that are expected to sell out, because those are other elements of social proof.
[00:18:53] Nancy Harhut: We want to use testimonials. Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate social proof, and I'm sure most of your listeners are aware of how powerful they can be, but I'm going to give you two tips that take a good testimonial and turn it into a great testimonial.
[00:19:05] Nancy Harhut: So the first one is you want the testimonial giver to be as close to the testimonial reader or receiver as possible. So if you're targeting CFOs, have your quote come from a CFO. If you're targeting people in the accounting vertical, have the quote come from someone who's in the accounting vertical. If you're targeting people in the Sydney area, have the quote come from someone in the Sydney area because the closer that testimonial giver is to the receiver the better it's going to be. The receiver is going to feel like, oh, that's someone like me.
[00:19:33] Nancy Harhut: And then the second tip I have for, uh, testimonials when we're using social proof also may sound a little counterintuitive. But it's this, you don't want to choose your most glowing recommendation. And you might say why wouldn't I? You know because if someone came along and said, I love Acme computers. They are fabulous. Buy one today. Hands down. Best choice. You would say, that is a glowing review. That is the one I want to use. That's just fabulous. But the thing is, when someone is going to be looking at your reviews, it's because they haven't quite committed yet, right?
[00:20:04] Nancy Harhut: And that means they're a little uncertain, or they have questions, or they're a little skeptical. Maybe they're wondering, is it worth the price? Is it any better than what I'm currently using? Is it as good as the company says it is? Is it better than the competition? Is it worth my time and effort to find out?
[00:20:18] Nancy Harhut: Whatever it is, there's something that they're not quite sure of. And that means if you can find a testimonial that starts where they are, and then concludes with Yes, the company's fabulous. That's even better. So if you found one that said, I wasn't sure if the Acme computer was worth the price, but I decided to give it a try. Oh my gosh, they're fabulous. You should go out and buy one. Hands down, worth every penny.
[00:20:40] Nancy Harhut: Now you've got a really good testimonial because the person reading it is gonna say, that's exactly what I was wondering. I was wondering if you know they were worth the price. They seemed a little expensive. I didn't know. I was wondering, but this guy thought the same thing, or this woman thought the same thing, but they gave it a try, and it turns out they liked it. So now I'm going to learn from them. They took the risk, and because they took the risk, now I can feel confident that this is going to be a good move for me.
[00:21:04] Nancy Harhut: It's tempting to use nothing but glowing testimonials. It's tempting to try to overlook the ones that start with, raising a potential barrier. Oh, are they too expensive? Or, are they any different than the competition? But, if we can start there and end up at the right conclusion, those are the strongest testimonials to use, and those are really good elements of social proof.
[00:21:24] Michelle J Raymond: My mind just keeps going, don't forget this, I'm gonna have to go back and listen to this one again, because in my mind a couple of things popped up. I was thinking about my sales proposals that I send out and changing the recommendations in there by industry so that when I'm sending them out, people can then see, Oh, people like you have worked with me before.
[00:21:42] Michelle J Raymond: So I can see how I can do that. The testimonials that I share and get recommendations on LinkedIn can see all of the different little ways that we can leverage this even moreso. Like I said, it's the same as when I was reading your book. It's just literally these popcorn moments of little changes that we can make that don't cost anything that are going to have an impact on revenue. A positive one, which is just brilliant. I think I could probably sit here and talk about this stuff all day because yeah, my mind is just going click click.
[00:22:11] Michelle J Raymond: But Nancy, if I was to ask you, what are some tips that you could give to make sure that we give buyers just the right amount of choices and why is this important?
[00:22:22] Michelle J Raymond: Is there an ideal number? So ie can we give people too many choices? Or can we give them not enough choices? How do we work through this?
[00:22:31] Nancy Harhut: Yes. So the answer to both of those is yes. We can provide too many and we can provide too few. So obviously we're looking for that magic number. And it goes back to something that behavioral scientists refer to as autonomy bias.
[00:22:43] Nancy Harhut: And what they found is humans have this very deep seated desire to exercise some kind of control over ourselves and over our environments. We want some kind of agency. We don't like to be backed into a corner or forced to do something. We like to be in charge. We like to have some kind of control and by giving people choices, we're giving them control because if you have a choice by definition, you're the one making the decision. You're the one, Opting to take one over the other.
[00:23:07] Nancy Harhut: Choices can be very powerful. They really fuel this desire for autonomy. As a matter of fact, there's some research that came out of Tulane University. And what they found was, you can nearly quadruple the likelihood someone will make a buying decision in the moment, if you give them a second choice, because if you put one thing down in front of someone, the question is, do I or do I not want this? And there's no context, there's nothing to compare it to.
[00:23:30] Nancy Harhut: And so the very human thing to do is to put off the decision. We think to ourselves I'm going to do some research. I'm going to go home and, talk to my spouse, or I'm going to go and talk to my colleagues. And then life intervenes and we don't have those conversations and we don't do the research and the buying moment disappears.
[00:23:43] Nancy Harhut: But when you put two things in front of someone, the question goes from do I or do I not want this to, ooh, which of these two do I want? It's almost like a foregone conclusion. We're going to choose one of them. It's just a question of which one. And it literally can increase the likelihood nearly four times that that people make the buying decision.
[00:24:00] Nancy Harhut: So now as I tell you this, Michelle, you might say then Why stop at 2, Nancy? Let's give them 10, let's give them 20, right? Well, Great. And what would happen is people would be drawn to all of the choices. They would love all of the choices, but then choice overload or analysis paralysis sets in. And people are loving all their choices, but they can't quite land. And so they don't make one, or they make one, but they're constantly wondering, did I leave a better one on the table?
[00:24:23] Nancy Harhut: Did I make the right one? They're haunted by that. So I always say to my clients, two is better than one. Three is a wonderful number. Three is great because people automatically go for that middle option, right? The first one might be maybe not as good. The third one might be too good. I'll take the middle one. That should be just right.
[00:24:39] Nancy Harhut: So a lot of times marketers will structure things so that middle option is actually the one they want people to buy. Maybe you have a basic and a deluxe so you introduce a super deluxe that you don't expect a lot of people will go for, but the mere presence of the super deluxe gets more people to take that, that middle option, that deluxe option.
[00:24:55] Nancy Harhut: Whereas when there was only a basic and a deluxe, not as many people would go for the deluxe. Two is better than one. Three is also good. I wouldn't go beyond four or five. Once you get beyond five, there's too much going on and it becomes hard for people to decide. And if you have to, because you have so many different options, I would start to chunk them.
[00:25:13] Nancy Harhut: Put a few together, get people to make a decision here. Once they make that decision, then give them another set of decisions, or another set of choices, and say, you can make a decision from this set of choices but kind of Break them out.
[00:25:23] Nancy Harhut: But, two or three, I think, is absolutely ideal. Wouldn't go beyond five.
[00:25:27] Michelle J Raymond: I'm just picturing those restaurant menus that are pages and pages and pages like the cheesecake factory in the US where you just look at it and I'm so overwhelmed and I can't pick and I'm hungry and I'm like, I know I want food, but I can't, make sense of, having so many choices to pick from.
[00:25:43] Michelle J Raymond: This kind of thing happens in everyday life and I, again, I just want to bring listeners back to this happens in the B2B realm just as much back to your point early on where we are not one person outside of work and another person at work. Like we are all the same individuals.
[00:26:01] Michelle J Raymond: Now there was another principle that I loved when I was reading and that was the Authority Principle. How can we use that to prompt automatic actions from buyers?
[00:26:11] Nancy Harhut: Yeah, so the Authority Principle is very interesting. What behavioral scientists have found is ever since we were kids, we have been taught to recognize and respect authority. So by the time we're adults, it is ingrained in us. When an authority says something, we just believe it.
[00:26:25] Nancy Harhut: If an authority asks us to do something, we often do. And so in, in the B2B marketing world, we have the opportunity to leverage outside experts, right? We can have an outside expert say something about us. And that makes people feel more confident because obviously we're going to say good things about us on our websites and our emails, on our LinkedIn posts and people are going to say, okay, that makes sense.
[00:26:46] Nancy Harhut: But of course they're saying something good about themselves. It's their company, it's their product, it's their service, but if someone else comes along, who's disinterested third party, an objective third party, a subject matter expert without any skin in the game, without any particular reason to endorse a particular product, we have a tendency to believe them more.
[00:27:04] Nancy Harhut: At one point I was on the Citrix website, and they say wonderful things about themselves, as they should, but they also had a section that said, see what the experts say, and they quoted Gartner and Forrester, and when we see that, we're like, oh, okay, somebody on the outside whose job it is to know the category and to be able to evaluate the category, they say that, that these guys are good.
[00:27:24] Nancy Harhut: I was Looking at some webinars that were available and they were being given by a company that I had never heard of But they were interviewing one of their clients and their client was a company that I had heard of. It was almost like a halo Effect, or in that case, they were the authority. I was like, all right I don't know who this company is But I do know their client and I think of their client because they're at the top of their game in their industry. I think of them as an authority and so by definition if they think that this Smaller company is a good one that they do business with, maybe I would want to do business with them as well.
[00:27:53] Nancy Harhut: So it's being able to point to what an outside expert says. It's also things like being a member of I don't know the American Dental Association or being featured in Fast Company or On a popular news program or being a member of the Better Business Bureau or being written about in a publication.
[00:28:09] Nancy Harhut: When things like that happen, we look at them as credibility markers. We look at them as marks of authority. And then the other thing that we can do is we can make ourselves authorities. We can position ourselves as authorities based on the content that we put out there.
[00:28:23] Nancy Harhut: There's a Website Optimization Company and they offer a 110 point e commerce checklist. Something like that. 110 point or 100 point e commerce checklist. But when you look at that, you think, wow, if they've come up with 100 or more points on this checklist, they must know their stuff. They must be the experts. They must be the authorities. And given all the different companies I can choose to do business with, I think I'm going to choose them.
[00:28:46] Nancy Harhut: So there are ways that we can position ourselves as authorities as well as ways that we can tap into outside experts who weigh in on our product and service as authorities in order to trigger authority bias. But what it does is it makes people feel more confident about the choice they're about to make.
[00:29:01] Michelle J Raymond: I'm thinking about when I just recently released the second edition of Business Gold, which is the book on Company Pages. One of the areas that we spoke about, which is going to be big for Company Pages going into 2024 is events. Now you've just given such a great tip on how companies could leverage, say LinkedIn lives.
[00:29:21] Michelle J Raymond: They could get one of these authority people to come in and join them on a LinkedIn live, whether it's a customer, whether it's an industry association member or Someone else outside of the company and interview them. And like you said, you can start to leverage that halo effect. So there's lots of different ways that the principles that you've been speaking about today can be so easily applied.
[00:29:41] Michelle J Raymond: The social proof, the authority, all of these things can keep coming back into LinkedIn. And Obviously having offers that line up with some of these pricing principles and choices. There's just so many different ways that you might think I'm not in marketing. What's this got to do with my business growth?
[00:29:57] Michelle J Raymond: I promise you if you grab Nancy's book again, Using Behavioral Science in Marketing, grab your copy. It's on Amazon. The link will be in the show notes, of course.
[00:30:06] Michelle J Raymond: Now if you've loved this conversation as much as I have, Please go to Nancy's profile. Again, the notes will have where to find her. Go to her profile and follow because she is dropping this kind of information on a daily basis and you are going to just skyrocket your skills.
[00:30:25] Michelle J Raymond: I have one final question before I wrap this up, even though I don't want to. Is there one piece of interesting behavioral science info that you've read recently that you would love to share with the listeners that they could take action on?
[00:30:37] Nancy Harhut: So there's something called rhyme-as-reason bias and it's this idea that rhyming phrases are not only more memorable, but people actually find them more believable.
[00:30:48] Nancy Harhut: And way back when rhyme, like back in the Mad Men days, rhyming taglines and slogans were a lot more popular, but you don't see it much these days. But the thing is, they're not only more memorable, but people find them more believable. And that's why they're so important. Rhyming phrases are easier for the brain to process.
[00:31:05] Nancy Harhut: And as a result it feels right because it's easy for the brain to process. And when something feels right, it's not a big leap to assume that it is right. So this is something that opens up a huge opportunity for us because we can think about not only our taglines or our slogans or our strap lines, but we can think about email subject lines.
[00:31:22] Nancy Harhut: We can think about content titles. I saw a webinar being advertised and it said without sales, ABM fails. And I thought that's brilliant because it's memorable. It's pithy. It gets the point across and knowing what I know about this Bias called rhyme-as-reason bias. I know that people find it more believable.
[00:31:39] Nancy Harhut: So it's a little known technique. It's underutilized and it's absolutely something that's easy for marketers to tap into. And not only does it make your message more memorable, it makes it more believable. And that at the end of the day, we need people to believe us. That's when they're gonna actually pony up and buy.
[00:31:56] Nancy Harhut: I think that's the last tip I'd leave your listeners with. Consider using rhyme-as-reason bias.
[00:32:00] Michelle J Raymond: I'm sitting here thinking my initial thoughts were, oh, there's no way that people will think, rhymes are better, or more believable. I was thinking no. It seems a bit childish. And then I thought no, you remember them so easily. And again, it's these things that we don't think about that are happening around us all the time, which are really powerful.
[00:32:19] Michelle J Raymond: We've just scratched the surface. And I mean, scratched the surface today.
[00:32:24] Michelle J Raymond: Nancy, thank you so much for everything that you've shared. My mind is just spinning at a million miles an hour going, I can't wait to go and try some of this stuff and implement it because yes, you can implement it in your marketing. If you're a smaller business and don't have a marketing team, just try some of these techniques out in your content. Try some of this, in your LinkedIn profile, your Company Page.
[00:32:46] Michelle J Raymond: There are so many opportunities that we can leverage some of these principles and bring it all together for business growth, which is what we're here for. So Nancy, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.
[00:32:57] Nancy Harhut: Michelle. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. It's been a lot of fun. Thank you.
[00:33:01] Michelle J Raymond: It has indeed. And until next week, listeners, I hope you have a great week. Cheers.