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30 More Psychological Nudges to Get People to Buy from ‘The small BIG’ (speed summary)

Here are the remaining 30 psychological nudges that will help you sell smarter from  ‘The small BIG – Small Changes that Spark Big Influence’, the new book on marketing persuasion psychologists Robert Cialdini and Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin (see here for summary of the first set).

In total, the book covers 50 ‘nudges’ (little things that you can do or say, that have big impact) from recent psychological research and behavioural science.  Psychological nudges appeal to our ‘fast thinking’ intuitive mind that uses automatic biases and decision loops to decide.

  • Nudge 21: people to buy by asking them to voice any concerns first, and leaving your sales pitch to last (and use a checklist to cover off your points)
  • Nudge 22: Nudge people to buy by creating a good ‘first impression’ appear authoritative but also similar to your customers (sharing same values, passions etc)
  • Nudge 23: Nudge people to buy by encouraging them to respond positively in some way to your pitch (we act on how we respond rather than what we see or hear (‘cognitive response model’)
  • Nudge 24: Nudge people to buy pointing out an irrelevant weakness as well as strengths (you’ll seem more objective)
  • Nudge 25: Nudge people to buy by visually and physically positioning the product you want to sell as the middle option by placing it centre-stage (in the middle around other options)
  • Nudge 26: Nudge people to buy by selling in an environment that is associated with the benefits of purchase (e.g. behind the wheel of a car for car sales)
  • Nudge 27: Nudge people to buy using ’home advantage’ – selling on your property, not someone else’s, gives you a psychological confidence-boosting advantage.
  • Nudge 28: Nudge people to buy with absolute confidence – open, expansive, and confident sales are most persuasive
  • Nudge 29: Nudge people to buy using ‘love’ – the association buying = loving is a powerful sales message
  • Nudge 30: Nudge people to buy by selling to their personal expectations and preferences, not those of a ‘typical’ customer
  • Nudge 31: Nudge people to buy by doing them a favour first, whilst setting up an expectation for later exchange (reciprocation) – ‘arrange for exchange’ (e.g. When someone thanks you, say ‘You’re welcome, I’m sure you’d do the same for me’)
  • Nudge 32: Nudge people to buy with a ‘thank you’. Research shows that expressing gratitude (e.g. for a past purchase/payment) can double the effectiveness of a new sales message
  • Nudge 33: Nudge people to buy by offering an unexpected gift at an unexpected time. Give first, sell later works best when you surprise people (too many free trials/samples have changed expectation – your gift needs to stand out)
  • Nudge 34: Nudge people to buy by simply asking them to buy – we underestimate the likelihood people will buy by simply, explicitly and politely asking them.
  • Nudge 35: Nudge people to buy by making the first move – by striking first with an offer, you will ‘perceptually anchor’ your customer to your initial terms
  • Nudge 36: Nudge people to buy with precise pricing; $191.50 feels a more legitimate properly costed-up price than rounded prices such as $200.
  • Nudge 37: Nudge people to buy using the .99¢ trick – there may only be 1¢ difference between $4.99 and $5.00 but our perceptions are anchored to the first number we read – there really is a dollar of perceptual difference between $4.99 and $5.00
  • Nudge 38: Nudge people to buy using ‘perceptual contrast’ (comparison effect) that positions what you want to sell next to a far more expensive option.
  • Nudge 39: Nudge people to buy by simplifying the offer down to a single killer feature – a bundle of features/arguments is less compelling that a single standout feature/argument (although adding an additional custom or personalised benefit can further enhance persuasion)
  • Nudge 40: Nudge people to buy through ‘unit-asking’ show them how much just one use/one unit is worth to boost the impression of value
  • Nudge 41: Nudge people by personalising the specific benefit to who’s buying or benefiting; ‘identify and individualise’ to sell
  • Nudge 42: Nudge people to buy by pointing out what customers could do with the money they save buying from you rather than a more expensive competitor – we often forget ‘opportunity costs’
  • Nudge 43: Nudge people to buy by framing their progress – if they’ve just started out, show ‘progress made’ (e.g. 20% done), but when they’re past 50%, show progress remaining (e.g. 20% remaining)
  • Nudge 44: Nudge people to buy by minimising decision bumps – be ‘rigid’ in your offer, reduce choice and options, and offer structured path to purchase (cf. jam test)
  • Nudge 45: Nudge people to buy using FOMO – fear of missing out – by pointing out what they’ll lose if they don’t buy
  • Nudge 46: Nudge people to buy by giving people physical space to choose (like wider aisles, bigger rooms…) – space gives confidence in our ability to make a good choice
  • Nudge 47: Nudge people by pointing out downsides of not buying or of buying an alternative. Contrary to popular belief, negative arguments and information can be more memorable and persuasive than positives ones
  • Nudge 48: Nudge people to buy by showing your product not be problem-free – but ‘problem-freed’; if something does go wrong, you’re there to take care of it
  • Nudge 49: Nudge people to buy with ‘just-in’ information; it’s more compelling. If that’s not possible, make the source of information as specific (who, when, where) as possible – as specificity lends to credibility
  • Nudge 50: Nudge people to buy with smiles and laughter – making someone smile and laugh induces trust.
Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.