Persuasion in Marketing: 5 Secrets to Human Behavior

October 12, 2012

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This past week a group of Schipulites invaded the Interactive Strategies or ‘IS’ Conference at Rice University.  This year, the IS conference explored the reasoning behind human behavior and decision making.  Understanding people and why they do what they do is critical for marketers.

Beverly Flaxington

One speaker who stood out to me was Beverly Flaxington (@BevFlaxington) from The Collaborative for Business Development, Inc. and author of Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior. She unlocks the 5 secrets for us to provide an understanding on the different ways humans look at the world, and she had some fun videos to drive home the point. Knowing how humans filter information, assume and judge different things is crucial in the marketing process. When you step back and think about it, everything we do in life is either selling or buying something (a lifestyle, an idea, a place to eat dinner on Friday night). So how do we use this to our advantage? Read below… I’ve saved her wisdom.

Pandora’s Box: 5 Secrets to Human Behavior

1. It’s all about ME – We each have our own filters and way of seeing the world.

As marketers we need to focus our energy on the listener more than the product or service. Doing so requires active listening and avoiding using the phrase “I know what you mean”. Try lead in phrases such as “In other words”, “Let’s see if I have this” and “If I understand you correctly” to indicate that you really DO understand what they are trying to communicate to you.

2. Behavioral styles come between us.

Think about it… dealing with different behavioral styles is like speaking different languages. As humans we do a lot of observing and judging of others’ behavior that differs from our own. Only 7% of what we “hear” during communication is from the words used by the speaker and everything else is from body language… from their pace, tone, gestures, etc.

Bev talked about identifying our DISC Behavioral Styles -

  1. Dominance: They are concerned about Results
  2. Influencing:  They are concerned about Communnication
  3. Steadiness: They are concerned about Relationships and Process
  4. Compliance: They are concerned about Quality and Accuracy
What do we do with this? Pay attention to styles! Become aware of your own and others’ styles. Practice matching their style without mimicking.

3. Values speak more loudly than words.

What really matters to people? Everyone has their own value set and we try to persuade through that personal value set. Try to include multiple value sets in your messaging. Remember that not everyone will care about the same things… and that is okay. Just respect all sides of the spectrum.

What I think is important may not be important to everyone.

 4. Don’t assume I know what you mean.

Context is key in communicating. Learn to think in terms of “why”… Why is this project so important to me? Others may not know what you know… Make it clear for them. Connect what you do with why they care. Change how you look at the situation. Can others understand what you do and why it matters? Assumptions cause break downs in communication.

Don’t let this happen to you.

5. Focus on THEM. I’m okay.

If you think you’re right – it’s time to reconsider! Re-think your communication approach. How can you persuade on their terms?

Bev also provided us with some keys to confident communicating!

1. Know why – what is the point of this communication? 2. Know who – who am I talking to, my audience? What do I know about them? 3. Create flow – how do we segment the mass amounts of information available to us out there? Have to find a flow, grouping, segments to divide the knowledge and work with all styles. 4. Provide context 5. Establish a next step – leave them with an action item, pulling from your “know why” you had the conversation and persuaded someone.

She closed with a quote, encouraging us to take these gems out into the world and apply them to our every day happenings.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci


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