Influencers from Around the World – The Contrast Phenomenon

Several weeks ago I introduced Sean Patrick to readers in my Influencers from Around the World article. Because there are so many people in different countries reading Influence PEOPLE I thought it would be a good learning experience to hear from other trainers around the world and how they use the principles of influence. Sean jumped at the chance to help out so you’ll be reading his thoughts on the contrast phenomenon. Sean resides in Ireland and has his own sales training company, Sean Patrick Training, and writes a blog he calls Professional Persuader. We met through Facebook when I friended Sean after seeing him on Dr. Cialdini’s friends list. Now we regularly exchange training ideas when we talk over Skype. Sean is a very interesting, entertaining guy and I think you’ll enjoy what he has to share. Connect with him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”
The Contrast PhenomenonI’ve been asked by Brian to write about an aspect of highly persuasive behavior. The aspect I want to share is a phenomenon in persuasion known as contrast. There are many psychological props we are all exposed to and they produce an almost automatic compliance when activated. These are known as “Click-Whirr” actions and responses. A “Click” can be denoted by the action, psychological principle, being played out while the “Whirr” is the automatic response produced as a result. These actions and responses are often unseen and undetected.

The contrast phenomenon is by now a well established tool which can be applied in different situations. It is also known as Perceptual Contrast or the Psychology of Perception.

Once upon a time in my own sales career I stumbled unknowingly across this psychological lever as if by complete accident. I was presenting – for the third time – to a prospect who was sitting on the fence about buying my proposition and I really wanted this guy to buy from me. During my presentation we began discussing in detail the financial aspects to the proposal. To make a long story short, I began to delete line items from my proposal and as I was doing this I was explaining to the prospect what he stood to lose (a little scarcity) in terms of business benefits, and how the overall solution would be diminished if he lost these benefits. Not only that, but I explained how much more expensive it would be to buy these line items back at any point in the future because of the level of discount he was getting if he bought the package now. To end this story, the prospect became a customer because the original price seemed to be less expensive than first perceived. Another plus – I sold more products which amplified the benefits of my core proposition even further. In the end price stopped being an issue because it was immediately replaced by value in his mind.

When I singled out the core product the benefits seemed great on their own merits, but when the customer realized how these benefits would be greatly enhanced by just having these ancillary products he was sold!

One of the great things we notice in utilizing the contrast phenomenon is the fact that it is practically invisible to the person we are influencing. This principle can affect the people we choose to socialize and associate with. It also affects how we view our role models because we can falsely determine the attractiveness of our mate either by distorting the physical attractiveness or a misplaced perception of social status. On the business side, we can often make our products appear more or less expensive just by applying contrast intelligently. Not only that, we can put our problems and other people’s problems into a less problematic scenario by using this principle wisely.Sean

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