participation technique is to use visualization. No one can follow
through on an act or message without first
or seeing in his or her mind that it is possible to accomplish
it. You can mentally achieve participation by helping your
audience visualize, and see in their mind how your product
or service will
help them. Real estate agents attempt to help their clients
visualize living with their family in a certain home. When
home, the agent wants the people to envision it as their own.
A group of researchers went door-to-door selling cable TV subscriptions.
When they included the phrase "imagine how
cable TV will provide you with broader entertainment," they
immediately achieved more success. Forty-seven percent of those
told to imagine cable TV bought a subscription, while only
20% of the control group did. The mind is activated when you
your prospect visualize your product or service.
In many persuasive
situations, your audience may not be interested in your message,
or product at all. How do you pull in
passersby? Many times when we see a persuasive situation, we like
to remain anonymous. We don’t want to feel any pressure, so we
watch from a distance. If someone at the clothing store asks
we say "no." We avoid the involvement because deep down
we know that becoming involved will decrease our resistance. I
remember spending some time on Key West in the Florida Keys. Every
night before dusk, everyone would gather at Sunset Pier to watch
the sunset and enjoy the view. It is a great time of the day to
unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty. It is also the perfect opportunity
for vendors and street performers to hawk their wares. We saw jugglers,
sword swallowers, magic tricks, the works. One night, as I watched
people walk by, many of them wanted to watch but felt timid unless
a crowd had already gathered around the performers. The performers
knew if they did not get a crowd, they would not make any money.
When someone remains anonymous, they feel little pressure to donate.
I saw someone who was doing a magic act call over to someone who
was trying to remain anonymous. Soon, the performer got the man
involved in his act. This attracted more people to watch and also
got a donation from the gentleman, who was no longer anonymous.
If you see
someone around you, or in your audience, who is avoiding or rejecting
try to get him or her involved. You
can get a volunteer from your audience and, by getting his to
willingly participate, you will completely change his
Pet store owners are famous for this. They see children come
around. The parents don’t want to have a dog in the house, but
their son or daughter still wants to look. The owner waits patiently
to see the child’s eyes light up and instantly fall in love with
a new puppy. The child holds and hugs the puppy and the dad knows
he is in for a struggle. The owner is wise and does not want to
fight the father. He just says, "It looks like she has fallen
in love with this puppy. I understand your apprehension about having
a new puppy – who will be in charge of it? Tell you what – just
take the puppy home for the weekend, and if it doesn’t work out,
bring him back." Of course, you know that the rest is history.
Who can’t fall in love with a puppy after a weekend? The owner
has successfully pulled a reluctant customer to get involved.
One of the
most influential salesmen for the U.S. army was Major General
Walter S. Sweeney. In one city, where he and his troops
were staying, there was a strong feeling of hostility toward the
troops. The Major General wisely invited one of the civic clubs
to lunch. There, club members were served by army members while
they listened to the army band play and different speeches. The
meeting was successful, and others followed. It was not long before
the hostility was forgotten. The Major General knew that the only
way he would gain support was if he could involve and get to know
your audience physically move can also affect the way your message
is received. Involvement can be something
as simple as
getting people to say "yes", to raise their hands,
or even just to nod their heads "yes". The more movement
and involvement you can create, the greater your ability to
persuade. Great persuaders look for times when they can get
from their audience. They engineer their persuasive message
to get as many verbal, mental, or physical "yeses" as
they can throughout their presentation. And there is good evidence
to support this practice. One study brought in a large group
of students to do "market research on high-tech headphones".
The students were told that the researchers wanted to test
well the headphones worked while they were in motion (while
were dancing up and down and moving their heads to the beat
of Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles). Following the songs, the
played an argument about how the university’s tuition should
be raised from $587 per semester to $750 per semester. One
group of students had been told to move their heads up and
the music and the speaking. Another group was told to move
their heads from side to side. A last group was told to make
the headsets," the
students were asked to fill out a questionnaire about not only
the headsets, but also
the university’s tuition. Those nodding their heads up and down
(yes motion) overall rated a jump in tuition as favorable. Those
shaking their heads side to side (no motion) overall wanted the
tuition to be lowered. Those who had not moved their heads didn’t
really seem to be persuaded one way or the other. In a similar
study at the University of Missouri, the researchers found that
TV advertisements were more persuasive when the visual display
had repetitive vertical movements; for example, a bouncing ball.
Use questions that will create "yeses." As you create
your marketing and persuasive presentations, you must engineer
the number of times you get your audience to raise their hands,
say yes, or nod their heads. How many verbal yeses are you getting?
One easy and effective way to get more affirmative responses is
to engineer questions that will receive a positive answer. For
example, when a word ends in "n’t" it will bring a "yes
response." Consider the following: Wouldn’t it? Isn’t it?
Couldn’t it? Doesn’t it? Shouldn’t it? Won’t you? Can’t you?
Store and mall
owners understand the concept of participation. They attempt
to get you participating by making eye contact with
you, by arranging their stores to force you to spend more time
in them, and by saying hello as you pass. When you shop for goods
in Mexico, for example, the storeowner knows that if he can get
you in the store and get you involved, there is a greater chance
of persuasion and a purchase. As such, he will make eye contact
and do everything in his power to get you into the store. If you
don’t go in the store, he might follow you for blocks, showing
you his products and trying to get you to buy.
of time one spends in a store is directly related to how much
they will buy. The more time spent, the more money spent.
For example, in an electronics store, non-buyers averaged about
5 minutes and 6 seconds shopping time, while buyers averaged
9 minutes and 29 seconds in the store. In a toy store,
the longest any non-buyer stayed was 10 minutes, while shortest
time spent for a buyer was just over 17 minutes. In some
cases, buyers stayed up to four times longer than non-buyers.
arrangements are made by stores to persuade people to get interested
involved. For example, hallways and walking
paths at malls are made of hard marble or tiles. But the floors
of individual stores are soft and carpeted, encouraging
you to stay longer. Have you ever noticed that it is easy to get
disoriented in a mall you are unfamiliar with? Malls purposely
design their structures with hexagonal floor plans, which are the
most difficult to navigate: complicated hallways, confusing angles,
and consistent temperature and lighting. The Mall of America in
Minnesota, the largest mall in America, wants you to get lost – you
can walk forever and still not know exactly where you are. This
is also the reason why malls place department stores at opposite
ends of each other. Department stores are draws, so for people
to get from one to another, they will have to walk past every store
in the mall before they reach the next one. Grocery stores place
their milk at the back of the store so customers have to walk through
the rest of the store to grab a carton. All of these tactics increase
the time that customers spend in the store. And, as we know, increased
time in a store means increased sales.
the next Millionaire Diamond Mine, we will review more
pieces to gaining Influence by Participation, like Making
Contact, Atmosphere, and more.