University psychologists, John Darley and Daniel Batson, wanted
to see how students would respond if they were in a
situation replicating the biblical account of the Good
Samaritan. As the
story goes, a band of thieves beat, robbed, and left a man
traveling alone by the roadside to die. A devout priest
and a reputable
Levite passed by. Neither of the men stopped to help the dying
man. Finally, a Samaritan, loathed and despised by society,
stopped to help him. The Samaritan bound up his wounds,
took him to an
inn, and even paid the innkeeper to care for him until he returned.
Darley and Batson asked seminarians on a one-on-one
basis to prepare and present a short speech on an assigned biblical
topic. The test
was set up so that on their way to the location where they would
deliver their speech, each student would cross a man slumped over,
coughing and groaning. Which students would actually stop and help?
Before preparing their speeches, the students filled out a questionnaire
asking why they had chosen to study theology. Then a variety of
speech topics were assigned, including the story of the Good Samaritan.
As the students were leaving to deliver their speeches, some were
told, "You’d better hurry. They were expecting you about three
minutes ago." Others were told, "They won’t be ready
for a few minutes, but you may as well head over now."
Now, most people
would surmise that seminarians stating on their questionnaires
that they had chosen to study
theology so they could
help people, and who were then assigned to speak on the Good Samaritan
would be the ones most likely to stop and help the ailing man on
their way. If you were one of the many who thought this, the actual
results may surprise you. Interestingly, neither of those two factors
seemed to make much of a difference. In fact, Darley and Batson
stated, "Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student
going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally
stepped over the victim as he hurried on his way." The element
that seemed to be most influential was whether or not the student
was rushed. Of the students who were told they were already a little
late, only 10% stopped to help. Of the students who were told they
had a little bit more time, 63% stopped to help.
We can learn from this example that we can create atmospheres
where people are so involved and feel so much pressure to be sufficiently
involved that they ignore other factors they normally would not.
Create the Experience
good way to get people involved is to get your product into their
hands. If they can begin to use it, chances are
they will continue. That is why car dealers encourage test
You will even see car dealerships give their loyal customers
a car to drive for a few days. How can you go back to your
old car after driving around in a new car? By that point,
and co-workers have already seen you in the car and have commented
about your new vehicle. You’re thoroughly involved, and the
new car is yours.
You want people
to experience your product for
free. Free trials are really what made the Internet company
AOL (America Online) successful. Who hasn’t received
at least 5 free CDs from
are great examples of this. For example, many TV advertisers
offer a free one-month trial before you have
for their product. After the month is up, most consumers will keep
the product, even if they didn’t use it. The trial period has created
a sense of ownership in the product, and consumers don’t like to
relinquish ownership. This is also why so many companies use introductory
offers. Credit card issuers are known for tempting customers with
introductory deals that give very low interest rates. To get your
product in your prospects’ hands, get them to open the box
and play with the object, give them the feeling of ownership, make
them feel as if they already bought it, and suggest how the product
can be used in their home. There are many other examples of the
Law of Involvement. Think about the listening stations in the music
stores, the comfortable chairs where you can kick back and read
in the bookstores, booths set up at the malls where you can try
and test products and equipment, CD clubs where you get so many
free CDs, frequent user programs, coupons, contests, and the variety
of services offering free estimates.
example is the company 3M®. At their outset,
Post-it™ notes were not very successful. 3M was going to
discontinue the whole line until the brand manager sent a case
of Post-its to 499 of the Fortune 500 Companies. Because of their
trial run, the Fortune 500 companies loved the efficiency of Post-it
notes, and the rest is history.
way for businesses to cash in on the Law of Involvement is to
use the "magic" of written declarations. This occurs
through the use of an innocent-looking promotional device. Have
you ever seen companies who have essay contests? You know, where
the consumer has to write a 100-word essay beginning with the statement, "I
love this product because…"? Well, is there any better
way to get a commitment out of someone than to have them put it
in writing? What about those Crayola® drawing contests, where
kids had to submit their artwork created with Crayola’s crayons?
It’s the same principle.
Usually we are more inclined to favor our own ideas over the ideas
of others, right? Knowing that people do not typically resist their
own ideas can be key when trying to influence others. Always seek
to get the other person to think your ideas are his or her own.
An example of this strategy in action is when companies have the
customer fill out a sales agreement. Cancellations are amazingly
low when the customer has filled out their agreements on their
own. It’s a double whammy: not only are your prospects agreeing
to what you want, but they are also putting it in writing!
the next Millionaire Diamond Mine
Keeping Attention: A Bored Mind
taken from Magnetic Persuasion by Kurt Mortensen
Mortensen, author of Exponential Success Skills and Weapons
of Influence, is one of American’s leading authorities
on Persuasion, Motivation and Influence. After receiving a
Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts,
he began many successful entrepreneurial ventures, through
which he has acquired many years of both experience and success.
In addition to his extensive entrepreneurial and sales experiences,
Kurt is a sales and persuasion coach helping thousands of people
reach higher levels of success, income and persuasion mastery.
Currently, he is a speaker, consultant, and a Trainer for Mark
Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen Protégés.