The YES Factor: Persuading Business Buyers

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www.earnest-agency.com In B2B marketing, we’re in the business of PERSUASION Image: Unsplash.com <Alejandro Escamilla>

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www.earnest-agency.com Everyday we persuade people we often don’t know to: Open our emails Visit our websites Download our white papers Watch our videos Follow us on Twitter And even once in a while, buy something from us.

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www.earnest-agency.com It’s all about persuading people to say ‘YES’ Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>

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www.earnest-agency.com “The buyers pipeline requires a series of micro-yesses before getting to that macro yes.” YES [Brandon Stamschrar, MECLABS] The thing is:

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www.earnest-agency.com So what makes people say ‘YES’ ? Image: Earnest

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www.earnest-agency.com “Each micro yes is about perceived value v perceived cost.” [Brandon Stamschrar, MECLABS]

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www.earnest-agency.com But when making micro-yesses buyers don’t: Evaluate all the options Investigate each option fully Apply everything they know Assign a value and cost to each option ? ? ? ? Image: Unsplash <Dietmar Becker>

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Because… > They haven’t got the time > They’re subject to biases > They’re stifled by choice > They’re inherently lazy thinkers www.earnest-agency.com And the big one: THEY HATE RISK Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>

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www.earnest-agency.com “When making any choice our first instinct is not to choose the ‘best answer’ but the answer which minimises the harm we personally can suffer in the worst case outcome.” Aka. to MINIMAX [John Von Neumann via Rory Sutherland]

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www.earnest-agency.com Others call this “SATISFICING” (To Satisfy + Suffice) CHANCE Where buyers opt for the low risk, easy solution rather than searching for the best possible solution. No thanks

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www.earnest-agency.com And they’re not even aware of it. Because 85% of decisions are made by the unconscious part of the brain. [Martin Lindstrom, Buyology] Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>

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www.earnest-agency.com It means the micro-yesses even for the biggest decisions are less RATIONAL than we think Image: Unsplash.com <Maria Carrasco>

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www.earnest-agency.com So the big question is what makes business buyers more likely to say Yes Yes Yes ?

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www.earnest-agency.com Essentially, we need to be aware of how people think because it influences how they make decisions. Image: Shutterstock

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www.earnest-agency.com There are two ways: & FAST SLOW [Thanks Daniel Kahneman]

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www.earnest-agency.com FAST Aka. System 1 or Autopilot Operates automatically Assesses what’s going on in our environment Determines whether we should direct more attention to a task Image: Unsplash.com <Anna Dziubinska>

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It helps us make SNAP JUDGEMENTS Serving as OUR FILTER OF THE WORLD P.S It also determines whether buyers pay attention to your communications or not * * Unfortunately typically not

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www.earnest-agency.com Because without it, things like this would kill us. Image: Unsplash.com <Thomas Lefebvre>

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www.earnest-agency.com And then there’s the other way of thinking… Aka. System 2 or Pilot SLOW Image: Unsplash.com <Todd Quackenbush>

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It means System 2 requires: ATTENTION EFFORT

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But remember we’re www.earnest-agency.com LAZY THINKERS (you, me & even your buyers) so we try to make our lives easier by substituting difficult questions with simpler ones Image: Shutterstock

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www.earnest-agency.com So when it comes to asking the question: Which of these service providers will do the best job? Buyers can end up asking: Which of these sales people do I like the best? BIAS ALERT Which of these brands will my boss have heard of? Isn’t it easier to go with the guys we’ve always used? Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>

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SYSTEM 2 As B2B marketers we tend to design for System 2, but it’s POINTLESS if we never break through System 1. Score:000

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Especially when in most cases, people make decisions like this… Input Decision System 1 Autopilot System 2 Pilot

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www.earnest-agency.com The fact is even if you sell something that’s BIG, COMPLEX and CONSIDERED you’ve got to break through their System 1. Image: Unsplash.com <Martin Wessely>

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www.earnest-agency.com Because if they don’t: Open your emails Download your content Attend your events Take your calls ? ? ? ? The Micro- Yesses You’re being filtered out

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www.earnest-agency.com How long have you got? Ad in popular magazines – 1.7 secs Ad in trade journals – 3.2 secs Poster – 1.5 secs Mailing – 2 secs Banner ad – 1 sec You need to make first impressions count [Via Phil Barden, Decoded] Image: Unsplash.com <Sonja Langford>

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www.earnest-agency.com So how do you make the cut? EASY does it Image: Unsplash.com <Loudge>

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www.earnest-agency.com Make it easy for buyers Yes Yes Yes so you secure that micro-yes EVERY TIME

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www.earnest-agency.com Because if you make it easy they’re more likely to Like what they see and BELIEVE what you have to say

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DO NOTHING [Some call this Status Quo bias – the fact is most people just hate change] As the easiest thing in the world for them is to: www.earnest-agency.com Image: Unsplash.com <Caleb Thal>

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www.earnest-agency.com What does EASY look like? EASE Feels familiar Feels true Feels effortless Feels good Repeated experience Clear display Primed idea Good mood [Causes and Consequences of Cognitive Ease: Thinking, Fast and Slow]

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www.earnest-agency.com And this is where BRANDING pays dividends Image: Unsplash.com <Mario Calvo>

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www.earnest-agency.com It’s all about building… FAMILIARITY and FAVOURABILITY [See it’s not going to kill you this time] Image: Unsplash.com <Thomas Lefebvre>

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www.earnest-agency.com And it’s why we prefer brands we KNOW rather than brands we’ve NEVER heard of before

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www.earnest-agency.com EASIER TO PROCESS Because the things we are MORE FAMILIAR with are “The experience of familiarity has a simple but powerful quality of ‘pastness’ that seems to indicate that it is a direct reflection of prior experience.” [Larry Jacoby] Image: Unsplash.com <Griffin Keller>

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www.earnest-agency.com And simply being EXPOSED to one BRAND more than another can have the desired effect. BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND BRAND

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www.earnest-agency.com Research shows that people tend to develop a PREFERENCE for things simply because they are more familiar with them.* * The Mere Exposure Effect [Robert Zajonc] Research shows that people tend to develop a PREFERENCE for things simply because they are more familiar with them.* * The Mere Exposure Effect [Robert Zajonc]

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www.earnest-agency.com Novel stimulus leads to a fear and avoidance response. But with REPEATED EXPOSURE, the stimulus causes less fear. We even react fondly to it. [Often without knowing it.]

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It may explain why you can have the best proposition in the world. Yet know one knows you. So they choose to go with one of your better known rivals. [Even the one with the half baked offer.]

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www.earnest-agency.com The thing is in B2B, brands are just about equal in INFLUENCE and only just behind price and product. Strong brands outperform weak brands by 20%. [McKinsey] Image: Unsplash<Wojtek Witkowski>

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www.earnest-agency.com This is where your content marketing, search and social media strategy could pay dividends. CAN’T AFFORD A BIG BRAND CAMPAIGN? Making you visible. Useful. Relevant. YES YES YES Increasing your exposure. Reducing cognitive strain. Image: Flickr <Creative Commons>

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What other ways can you make it EASY for buyers? Make your message simple for buyers to understand If you want to be seen as credible and intelligent, don’t use complex language when simpler language will do. [Want scientific proof? Check out ‘Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity:Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly’ by Danny Oppenheimer] JARGON

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Don’t overload your buyers with too many options. Too much choice is the same as no choice at all. [Barry Schwarz] Aka. Paradox of Choice

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Be relevant. Information that stands out - and is novel and salient - is more likely to affect the way a buyer thinks and acts. [P Dolan, Mindspace]

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Ensure a seamless journey for buyers, every step of the way. X X X Let people accomplish tasks as easily and directly as possible. [Don’t make me think: Steve Krug]

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www.earnest-agency.com And get to the of what’s really motivating people to buy from you

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www.earnest-agency.com Because they’re sure as hell not buying your products or services for the sake of it. They’re a means to an end. “To understand people one needs to understand what leads them to act as they do, and to understand what leads them to act as they do one needs to know their goals.” [Motives and Cultural Models, edited by Roy G. D'Andrade, Claudia Strauss] Image: Unsplash.com <Daniel Ruswick>

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www.earnest-agency.com And that end is ultimately about convincing them you can satisfy their goals more effectively than your rivals. . EXPLICIT IMPLICIT & Image: Unsplash.com <Sunset Girl>

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www.earnest-agency.com As B2B Marketers we tend to focus on the explicit goals. But there’s only so far promising to: Transform their business Deliver greater efficiency Lower cost Improve productivity Increase revenue Demonstrate ROI & all that jazz will take you * Delete as appropriate *

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www.earnest-agency.com Especially when every other chancer in your market is professing to do MUCH THE SAME Albeit it a slightly different way. Image: Unsplash.com <Brownie>

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www.earnest-agency.com That’s where being able to satisfy not only their explicit but also their implicit goals can pay dividends. The stuff that motivates people PERSONALLY (whether they know it or not) Image: Unsplash.com <Timothy Muza>

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www.earnest-agency.com So what do these implicit goals look like? Research shows there are two basic motivational drivers PROMOTION Emphasis = > Gaining > Benefiting > Progressing in some way PREVENTION Emphasis = > Avoiding loss > Protecting status quo > Living up to expectation

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www.earnest-agency.com It provides their FRAME OF REFERENCE and determines whether its best to position what you have to offer as avoiding loss or gain. is starting from. What’s their anchor point? Think about where your audience

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www.earnest-agency.com How can this inform the way you THINK about your audience… Image: Unsplash.com <Craig Garner>

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www.earnest-agency.com …Adding another dimension to your personas that can help inform and shape your messaging, campaign & content strategies? Image: Unsplash.com <Ilham Rahmansyah>

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www.earnest-agency.com Progress Recognition Stimulation Avoidance Control Obligation PROMOTION PREVENTION I need to do this to get ahead I need to do this to look good I need to do this to learn / because it looks interesting I need to do this to avoid losing out / losing something I need to do this to stay in control I need to do this because it’s expected of me Gain an advantage over others; Innovate; Lead the field Receive acclaim; Advance career; Win awards/accolades Personal discovery; Learning experience; Challenge myself; Helping others Be secure; Prevent losses; Avoid threats Stay on top; Maintain status quo; Be empowered Need to comply; Fulfil promises; Be true to my word Go-getter Status seeker Adventurer Worrier Controller Box-ticker Implicit goals Primary driver Motivations Persona Earnest Goal Matrix: It’s yours to use and abuse

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www.earnest-agency.com Psst. Different decision-makers and influencers (even within the same organisation) will have different motivations and biases. Work to identify which personas they fit – and tailor your story to hit the right implicit & explicit goals.

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www.earnest-agency.com So when all your competitors gather here… EXPLICIT goals

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www.earnest-agency.com So when all your competitors gather here… EXPLICIT goals IMPLICIT goals You win by differentiating here… Yes. Yes. Yes.

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www.earnest-agency.com NOT CONVINCED? “More C-Suite execs are increasingly making decisions about technology purchases they know nothing about. As a result, many decision makers choose suppliers based on personal value.” [O&M, Admap] Image: Unsplash.com <Liam Andrew>

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www.earnest-agency.com STILL NOT CONVINCED? “Buyers who see personal value are not only much more likely to purchase that brand, they are even more likely to pay a higher price.” [CEB Marketing Leadership Council / Google 2013] Image: Unsplash.com <Vladimir Kramer>

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www.earnest-agency.com Finally, never lose sight of the influence of others. People (your buyers) learn by copying others. Image: Unsplash.com <Jonas Nilsson Lee>

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www.earnest-agency.com And it’s still true when people buy things today. They copy the behaviour of others, as it reduces perceived risk. When we were in fear of predators, it allowed us to determine what was safe (and what wasn’t). THE ME-TOO EFFECT

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www.earnest-agency.com the more likely you are to get even MORE. It’s why the more: > Case studies > Client reference sites > Testimonials > Positive Reviews > Followers > Likes > Shares …you have, YES YES YES YES

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www.earnest-agency.com [And lots of YESSES can go an awfully long way.] So business people are not quite as rational as you think, even for the biggest business decisions.

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www.earnest-agency.com “The next revolution will be psychological – not technological.” [Rory Sutherland] Image: Unsplash.com <Jake Givens>

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www.earnest-agency.com ARE YOU READY

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www.earnest-agency.com earnest-agency.com @earnestagency Sign up to the next installment: Email: Behave@earnest-agency.com with the subject line: Yes Cover image: Unsplash.com <Sebastian Muller>

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