Saturday, January 24, 2009

Don't Oversell

A big turn off for some buyers is the sales person that won't shut up so you can think. Silence is needed for some people to finish the buying transaction.

For example, if I am in a restaurant at lunchtime and the waitress tells me what their specials are for the day, I will mentally think about what I am planning on having for dinner before I decide what to have for lunch. If she keeps rambling on and on and on, then I either have to tune her out, or tell her to go away for a moment.

This is true with many buying scenarios. Look at this from

I'm Ignorant. I'm Blissful. Shut Up.

Ah, chocolate. Who doesn't love it? Short of an ice cream cone, nothing produces an instant state of bliss better than a good chunk of the sweet stuff. Now, a new research study presents chocolate as a product that can virtually sell itself—better than any marketer can, anyway.

These researchers invited two sets of consumers to test a "new" brand of chocolate. One set was given vague information (just a brief description of ingredients), while the other set was given more precise information (ingredients, nutritional value). Each participant then indulged in the taste test, and was asked to rate the sample.

The consumers who rated the samples highest (more favorable on its positive attributes and less unfavorable on any negative attributes) were those who received vague information prior to sampling. In other words, those marketers who just offered customers the treat without wasting time with too much info got a happier response. The researchers dubbed this phenomenon the Blissful Ignorance Effect.

The message? Shut up and get out of the way! At least with yummy-factor products, try offering a bit of information, a sample, and then let your customers do the word-of-mouth marketing for you. "It would behoove marketers to capitalize on the enhanced optimism of the BIE as part of their 'buzz' marketing campaigns," these researchers conclude.

The Po!nt: Some products really can sell themselves. If you have a product with a yummy factor, try talking less, offering samples and encouraging post-sample buzz.

Source: "The Blissful Ignorance Effect: Pre- versus Post-action Effects on Outcome Expectancies Arising from Precise and Vague Information," by Himanshu Mishra, Baba Shiv and Dhananjay Nayakankuppam. Journal of Consumer Research, 2008.

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