Marketers are intensely clever individuals. They’re always coming up with ways to get people to spend money, even when there might be some reluctance to do so. You’ve seen most, if not all of these before, even if you haven’t consciously thought about it. They’re so commonplace that everybody is “in” on the game. Things like:
False Scarcity – “Well sir, there’s only one room left!” Even though everybody knows this probably is not true.
Sense of Urgency – “And if you order right now, we’ll give you a second UberDelux Thingamadoo for half off!”
Appeal to Better Nature – “Won’t you spend a little extra to buy our product? It’s good for the planet, and will help us leave a better world for our children.”
There are more of these, but you get the idea.
Each one of these strategies is designed to appeal to a certain basic human need. To have something before it’s gone. To scoop the rest of the world on an unbeatable deal and be the star. To be the one person that makes a difference in a sea of indifference. Even better, sometimes the marketing strategies are even true, but when they’re not, there’s no real harm done. As I said, everyone is “in” on the game. It’s a little dance we do with the marketers. It’s just how life in a consumer society works.
One of the best, simplest, and most effective marketing tricks, is the either/or choice. You’ve seen this one at least a hundred times, if you’ve seen it once, and it definitely deserves a place in the marketing Hall of Fame.
How Does It Work & Why Is It So Successful?
Simply put, by posing the question, the marketer or sales person presupposes that the decision to buy has already been made. What the marketer or sales person says is something like this:
“I see you’re looking at our new Ultra-Deluxe Widgetastic. Would you like that in brushed stainless, or classic black?”
Here’s the same phrase with the unspoken implication added: “Great! You’ve decided to buy the Ultra-Deluxe Widgetastic! Would you like that in brushed stainless, or classic black?”
The sales psychology at work here is that the customer pre-selects themselves by expressing or displaying an interest in a given product. The sales/marketing person takes this interest and transforms it in the mind of the customer into a sale by assuming that it will become so, and forging ahead with other matters like, “What color do you want that in?” or “What size do you wear?”
The customer, who is obviously already at least somewhat interested, simply goes along for the ride, and why not? They were clearly interested in the product, and here’s this nice person willing to sell it to them at a good price, and help them work out all the particulars.
Study after study has shown that this approach yields more sales, by far, than simply standing back and waiting for the customer himself to arrive at the purchase decision. By taking an active approach, you get better conversion. It’s just that simple.