In past columns, we’ve discussed the different principals of psychology in business (authority, consistency, reciprocity, scarcity, and social proof) from Dr.
Robert Cialdini’s work on persuasion in a business environment.
Separately, we’ve discussed Bluma Zeigarnik and the Zeigarnik Effect; how people psychologically are conditioned to go up levels and how they don’t consider themselves “finished” with something until they reach what they perceive as “the end.” Hence, coin and stamp collecting, the Beanie Baby craze, baseball cards and even status levels with respect to credit cards and in frequent-flyer programs are all based around the human need to have the “whole set.”
Admit it. Do you ever read the little blurbs at the end of a column, with further information about the columnist? Or when a speaker finishes a lecture and says “for those of you here today I have a special offer,” doesn’t your brain switch to the off position, because “now the content is over and salesmanship is starting?” What Zeigarnik proved, so valuable to businesspeople, is that while we will read a newspaper column until the end, it’s not because it’s always interesting. We cannot stop in the middle without causing ourselves frustration and mental disruption.
We tend to choose to finish what we are in the middle of, rather than face that open loop.
It’s important to control, or at least try to somewhat guide, how your brand is perceived on the street. Donald Trump must maintain his brand image of private jets, luxury apartments and his (real, he says... I believe him) hair.
Warren Buffet on the other hand, can be as wealthy as he is and not need any trappings of wealth. His brand image totally deemphasizes that, and it’s congruent with his image. Even the tremendous charity he has given was contributed to a foundation with Bill and Melinda Gates name on it, not his own.
This week, I want to take you to the next level of awareness about how this works – and why.
What do you want to your reputation to be in your marketplace? A good cook, a popular executive, a doctor or attorney with specific knowledge or skill that, if better known, would make you a stronger force in your world? Make a list of them.
Once you make a list of the three to five things that you want to be known for, and that are most important at this stage of your career, concentrate on them and perfect them. As your sphere of influence grows, these will change. But for now, these are the elements that you need to Zeigarnikize.
Focus on the message you want to get across, and place it within the context of conversation. As long as what you say is educational, relevant, and in proper context, Mrs. Zeigarnik will ensure that the person you are communicating with engaged in what you have to say.
Whether business expert or celebrity style, an expert status, greatly lowers the barriers to obtaining new clients.
This is both because those folks are more likely to know who you are, as well as because a good trust factor does wonders in helping people decide if you are a good investment of their hard earned cash.
Every one of us has made financial mistakes in the past, and the subconscious fear of “am I about to make the same mistake I made back then for which my wife/ mother/self has never forgiven me?” is always present as a checks and balance system of sorts.
In order for a transaction to happen, that fear must be overcome; that this time it truly is a decision they won’t regret.
Let them know what it is you do and why you are of tremendous value. Because with every such interaction, the fear of having wasted good money on a dumb decision recedes tremendously.
Proactively using the strategy above can totally transform an organization. It can move an enterprise from “push” style, where a business is in the lower position, trying to move up, over to “pull” style, where people reach out to you, already presold by the value you’ve created in the marketplace. This enables a better, easier, more painless sales process, where most of the hesitancy has been extracted from the interaction.
Using the free and ever growing number of channels available to promote your message in your marketplace, being consistent with whatever strategies you decide to employ, and Zeigarnikizing them, you can hone in on the messages and positioning you seek, and communicate that to your potential client base.
Pick your positioning in the marketplace carefully.
Different positionings have different profit margins, but also require a different investment and upkeep, which is not always affordable or worthwhile. Choose carefully, and Zeigarnikize it. Here’s to your success.
Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi.