Drafternoon Recap — The Science Of Selling With Logan Strain

Our creative and talented team at The Control Group just keep stepping up their game when it comes to their drafternoon presentations. Last week, we saw Joe Furfaro present on the art of selling. This week, Copywriter Logan Strain furthered the conversation with a complementary take on the topic. His angle? The science of selling.

Having spent nearly a decade in the web copywriting business, Logan has had some time to conduct his own research into the science of selling, and in his past year and a half at The Control Group, he’s applied that knowledge to craft a variety of content such as blog posts, infographics, videos and video scripts, and sales copy. In his drafternoon presentation, Logan drew upon personal experience and behavioral studies to delve into three ways that human psychology can influence a purchasing decision:

  • Commitment and Consistency

  • Testimonials and Reviews

  • Authority

Commitment And Consistency

Nobody wants to be viewed as a hypocrite. To avoid this, people generally strive to behave in a way that’s consistent with their past behavior. That’s why, Logan explained, getting your customer to make even a small commitment during the sales process makes them much more likely to follow through with the sale, out of a subconscious urge to be consistent.

As an example, Logan cited Thomas Moriarty’s classic 1975 study in which it was discovered that bystanders on a crowded beach were more likely to intervene in a staged theft if they had previously committed to watching the person’s belongings. This, Logan pointed out, could be attributed to a subconscious desire to behave in a consistent manner.

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Testimonials And Reviews

A second influencer of purchasing that has stood the test of time is the testimonial. Logan showed us a vintage print advertisement for pianos that listed the names of artists who endorsed the brand. Logan pointed out that people look to social evidence to determine correct behavior, perhaps believing that conforming to general opinion would reduce the risk of committing a social faux pas, and that marketers can influence customer behavior by showing them examples of what other people are doing.

Again, an experiment drives the point home. Logan showed us Stanley Milgram’s 1969 experiment where an individual stood on a busy Manhattan street corner and stared up at the sky (at nothing). He found that 20% of passersby stopped to see what the first person was looking at. However, when five people stood on the corner and gazed up, 80% of people passing by stopped to look. Logan taught us that we’re hard-wired to accept social proof—to assume that if five people are looking at something, there must be something for us to look at. Testimonials, of course, work on the same principle.

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Authority

A third way psychology can influence sales is through the use of authority. From birth, we are trained to respect and obey authority figures, and as such, we are more easily influenced when presented with even the slightest semblance of authority.

Logan cited the experiment by Doob and Gross in which drivers were blocked at a green light by either an older car or a newer luxury car. The study found that when the older car blocked their way, drivers were quicker to honk their horns in frustration than when the newer car impeded their progress. Why did drivers act more forgiving toward the nicer car? Logan suggested that people perceived the wealthy driver of the luxury car to have more authority.

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Further Reading

For a more in-depth view of this topic, Logan recommended Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. If you find yourself in The Control Group’s downtown office, Logan has a copy you can borrow!

We’re all eagerly looking forward to what the next drafternoon will bring! Stay tuned here to read all about it.

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