Written by Sean McPheat |
Robert Cialdini, in his great book “Influence”, tells a story of how people working in an office went to another floor to take some photocopies. They went to the front of the queue and asked if they could jump in to take some photocopies.
The majority of people rejected their request, so the person had to go to the back of the queue.
The experiment was held again, with one minor difference. The person who jumped the queue just asked if they could take some photocopies, and then gave a reason. The reason was immaterial. The fact that they gave a reason was the only difference between the two experiments.
This time, the majority of people accepted their request and allowed the person to jump in. And the only difference was the fact that a reason had been given.
I wish everything in life was that simple. But it got me thinking about when we ask for things that we want others to do for us. Many times we just ask for the favour, or the request is made without outlining the main reason for it to be carried out.
Try asking someone with a reason. Just something like, “The reason I need this so quickly is…” or “The reason I’m asking for you to do this is…”. If you put the word ‘because’ in there, it adds power and meaning to the request, and helps justify it.
People may well become more responsive when they have a reason to do something, so try it out and see what a difference it makes. You might find your customer reacts differently to your requests. And that can only be good for business!
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Originally published: 25 October, 2010