Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Using 'because' to get away with murder

In the late 1970s, Ellen Langer and some colleagues at Harvard University showed in a simple experiment just how powerful reasons can be.
At the Harvard library there was a single photocopier that always had a line of people waiting to use it. For the experiment, Langer’s colleagues would walk to the front of that line and ask to cut in. If they said it was ‘because I’m in a rush’, 95 per cent of the time the people in the line said yes. But if they gave no reason, only 60 per cent of those queuing said yes.

Interestingly, if the researchers gave a bogus reason but still used the word ‘because’, 93 per cent of the people in the line still said yes.

Human beings like reasons, and the the word 'because' is the hypnotic link to the reason. As sales people we need to use the word 'because' such as

"... I'm calling you because I read an article about how you are ,,,"

Company: Harvard University
Source: Anecdote website and changingminds.org
Reference: http://changingminds.org/explanations/needs/rationality.htm
Story Type: Insight, Teaching

For Story Students
The Setting: Late 70s at Havard University
The Complications: Experimenters were investigatimg some surprising human behaviours in the photocopy queue
The Turning Point: They noticed that even an irrational 'because' led to a compliant queue
The Resolution: Humans need the 'because' to generate meaning in situations
The Point of the Story: Humans need the 'because' to generate meaning in situations
How to use this story: Useful for sales people in cold calling and many other scenarios

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