I Don’t Need Insurance. “They” Said So. | Ted McLyman dot Com

I Don’t Need Insurance. “They” Said So.

money crazyMeet “They.”  “They” could be your nemesis or best friend during a sale. “They” always show up. Sometimes “They” are right in the middle of things. And at times “They” hang back. The sooner you figure out who “They” are, the better.

“They” are anyone and anything we use to feel good about a buying decision. “They” are us — it’s our nature. We want to confirm and not deny our buying decisions. Remember, we naturally gravitate to those we agree with and seek their opinion and approval.

Behavioral economists call this:

Confirmation Bias: Seeking out information that supports preferred positions and avoids information that undercuts that position. The tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconception.

You, I and our clients, do this all the time. Here’s a very common example from the insurance industry, although this happens in every sale.

You’ve just met with a couple to discuss their life insurance needs.  The meeting went very well.  They agreed to implement the plan you developed and signed all the paperwork.

The next day you receive the following e-mail: “Please cancel the applications. We’ve changed our mind. After doing some research on the Internet and talking with a friend on FaceBook, we think we’ve found a better solution. Thank you for your time.”

The blood drains out of your body. In your mind, you’ve already spent your payout. You clear your calendar and immediately go into “conserve mode.”

Been there, done that. So what happened?

The more important a decision is to the buyer, the greater the perceived risk. And the greater the risk, the more we think and feel about a decision. We hate loss — it hurts emotionally. So, in order to “feel’ good about our decisions we must confirm our decisions.

We look to confirm with those we know and trust — peer group and peer group leaders. The quality of the advise is often secondary. Remember, we hanged a lot of witches because some smart guy at the top of the pack said it would make things better. And everyone (except the witch) confirmed that it was an excellent idea. The point is, we want to “feel” good about our decisions.

Here’s the real problem. Technology has given us confirmation bias “on steroids.”  The Internet gives us immediate access to trillions of bits of data and information. Social media expands our peer groups and their influence.

Now, with the help of Google, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and FaceBook we can make bad decisions faster. And feel good about it in real time. Nice.

We are good with our decisions because we confirmed them. Next . . .

What’s the sales pro to do?

  • Remember, humans seek to confirm — not to deny.
  • The greater the emotional risk the greater the need to confirm.
  • Assume that your prospect or client will use the Internet and peer group to discuss and confirm your offering and their decision.
  • Address the confirmation bias up front. Offer your own Internet and third party confirmation.
  • Ask how they make decisions — what’s their process and who is involved?
  • Establish yourself as the “decision or choice expert” who’s role is to help your client make better decisions — don’t be that “sales guy.”
  • Be part of the decision process — not an order taker.
  • Avoid the “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Know how your prospects and clients think and feel about money — they are all unique.

Money Made Personal — Ted