Masters Week – What “The Herd” Can Teach You About Human Nature and Prospecting
Practice play at the Masters begins today. How do I know? A large “herd” of golf fans was spotted in front of the Augusta National Country Club.
“The herd” look alike and act alike. They wear the same style of clothes, buy the same memorabilia, and mimic their golf “heroes.” This transcends race, sex, and country of origin. Why? Because they are all golfers. And they prefer to associate with golfers “just like them.”
The occasional person in the crowd who “non-conforms” and behaves “differently” sticks out like a sore thumb.
Observing crowds can teach you a great deal about human behavior. The more you know about human behavior, the better you become at prospecting. The better you relate to your prospects, the faster you grow your business.
Humans naturally join groups. Not just any group. We like to join groups that make us feel safe and accepted.
This tenancy to herd is a very powerful unconscious bias. Behavioral economists call this the Herd Instinct.
The common tendency to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviors of the majority to feel safer and to avoid conflict.
Research has shown that our desire to “fit in” is so strong that people will question, and even abandon, what they believe is true just to be part of the group.
One of the studies goes something like this. A pre-select group is instructed to agree that a statement is true even though it is not (“It’s okay to run red lights during the Masters.”). An unsuspecting subject is added to the group. The moderator then asks the group to agree or disagree with the prearranged statement. Everyone in the group agrees that the untrue statement is true – except the subject. Generally this makes the subject very uncomfortable.
On many occasions the subject will change their response just to fit in – even though they know they are correct and the group is wrong. The herd bias is that strong.
Here’s the takeaway. The herding bias is a foundational behavior. It’s a basic human attribute. Don’t fight it. Embrace it.
When you enter a new group, orient yourself. Develop a situational awareness for the attitudes, culture, beliefs and values of the group. Remember that your prospects will unconsciously defer to the “group think.”
There’s an old saying. “You are joining the group. The group isn’t joining you.” If you are a good fit to the group things should go well. If you are not a good fit – the group is not aligned with your beliefs, values, and culture – move on. You are wasting your time.