3 ways to make your customers more loyal (that harness Chinese brainwashing psychology).

Read Robert Cialdini’s book Influence the Psychology of Persuasion and you’ll discover how Chinese Communists brainwashed US POWs during the Korean War.

The process was subtle but effective. They’d just ask them to write mildly pro-communist statements in return for small camp privileges. Soon smaller commitments became bigger until some POWs publicly denounced, on air, American capitalism praising communism.

Now I’m not suggesting you gather testimonials to brainwash your customers, heaven forbid!

But why should making public statements change your perception of something?

Cialdini explains that the Chinese were simply using the “commitment and consistency weapon of influence”, an instinctive “psychological trigger” that helps us humans make decisions. If we publically commit to something, we naturally want to be consistent with that commitment.

Consistency implies intellectual strength, leadership, rationality, stability, logic and honesty. Inconsistency makes us feel, and appear, two-faced, indecisive and a flip-flop. As British chemist Michael Faraday when asked about a rival being wrong, famously replied “he’s not that consistent.’

Testimonials are commitments. When your customers give you a testimonial, instinctively they want to be consistent with that commitment. The more they provide, the greater the commitment and so greater the urge to be consistent.

So until now you may thinking that testimonials are all about making prospects feel comfortable becoming customers.

Well that’s true. But they’re as much about making customers feel loyal. Loyal customers stick around when things go wrong. But also their loyalty makes them more likely to provide referrals, positive references and more testimonials.

So here are 3 ways to foster commitment from your customers to make them psychologically more inclined to provide you testimonials: –

 #1 Develop a “word of mouth” marketing strategy. Go public with it. Ask your customers if they acknowledge it and agree with it.

You can say: –

a)     It aligns doing a great job for existing customers with winning more of them;

b)     Marketing and advertising resources are freed to provide better value for existing customers

c)      The process involves getting feedback. That’s the best way to improve operations so they satisfy customers more.

How can any prospective customer not agree that a “word of mouth” marketing strategy is not in their best interests?

#2 Systemise the process of implementing your “Word of Mouth” marketing strategy.

When people do something as a matter of process, systematically, they don’t have to think about whether or not they should do it. They don’t think about how they should do it, nor does the question “is now the right time” enter their minds. Unhesitatingly, they take action that fulfils your strategy.

So make  “word of mouth marketing” part of your sales choreography. But also it can extend to non-sales areas. For example, a company with engineers making an onsite visits, as a matter of course, they could ask customers to record their feedback, good or bad, into a smartphone voice memo recorder. Or the engineer can leave a card with a web address linking to a feedback page and a telephone number which enables a recorded feedback meesage.

Even if 90% of customers don’t give feedback, the remaining 10% will be more loyal than they’d otherwise be. And you’d have testimonials to grace your marketing you’d not otherwise have.

#3 Consider what your customers say in their testimonials

Ask your customers to testify to your unique sales proposition (USP), a very beneficial feature or to an amount of money they spend. They’ll feel instinctively the need to be consistent with those commitments. They also send out a very persuasive sales message to anyone listening.

As well as asking them to testify to your USP, you could also ask them how they actually perceive it. Their reply could be absolute gold.

Then simply ask them to record what they said.

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