Call it the small commitment paradox. You’ll make more sales if you ask for less at the end of your sales pitches.

That’s right. Asking for less yields more, according to a study detailed in “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive” a book by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini.In the study, solicitors went door-to-door seeking donations for the American Cancer Society. Half of the time the solicitors would say “Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?” Half of the time they would also add the following to the end of their pitch: “ . . . even a penny will help.”

The prospects in the “even a penny will help” category were more than twice as likely to give something.
But here’s the kicker. The “even a penny will help” donors did not give smaller donations. The size of their donations were just as large as the other half of the donors.

So what does this all mean for your sales pitches?  When you’re asking for a commitment from a prospect, try asking for a small commitment.  It seems to make prospects more likely to buy by making the process seem less intimidating. And even though you’re asking for less, the size of the purchase will likely be the same.

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

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