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Take A Look At This Persuasive Marketing Piece

I still get lots of junk mail. I’m sure you do too. I usually glance at it mostly to see if any is effective. Most isn’t but every now and then I come across a persuasive marketing piece. A few weeks ago, I received something from Amica Insurance about auto insurance. The mailer did several things I’ll point out.

The Envelope

The envelope said only 1 in 25 drivers qualified for their special offer. That’s good use of scarcity. It feels good to be in an exclusive club and get benefits not everyone gets.

It then listed my potential savings of $596. That’s good and much more eye catching that saving $50 a month. Last but not least, I’m given a deadline – September 1 – to respond. Another application of scarcity.

Inside the Envelope

When I opened the envelope a yellow sticky note catches my eye. According to two independent studies the use of sticky notes doubles response rates.

In red it says there are important facts to review. Not only did I see facts, I saw how much I might save if I were currently with State Farm, Liberty Mutual or other well-known insurance carriers.

The Mailer – Page 1

When I open the actual mailer inside the envelope I’m immediately hit with the fact that American drivers overpay for auto insurance by an average of $368. More scarcity because people will take more action to avoid losing money than to save money.

I’m told I can get a free quote. Even though no insurance carrier will charge you to quote your insurance the word free is a big trigger for people. We love free stuff!

The Mailer – Page 2

The next page says at the top “Better drivers deserve a better value.” That appeals to the fact that we all believe we’re better than average. We believe we’re better looking, smarter, kinder and better drivers. If we’re better then we deserve better.

The box that follows lists four features of the policy. Most of the features are included with the majority of auto policies but, because people don’t read their insurance policies, the coverages stand out as novel. I also like that Amica limits it to four. More than five and people will forget them but fewer and people might feel like there’s not much that’s different with an Amica policy.

And Dinari DuPont personally signed the letter! Well, not actually but it looks like it.

Conclusion

Overall, I give Amica an A on their marketing piece. I think it has too much information but what it does share incorporates a lot of persuasive psychology.

Here’s my challenge for you over the next week. Don’t just toss the junk mail that makes its way to your mailbox and don’t delete all the spammy looking emails that hit your inbox. Take a few minutes to read some and see if you can pick up on the persuasive psychology that’s being used to try to move you to action.

Do this and two things will happen:

  1. You’ll become better at spotting how marketers, salespeople, politicians and others are trying to change your thinking and actions.
  2. You will begin to see opportunities you can use to ethically influence people.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – will be available for pre-sale then live sales in August 2019.

His LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalitiesthis fall.

When the Good Becomes Bad

Have you ever noticed how something good can slowly become bad? I’m thinking of things we start for good reasons that end up getting distorted and becoming bad. Here are some examples:

  • In the Bible, the Pharisees, a religious sect of Judaism, aspired to be right with God. They knew the commandments but wanted to understand them more deeply. They knew “Thou shalt not work on the Sabbath” but wanted to understand exactly what work was. They set out to define it and laid a heavy burden on people in the name of God. It became work just to keep the law.
  • Public schools have set standards for graduation because people thought our education system was slipping on the world stage. However, rather than bolster learning we started hearing about teachers “teaching to the test” and in some districts misrepresenting student scores. On the topic of school, grades are used to measure performance. After all, “What gets measured gets done.” Seeing a student with a high GPA is usually a good thing unless students are more concerned with the grade than what they’re learning.
  • Faithfulness to marriage vows is a good thing. But what about couples who “stay together for the kids” and end up exposing them to a toxic environment at home?
  • In business, bonuses are used to incent people to do certain things like increase profits or sales. Offering people incentives to work harder, longer or more creatively is good unless people begin to do some unethical things to hit the numbers.

As I noted in the opening, many things start out with a good intention but end up getting perverted in some way as people lose sight of the original intention. So what are you to do?

I believe we all need to understand why we’re asked to do what we do and occasionally we need to remind ourselves. I work in the insurance industry and I’m proud of that. Insurance isn’t a sexy industry like banking or financial investments but it’s every bit as necessary. When people ask me about what I do, I tell them I’m proud to be in insurance because we do two important things:

We help people. If someone has a loss (car accident, home damaged, business destroyed) we step in to help them get back on their feet and lessen the financial burden they would face otherwise. No one ever said, “Darn my insurance agent for selling me the right coverages and limits” after a loss but many have said, “Darn my agent for not selling me the right coverages and limits!”

We help the economy. What bank will lend you money to build a house or buy a building if you can’t guarantee to repay the amount in full if the property is damaged or destroyed? No financial institution would do that but with an insurance company promising to make that guarantee, money is lent, buildings are bought, which employs people to build them and building materials are sold. This creates a positive ripple throughout our economy.

This brings me more specifically to what I do at work 9 to 5 and with Influence PEOPLE. I teach people how to ethically persuade others. The driving force for me in this endeavor is to help people professionally and personally. I believe:

Professional success depends in large part on your ability to get others to say yes to you. Sales are not made without getting to yes. If you’re a manger your success depends on your team buying into your vision and strategy – getting a yes! Even if you’re not in sales or management you’re asking people to do things all day long. 

Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human discovered through a survey of more than 7,000 business people that the typical non-sales employees spend upwards of 40% of their time trying to persuade others!

Personal happiness is quite often a result of getting a yes. Most people I know find that life is more pleasant when their spouse, significant other and/or kids willingly say yes to them. Understanding how to ethically persuade others can go a long ways toward making this happen.

If you’re like most people I’ve met, and including myself, then you may have things in life you started for the right reasons but may have “lost that loving feeling” and slowly slipped into a bad place. If that’s the case, step back and take time to remind yourself about who you are and why you choose to do what you do. If you can’t regain that old feeling and have the ability to let go of some things, then do so because you’ll enjoy what you pursue with passion more than what you have to drag yourself to do.