Case Study: People Make No Sense

Researchers at Princeton University conducted a study on the effects of framing to see how it impacts people’s responses.

They divided students into two groups. Group 1 was asked to imagine scenario in which they were on their way to a show only to realize that they had lost their tickets once they arrived at the theatre.

They were then asked if they would buy another ticket.

Group 2 was asked to imagine a similar scenario only this time the person hadn’t actually purchased a ticket yet but when they arrive at the theatre, they realize they have lost a $10 bill.

They were then asked if they would still buy a ticket.

Here are the results:

The people in Group 1 (who imagined that they lost the tickets that they already paid for) were 46% likely to buy another ticket.

The people in Group 2 (who lost the $10 in cash) were 88% likely to buy another ticket.

Pay close attention here. The people in both groups have lost something valued at $10 but the people in group are almost twice as likely to still make a purchase of something in the same amount.

What does this tell us? Well for starters it proves just how illogical people really are.

We are talking about the same amount of money on both cases but seeing 2 completely different response rates.

There is no logical explanation for this. Even if perhaps you ventured to guess that it has something to do with the associations that people make with losing something once and trying to regain it as opposed to trying to gain something that you didn’t have in the first place, it still doesn’t make sense because both items  have the same value.

The key takeaway here is that nothing about the way people make decisions is logical; it’s all emotional.

Keeping that in mind, you can use the dynamic of anticipated regret to get your target to comply with your requests.

People do not like loss. Loss equals pain and if you can show your target how not complying will eventually result in loss and pain, they will take action to avoid that anticipated regret.

Write down 10 things that your target potentially has to lose by not getting involved in your offer and then tactfully point them out during your presentation.