The experiment: In a trial conducted for the sales and marketing consultancy Corporate Visions, researchers monitored two subtly different types of pitches from a bank. The pitch to one group of potential customers began like this: “You need to know that 40 percent of companies that take a bank loan still fail.” The pitch to the other group began by focusing on the benefits of the credit line.
The result: Sales to the first group -- the one that heard that 40 percent stat before anything else -- were 10 percent higher than sales to the other group. Why? Humans feel the pain of loss twice as much as they’re pleased by gain, according to Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Loss aversion plays a major role in the decisions we make, particularly anything that involves a change from the status quo; this makes it a powerful lever for sales.
How it works for you: Whether it’s on a voice mail, in an email headline, or on a call, you have to quickly introduce an insight that your customers weren’t aware of -- and one that makes them consider the way they currently do business. “Don’t even leave your name until the message is out there,” says Riesterer, one of the project’s researchers.