Leaning in on a little psychology – SCN Encourager 10/15/2013

Loyalty programs get results.

And businesses that use them well tap into several of our psychological tendencies to increase sales.

Macie the fickle

Macie the fickle

How do I know so much about this?

I don’t.

I just know that it doesn’t come cheap.

Even “man’s best friend” in my own home demands special treats on top of the generously provided food, water, a half-size tennis ball, and a fluffy blanket in the corner.

So, nope.

I haven’t learned any tips about loyalty at home.

But here’s a nugget from my recent 2013 Agents of Change conference notes.

Apparently, studies have shown that if you’re trying to get people to “choose you” time and time again, you’ve got to give them a tangible reason or reminder to keep doing so.

Loyalty 2013-10-14 at 5.22.23 PMThe key for the success of every “punch card” type loyalty program (greeting cards, haircuts, sub sandwiches, or parking tickets) is getting people up and running from day one.

You want people to “lean in.”

Let’s say you want to develop a punch card loyalty program for your coffee shop.

Let’s say you’ve designed your card with 8 blank spots, meaning that once a customer buys 8 cups of coffee, and you’ve checked off all 8 spots on the card, they get a free cup of coffee.

Did you know that if you redesign your punch card with 10 blank spots (not 8), meaning that the customer must buy 10 cups of coffee to get the 11th cup free… you can increase the participation in this punch card program by more than 40%?

If you give your customer his or her first punch card with 10 blank spots, but actually “check off” the first two blank spots right after you’ve handed them the card, you’ve now greatly increased the likelihood that your customer will keep the card and use it in the future.

In both cases, the customer still has to buy 8 cups of coffee to get the next cup free.

However, only in last case is the customer already moving down the path toward that free cup of coffee, all thanks to your gentle and subtle nudge.

Your two totally free gift check-offs inspired and created a “lean in” condition—where your customer will depart already feeling good about making progress on his or her punch card.

So what you say? (I get this question a lot…)

If you’re looking to secure a commitment from someone or you will be asking someone to “choose you,” consider beginning with a planned “lean in” strategy.

Don’t push at first, just be intentional with your gentle and subtle nudge.

The odds will be in your favor that this will work.

For sure, step-by-step “lean in” strategies were popular at the conference.

I’m glad I sat through the slide presentations about them.

Before to going to Portland, I had only heard about them on the radio.

And I’ll admit, all of my prior attempts to use them were disasters.

I’m glad I finally found out why people were avoiding my “lien in” tactics.

Tom Page, SCN
car TUES 101513