Have you ever wondered why people prefer opinions to arguments?

Hojka Drozg / / Sales

One of the first things I learned as an anthropology student was that people behave illogically and irrationally. Specifically, ever since the beginning of human existence it has been usually more important for us to make quick decisions rather than completely correct ones. Consequently, our brain developed many shortcuts for making fast and impulsive decisions.

If you’re in any way involved in marketing and/or sales, whose main point is actually the art of managing decisions, knowing these shortcuts can help you tremendously. When you want to strategically reposition the development of your business operations, things will evolve faster if you keep the irrational ways of human thinking in mind while planning your moves. It’s wise to use the general human weaknesses from the very beginning of designing a new product to shaping the marketing strategy for it, as well as with every individual campaign. Why wouldn’t you if you know them?

If you know your customers, you can more easily influence their decisions. Click To Tweet

Seven irrational ways of thinking:

1. We hate to give up, when we invest our time, money, or effort in something, even though we know that the original goal is no longer worth it. Psychologists say that persisting in a half-completed project that no longer makes any sense to us arises from the fact that we don’t want to accept failure; this is also why we don’t abandon projects, relationships, or tasks that are doomed to fail.

2. Have you ever wondered why car sellers always set their prices high, even though everyone knows they can be lowered by bargaining almost without exception? I’m not sure how many sellers are actually familiar with the theoretical background, but the fact is that the human brain constantly “anchors” information. This means that we subconsciously save the numbers or data we’re exposed to in our brain as starting points (we’re sort of benchmarking them) and after that continue to compare new information against them. Think about how you’re going to set new “starting points” in your next marketing campaign or perhaps position yourself as the one that can offer more than what is currently available on the market …

3. The gregarious instinct is probably the most powerful shortcut developed by the human brain and also the one that marketing most often exploits. The desire to belong within a group often prevails over the desire for one’s own wellbeing and so it often leads to incorrect or illogical decisions—which experienced communication specialists are acutely aware of.

4. When you agree with your prospects’ thinking, you’re immediately a step closer to them. People tend to, completely subjectively, seek confirmation of their beliefs, theories, doubts, or fears and are hence exceptionally likely to conform to those that know how to confirm them. On the other hand, this means that if your prospect doesn’t already believe in something himself, that is much more difficult (or at least more expensive) to change.

5. Have you ever designed a marketing message suggesting that if people didn’t do a certain thing, something bad would happen to them? Did people heed it? If you’re frowning, keep on reading: people tend to be extremely optimistic about themselves by nature. In principle, every individual believes they are less subject to a certain misfortune than others. Accordingly, many smokers believe that they have a smaller chance of developing lung cancer than other smokers, and many investors believe that others are more prone to making a loss than they are. Next time you feel like scaring your prospects, think of this shortcut first.

6. Despite the exceptional capacity of the human brain the decisions we make are largely connected with recent events, the information we’ve been exposed to, or info that quickly comes to mind. The potential of “the accessibility of recent information” in our memory is exceptional and most likely it is the politicians that exploit it the most; just think how many political promises connected with safety are given right after a local terrorist attack.

7. In general people believe that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Research has shown that if people had to choose between fifty dollars in the hand today and a hundred dollars next year, the majority would opt for the fifty dollars. But if they had to choose between fifty dollars in five years and one hundred dollars in six years, the majority would wait for the bigger sum. Have you already figured out how you can use this fact to your benefit?

We can be as rational as we want, but the majority of our decisions are still irrationally based. Click To Tweet

Understanding your customers well also means you know what subconsciously affects their decisions. If this is still too challenging for you, that’s where we can help. Stop by for a cup of coffee. 🙂


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