A sneaky human motivator that boosts sales!
Fear is one of the great motivators that top-gun copywriters and advertising experts use to drive more people to action…
Of course, when your use of fear is motivated by your desire to help others, it should be a WIN-WIN for everyone. You help the customer make a good decision that benefits her in the long term, and you score a sale. If your desire is to HELP rather than scare people, you should score LOTS of sales and end up with lots of HAPPY customers who keep shopping with you again and again!
While using fear to drive customers to action, in my opinion, is not something you should be known for, it can work wonders when you understand how to use it both morally and correctly.
Remember that people don’t like being manipulated, so if that’s what you do then chances are that soon people will feel angry and resentful towards you and your business. Not a good position to be in, if you want lots of happy customers and lots of sales.
What I want to share with you in this post are countless examples of how fear motivates people to action. It’s interesting, eye opening and at times even shocking to see how fear can overpower logic and make us do ‘stuff’ we’d otherwise never do. For example…
Every time there’s an election, the politicians figure out what scares us the most. Then they target their campaigns at calming our fears and anxieties. Think George Bush… remember his famous words: “The terrorists knocked these buildings down… so now we’re going to knock the terrorists down.” It can be argued that people vote for candidates because they’re afraid of what will happen if the other party wins.
The advertisers know that fear is an effective motivator. They sell products from makeup to homes to cars and what not by telling us that unless we take action immediately then we’ll miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime.
Have you wondered why people buy a particular brand of shoes, electronic gadgets or even makeup? Perhaps they’re afraid what people would think of them without those Armani shoes … without an iPod … without a Gucci dress.
University Of Technology in Sydney conducted interviews with 210 women … revealed fear as the strongest motive for women to undergo cesarean section where there was no clear-cut medical reason for it. Professor Fenwick said that some women having their first baby were particularly fearful of the unknown and were influenced by medical and family advice that featured horror stories and assertions that surgical delivery was safer for both mother and baby.
According to researchers at the University of Bath, UK, who interviewed 281 male and female undergraduates, fear of looking unattractive is what motivates people more to get fit. The study shows that fear of looking unattractive can be a stronger motivation for keeping people going to the gym than the hope of looking good. So fear of failure motivates people more than gaining some success, which demotivates them.
Interesting finding particulary if you’re in the fitness industry…
Remember the Swine Flu “epidemic”…? What products were selling really well? N95 masks, hand sanitizers, and immunity enhancers or supplements were selling like hot cakes.
Sometimes there are several LAYERS of fear that motivate people simultaneously… For example, The Daily Journal Online reported that for this ‘law breaker’ it wasn’t just prison time that scared her into straightening up. It was the fear of losing her children and her family.
You’d think that fear doesn’t motivate business leaders or people in high positions, however… According to BusinessNC.com, the percentage of U.S. CEOs who say what motivates them most is fear: 43%. Power: 22%. Money: 7%. Hmm… money is not the first motivator and neither is power as some people think…
Getting two or three hours of sleep per night is part of the job for UniWorld Films president Jeff Friday, 35. “Fear of failure motivates me,” he says. “I pop out of bed after only an hour and a half of sleep because I don’t want to miss anything.”
Often men are afraid of losing jobs, money and social status. Many women are afraid of success, being taken advantage of, social isolation, or appearing selfish and voyeuristic.
Some kids stay up late because they are afraid of the dark… we’ve all heard stories of haunted homes, right? Yikes! Scary stuff, for both kids and adults!
We fight because we’re afraid of losing and we lose because we’re afraid to fight.
It’s important to recognize fear as it affects you and your customers. It’s a strong emotion that can motivate us to action. Using fear can be effective to help you sell more of your products by motivating your prospects and clients to action. Don’t forget the universal rule that what goes around comes around, so if you plan to use this powerful tool only for your own selfish gain, watch out.
To make your ads, sales letters and copywriting more effective you need to let your readers know what they will lose unless they take action immediately – your stock will run out … the price will go up … but make sure you’re honest.
Hope you enjoyed going through so many examples with me, and you got a few ideas you could apply to your own business strategy. Enjoy and profit!