Want to get your customers to do what you want? Stop dithering about the details and commit to buying before the end of time. The answer is simple: take a cue from famous Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov, and train them!
Pavlov developed the theory of classic conditioning, where test subjects (dogs) were subjected to stimuli (bells) to elicit a desired response (drooling) as a means of behavior modification (drooling in response to the sound of a bell).
Now take daily deal sites like Baby Steals (http://babysteals.com) and Kid Steals (http://kidsteals.com) as an example. Frantic mommy shoppers are trained to wait eagerly for 9 am MST when a new deal is published or risk arriving to a site full of luscious photographs of hot ‘steals’ of the day with a Sold Out stamp in place of the Buy button.
Not much different from Pavlov and his drooling dogs and equally as effective at training customer behavior. The About page explains how the daily deals work and suggests the best approach to guaranteeing you get a deal, but the real training happens when a friend brags on her facebook page about the über cute baby shoes she nabbed for $5.
Customers learn the importance of arriving at the site at 9 am sharp to nab the latest steal of a deal simply by the negative feedback on missing out on that one deal!
No need to request that customers arrive early, no need to set boundaries. Simple cause and effect consequences set the boundaries and reinforce the desired behavior.
How to train your customers
#1: Make the ‘rules’ clear – Put them on your web site or outline them in your initial meeting, but whatever you do – make them crystal clear. For example, explain to your potential clients that you are in demand and only take on a certain number of projects at a time so they need to book time in your client roster well in advance.
#2: Clear connection to the consequences – Spell out the consequences of not taking action. For our example, clients who fail to get on the roster in time don’t get their projects done within their desired timeframe.
#3: Show don’t tell – Use visuals to backup the learning and show them what you want them to learn. So in our service business example, you could then pull out your calendar and indicate your current availability to show them how far in advance they need to book you.
#4: Stick to the rules – No bending – for anyone! That means you can’t be afraid to turn away business. What? Seriously. If you want to train your customers that you are busy and they need to commit or stop wasting your time with dilly-dally, turn them away when you ARE too busy. The next time they won’t wait and hustle into your virtual door and get down to business.
Got a great example of customer training in action? We’d love to hear about it. Add your customer training story to our comments below.