If a person in a position of authority ordered you to deliver a 450-volt electric shock to someone else, would you do it?     Most people would categorically state NO.    Yet in the 1960s, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments showing that the reality is disturbingly different.     Milgram, [...]

What makes you special? Do you know?  I only ask because quite a few of my clients, when I’ve first started working with them, don’t really know. They think they do, but when we start digging into their business, we often uncover what really makes them shine. By the way, when I ask this question [...]

  I used to worry constantly about what other people thought of me.     I wanted everyone to like me, all the time. Just one of my many issues.     Of course, that’s ridiculous. Nobody is liked by everybody all the time. And you know what? That’s fine. (More about that another time.)     Why [...]

I mean, seriously? Do you know anyone who likes canned laughter?     It’s awful, awful stuff. I’ve never met anyone who likes it. And TV writers and actors hate it too – they often complain. So why do so many TV shows use laugh tracks? (Actually, have you ever watched Friends without a laugh track? [...]

Just how damaging are discounts?

In a previous blog post I told you that competing on price is a dangerous game? That following your competitors and dropping your prices to match theirs is a bad idea? Now I’m going to explain just why that is. Unless you live in a cave somewhere, you’ll be aware that every now and then the [...]

I can get it cheaper down the road…

What do you say to people who tell you that you’re too expensive, that they can get what you’re offering cheaper down the road? I remember when I first started my business; it used to really worry me. It’s so difficult to know how to price yourself in the early days. So I’d capitulate. I’d [...]

Have you ever noticed how you get more sure of something the more time you put into it? Or more convinced that a purchase was worth the money after you’ve bought it – to the extent that you defend your decision to those who question it? A couple of Canadian psychologists (Knox and Inkster, 1968) [...]

Marketing is not a dirty word

I’ve been thinking about why marketing and salesmanship seems to have such a poor reputation among so many people. It tends to conjure up images of Bryl-cream-haired, shiny-suited arseholes trying to sell you a crappy used car. (And, granted, there are a few of those types around.)  Perhaps it’s because what we’re trying to do, [...]

Back to psychology: reciprocity. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours then ask you for another favour. This is why the Hare Krishnas are so bloody annoying. Have you ever seen them around, doing their thing with the orange robes and the dancing and the tambourines? Now, I don’t have patience with any religious [...]

Please read this blog because kittens

A social psychologist at Harvard, Ellen Langer, neatly demonstrated a form of human automatic action with a library-based experiment. It’s well-known that when we ask someone for a favour, we’ll be more successful if we give a reason. What’s less well-known is that reason can be anything: from the perfectly reasonable to the utterly ridiculous. [...]

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