Influencing others – showing that progress is being made

I’ve just read an interesting research study based on Robert Cialdini’s Influence work. Check out his Inside Influence website for the full article.

Testing a car wash loyalty program, researchers gave some customers a loyalty card with 8 boxes to stamp before getting a free wash and gave others a loyalty card with 10 boxes to stamp before the free wash, but two boxes were already pre-stamped. The effort was the same – they had to purchase 8 washes to get a free one.

Their findings were as the researchers hypothesized:
The message is clear: people will be more likely to stick with programs and tasks if you can first offer them some evidence of how they’ve already made progress toward completing them. If you use this strategy, like cars at a carwash, your influence will sparkle.”

Implications for managers: keep looking for instances of where progress is already being made and bring that to people’s attention, so the finish line seems closer.

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