Are you familiar with Newton’s Law? For every action, there’s a reaction.
When going to the store, oftentimes the first thing someone says to you is, “How may I help you?” At this point, most people respond with, “No, I’m just looking.”
As a result, the salesperson/associate, perhaps hoping for a positive response, is setting themself up for a negative answer. That’s because the stimulus they are using isn’t the best stimulus for the situation.
What happens when we set up an ask with the right stimulus?
Before asking a question out loud, as yourself, “What is the response I want to get by asking a question?” and “How will this question make this person feel/react by me asking it?”
Consider how the way you ask a question results in how will it make your intended target think, feel, and act. This will ultimately determine how they behave.
If you have kids, you’re likely to inquire, “How was your day at school?”
It’s pretty easy to predict their response.
They’ll say something noncommittal and vague, like, “It was good.” However, if you ask your kids, “Who did you sit with at lunch?” they’re more likely to answer with a more specific response.
If you take it a step further and ask, “What did you talk about?” your child will likely reveal even more information about their day.
Here’s a simple example of stimulus and response. Think about when you physically extend your hand to shake someone else’s hand. They respond in kind, extending their hand to meet yours.
If you smile at someone (stimulus), then what will the response be?
This is the foundation of communication. Your body posture and the tone in your voice are both stimulus methods. These cues will result in a certain response from another person.
Have you ever wondered why some sales reps seem to do better than others?
If we are not getting the response we want from a lead or prospect, we can immediately turn to this foundational principle, asking ourselves as to the stimulus we’re presenting.
If you don’t get the response you are seeking, it’s time to change the stimulus you’re giving.
These examples should help illustrate the point:
Stimulus – Response Methods
- Extend hand – Handshake
- Smile – Smile
- Humor – Laughter
- Make a promise – Trust
- Question – Answer
- Story – Trance
- Misdirection – Confusion
- Commonality – Rapport
- Announce Secret – Curiosity
By understanding this, you might realize that you can control the outcome of many situations. Why? It’s because you can control the stimulus.
The response you get is usually subconscious. You can control the way things are presented. This happens if you’re prepared and ready. You develop these skills by practice.
Of course, take what you’ve learned, and use these strategies carefully. A clear head and ethical standards are important when playing with psychological principles.