… give your prospect the psychological freedom to accept your proposal
When amateurs try to persuade people, they often limit the freedom of choice in a feeble attempt to maximize the probability that the prospect will comply. This is a mistake. Freedom is a high-order human value, and surprising things happen when you give your prospect the knowledge that they have the freedom of choice.
Professors Nicolas Gueguen, of South-Brittany University, and Alexandre Pascual, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted an experiment to test the power of freedom of choice. Eighty men and women were randomly selected in a shopping mall and assigned to either a control or test group (20 men and 20 women each).
In the control group, the experimenter would approach the subject and ask, “Sorry Madam/Sir, would you have some coins to take the bus please?” In the test group, the experimenter would ask, ”Sorry Madam/Sir, would you have some coins to take the bus, please? But you are free to accept or to refuse.” [“BYAF”]
When they tabulated the results, they found that only 10% of the control group complied with the request, while 47.5% of the test group complied! An increase of 475%!! Beyond this, those that complied in the test group gave more than twice as much money!!
In a subsequent experiment, the experimenters approached 73 men and 89 women. The control group was asked, ”Sorry Madam/Sir We are currently conducting a survey on the perception of the local merchants and craftwork of your town. Would you accept to respond to a questionnaire that will take you 5-8 minutes?”. The test group was asked, ”Sorry Madam/Sir, I have something to ask you but you are free to accept or to refuse. We are currently conducting a survey on the perception of the local merchants and craftwork of your town. Would you accept to respond to a questionnaire that will take you 5-8 minutes?” When they tabulated the results, they found that 19% MORE people complied with the 2nd phrasing of the request.
To validate the technique, Professor Christopher J. Carpenter of Western Illinois University reviewed the research of 42 similar experiments conducted on over 22,000 people and found that the BYAF approach at least doubled the compliance rate over the original request.
Why does it work?
The BYAF technique works because CONTROL for the decision is given BACK to the prospect; they now have the FREEDOM to choose. Beyond this, it also establishes a reciprocity framework where the prospect may not want to injure or deprive the requesting party by refusing the offer after having been GIVEN the freedom to choose.
Other ways to phrase the request include:
- Of course, it’s up to you
- Whatever you decide is best
- If the time is right …
Giving your prospect the freedom to choose gives them back their sense of control. Watch your persuasion power climb as a result.