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The Science Of Influence For Negotiation & Procurement with Roger Dooley, Ep #97 

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The science of influence is fascinating. It’s one of the ways those of us in procurement or involved in negotiations can learn to be better at our craft. This episode features author and speaker, Roger Dooley who I asked to teach us what science teaches about influence, and how we can use it to get better deals in our negotiations. Roger explains how to practically apply neuroscience, behavior technology, and behavior research (combined it’s known as neuromarketing). How can procurement professionals use neuromarketing directly in negotiations? How do we influence someone to help them make decisions that are advantageous for us and helpful for them? This is brain science for procurement!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:35] The history of persuasion and negotiation in Roger’s back story
  • [4:49] Why “getting a deal” is a great motivator for higher spending
  • [8:57] Split testing what you say in negotiations can bring great advantages
  • [11:37] Why trusted stories beat statistics and data when it comes to persuasion
  • [16:45] Using the science of influence to reduce sticker shock
  • [22:43] How we can use neuroscience to build trust with others
  • [35:45] Behavioral science teaches us the law of least effort

Low-hanging fruit is more likely to prompt buying decisions

One of the observations researchers have made when it comes to consumer behavior is that brightly colored “discount” signs on product displays immediately draw purchasers and influence them to spend more money. This phenomenon is described as the “low-hanging fruit” tendency, our bent toward doing what is easiest and quickest to attain our desired outcome. Roger discusses why this tendency is so powerful and explains some of the ways that procurement and negotiation professionals can use it to lead buyers to purchase solutions that are higher priced.

Don’t forget that business buyers are also human beings

Many of the findings Rogers shares are based on human behavior. It’s for that reason that some business people push back on his points, saying that they are dealing with businesses, which means the people involved are more concerned about service levels, pricing, and other goal-oriented outcomes. But Roger points out that business buyers are also human beings. The people involved in business transactions will respond to the same stimulus that impacts people in general. Learning to treat them as human beings and appeal to them in distinctly human ways can have a tremendous impact.

Stories matter more to buyers than data

Many sales decks or procurement briefs are filled with data that outline the desired outcome, features, benefits, and bottom-line advantages of the solution in question. There is no denying that such things are important parts of the decision-making process, but Roger cautions that data is not the biggest part of influence. Stories spark attention and light up the brain like nothing else.

Roger cites studies where FMRI machines (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) were used to detect the impact of various types of verbal communication on the brain. When stories were told, the brains of listeners went into a high-function mode. Even more interestingly, when two people were connected to FMRI machines and one told a story to another, the activity of their brains became synchronized almost immediately. What benefits might this have as you seek to align another person with your way of thinking across the negotiating table?

Sticker shock can be overcome by using the science of influence

Many times sales professionals dread the moment the customer asks about pricing. That’s because of the common response known as “sticker shock.” Naturally, buyers are hoping for pricing they can afford and often are disappointed. Is there a way to help buyers see your pricing as reasonable and acceptable through the way you present it to them? Roger says there is.

He recommends that you first “anchor” the buyer’s expectations to pricing that is higher than your own, suggesting that such pricing is to be expected. Then, when you provide pricing that is lower than that proposed expectation, your buyer will be more open to the price you provide. Listen to hear Roger’s fascinating explanations of how the brain works, how human development figures into our responses to decisions and pricing, and how the science of influence can help us close higher deals and benefit our organizations.

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