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Industry Updates

20 Characteristics of Human Behaviour

27 Apr 2011

Reproduced by permission of Ray Jutkins, President of Nelson, Panullo, Jutkins Direct Marketing Inc.

Here is a list of 'facts' about human behaviour, which can be helpful and useful to you as a guide in preparing your direct response communications:

  1. People follow leaders who have their confidence. People follow companies and products they consider to be leaders.

  2. People seek unity by group action. Testimonials serve to boost the advocacy of your cause.

  3. People react best under pressure of deadlines. Create a sense of urgency in your communications.

  4. People conceal unpraiseworthy attitudes. Do not take opinions too seriously without more in-depth study.

  5. People easily lose their sense of identity. Mobility frequently separates people from past interests and exposes them to new ones. This creates a constant flow of new prospects.

  6. People give incomplete attention. 'Tell them what you're going to tell them: Tell them what you have to tell them: Tell them what you told them!'

  7. People glance instead of read. Many are poor readers. Make your messages short and sweet.

  8. People suspect perfection. If you want to persuade anyone, try for 85% of perfection.

  9. People generalise from acceptable fragments. Most people will not think anything through. People do respond to what their leaders tell them. Most people are impressed by parables, testimonials, examples, categories, slogans and most other shortcuts in the art of persuasion.

  10. People respond to the warmth of good sentiment. When you want the heart to prompt the mind nothing can motivate better than the warmth of good sentiment.

  11. People prefer incomplete exposure and a little mystery. People can develop a better rationale for buying than any you can devise for them.

  12. People like oblique messages. Most people pay more attention to overheard conversations than those directed to them.

  13. People go for 'grooves' and easy formulas. The Ten Commandments, the five-point plan and the three easy steps are an easy way of doing things today. Develop 'grooves' and niches in your communications for people to crawl into.

  14. People resist change or implied threats to their security. To promote change, refer to the change in familiar terms.

  15. People's responses are usually in direct proportion to personal identification. Use personal communications wherever possible. Combine personalisation with the best techniques available.

  16. Most people suffer from Xenophobia. So don't be a stranger. Build confidence in your company by a program of effective communications.

  17. Most people like the feeling of power. People resist making the decision to buy because it would end a pleasant courtship. Overcome this by stressing the attention that will come after the sale.

  18. Create Dichter's 'AHA' response. AHA means, 'Yes, I understand.'

  19. Think big! The bigger the idea, the more wholeheartedly people work to make the idea a success.

  20. People want to be talked to. Demonstrate that you care. Listen carefully before you talk.