“Our Assumptions Determine Everything.”
Monimus the Cynic

The Cynic was right. Our assumptions determine everything, from the prices of commodities to whether we like the third ad concept the agency has shown us.

What comes first is our frame of reference; what follows either looks bigger or smaller by comparison, depending on where our understanding began.

Leave the philosophical ramifications behind for a moment and apply this to your business at hand. How do you employ the “contrast phenomenon” effectively in the marketing discipline?

When you begin a dialog, you can choose what to say first — which means that by comparison, your request can be framed in a manner that is most appealing to the needs of your listener.

If you recall a story I posted some time back, you’ll remember the “safe.” What’s the difference between cold-calling a prospect’s gatekeeper and saying, “we want to deliver a BIG SAFE to your boss’s office,” and “we need your help: we’d like to bring in a SMALL SAFE and put it in the boss’s office with a gift inside…”?

It was the same safe, roughly sixty pounds and one foot square. What’s a big safe to you? To me, it’s the kind that belongs in a bank. By comparison, this one is extremely small – small enough to put on your desk (just lift with your legs, not your back).

The first option gets a hang up. The second gets you a 33% acceptance rate.

Listen to the Cynic.


PS: the above story came from a previous post called, “Winning at the Small Stuff,” and serves as a powerful case study in the application of the science of influence. We did, in fact, get a 33% acceptance rate amongst C-level officers in Fortune 500 companies in New York and New Jersey — all shortly after 9/11.