We promise to never pass on your email address to anyone else.
The guilt emotion is perhaps the hardest of all emotions to use effectively in selling.
The Charities use this emotion extensively when they send you free Christmas cards to send to your friends. You see they’ve been sent to you by a charity aiming to feed starving children and after accepting their free gift you would feel guilty if you did not donate.
Perhaps the best explanation of this is in Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence”. He calls it reciprocity. Here’s a brief extract:
“Reciprocity” refers to a subconscious rule ingrained into every human’s mind. The rule simply says that if someone does something benevolent to or for us, we are obligated to do something in return. For example, if someone sends us a gift on our birthday, we should remember to send one on theirs. If someone helps us wash our car, we should help them clean their yard.
This subconscious rule is found in some form in every human society across the globe, and it’s a powerful motivator. People don’t want to be seen as someone who takes and takes without giving back, so they feel obligated to return any kindness—and that obligation is exactly what compliance professionals want to generate. The reciprocity rule is so powerful and deeply ingrained in our minds that it can get positive responses from situations where negatives would be entirely rational. In experiments, it’s been found that a person is likely to do a favor for someone who’s given them a gift, regardless of whether or not they even like the gift-giver.
This creates a debt that has a wide range of applications for anyone who wants to convince people to help them. This is the reason why car salesmen will offer you free coffee (which they pretend they’re getting you as a personal favor). It’s why coworkers do small favors for you, right before asking you for something big. It’s why politicians are seen doing community work, investing in a neighborhood that’s going to be important in an upcoming election. It doesn’t matter how small the initial gift is, the rule can be used to create unequal exchanges where a small favor produces a big return.
Could you use guilt in your promotions?