Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association

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21 Characteristics of Human Behavior ... And How To Use Them To Sell Your Product
by Ray W. Jutkins

Want to know how to prepare a direct marketing piece, be it a sales letter, brochure or catalog that will sell your product most effectively from the start?

Here's a listing of human behaviors relevant to the direct marketing industry that can serve as a guide in the preparation of your direct marketing message.                      

1. People follow leaders who have their confidence.  People follow companies and products they consider to be leaders.  These images, many times, are artificial creations.

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 separates people frequently 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 have told them."  Repetition of important information is common --- and necessary -- in direct marketing.

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

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

9. People generalize from acceptable fragments.  Most people do 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 to go where logic points the way, nothing can match the warmth of good sentiment. 

11. People prefer incomplete exposure and a little mystery.

People can usually develop a better rationale for buying in their own minds than any we can devise for them.

12. People like dignity in the image of their leaders and their products.  "Prestige cannot exist without a bit of mystery, for people revere little what they know too well..."

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

14. 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.

15. People resist changes or other implied threats to their security.  To promote change, call it something else.

16. People's responses are usually in direct proportion to personal identification.  Use personal communications wherever possible and the best techniques available.

17. Most people suffer from fear of the unfamiliar.  Build confidence in your communications.

18. Most people like the feeling of power.  People resist making the decision to buy because it would end a pleasant courtship.  Stress the attention that will come after the sale.

19. Create Dichter's "AHA" Experience.  Aha, yes, I understand.

20. Think Big!  "...the bigger the idea, the more wholeheartedly people work to make the idea a success..."

21. People want to be sought after and talked to.  Be sure you care and listen before you talk. 

About Ray Jutkins, October 3rd, 1936 — January 6th, 2005. Ray was one of the NMOA’s most generous contributors. Over the years Ray supplied the NMOA with hundreds of tips and articles for members. This is just one of many. Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa. Keep an eye out for more of Ray’s marketing tips and how-to articles in the pages of Direct Marketing Digest and the article archive on the NMOA website.

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