- Blog post
How to double your chances of getting a ‘yes’
A review of dozens of psychology studies, involving more than 22,000 subjects, has revealed a surprisingly simple technique for getting people to agree to something. If you like, I’ll teach it to you. But you are free say no.
There. I just taught it to you.
The studies found that phrases like “but you are free” or “don’t feel obliged” doubles the chances that someone will say yes to a request. It also increases the amount of money that people are willing to donate to a cause and makes them more likely to take a survey or give more money to someone asking for bus fare home.
The review, which you can find here, found that the precise wording doesn’t matter. More important is the implication. When you acknowledge the obvious — that the other person has a choice in the matter – your request is seen as less threatening. People feel less pressured and more in control – which, it turns out, makes them more agreeable.
It’s that last insight that makes this technique more than a manipulative trick. It’s really about your approach to selling. Salespeople, of course, feel pressure to close sales. Intentionally or not, they sometimes pass these feelings along to buyers. Most know better than to use obvious come-ons like “They’re going fast!” or “I can’t hold this price forever!” But they often bring more subtle pressure to bear. And, as these studies show, that kind of pressure usually backfires.
It takes a great deal of confidence to remind buyers that they can walk away. But you’re not telling them anything they don’t already know. So go ahead. Give this technique a try on your next sale.
Or not. It’s entirely up to you.