Monday, September 12, 2005

What % of Reality is Perception?

Rhetorical question, of course.. but something you need to consider as an eBay seller.

People make decisions about purchases with only a handful of facts but a cart full of historical feelings, personal viewpoints, and even superstitions or prejudices.

In All Marketers Are Liars, Seth Godin offers some examples of how perception colors reality:

* “The psychic impact of a nasty flight attendant is more important than a plane arriving ten minutes early at its destination.”

* “The enthusiasm a company’s staff has when they install new robots on the factory floor can be just as important as the work those robots actually do.

* “If a friend has responded beautifully to a placebo drug, is it right to tell her that she’s taking nothing but sugar pills,” he asks.

“In other words,” he continues, “irrational beliefs aren’t a distraction – they are an intrinsic part of the quality of the product… Storytelling works when the story actually makes the product or service better.”

When you’re writing a description or a headline in a product listing, ask yourself a simple question: “What do people want to believe about this product?” Then ask, “Is it ethical to present the product in tandem with the emotion?” If it seems like you’re perpetrating a fraud, drop the subject all together.

But if there are certain feelings and connections that go naturally with your product, go ahead and milk those connections for all they’re worth. After all, would you sell a Porsche without intimating that the person buying it will feel really cool? Would you sell candy without playing up the fun and excitement?

Take the facts and dress them up a little bit. The sale is partially need-based and partially emotion-based.

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