I was reading a great book the other day called Poor Charlie's Almanack, and in this book I came across his now famous list called the Psychology of Misjudgement- also known as the 25 cognitive biases.
These 25 cognitive biases are common throughout every single person on this planet. However one person might be more susceptible to one bias, where another person will "fall for" another one.
I have created a list of these 25 biases which I might put up here if you're curious, but today I'm going to talk on the most important one of all when it comes to marketing and sales.
Its called: The Lollapalooza Effect.
Before I get into what exactly the Lollapalooza effect is, let's talk about a few other cognitive biases that marketers and salespeople use in their messages. ( fun fact: Charlie Munger made this list to figure out why Cult leaders are able to easily brainwash people)
Some of these biases are taken from Robert Cialdini's classic book Influence. In case you are not familiar with that book, he broke down 6 factors that "compliance professionals" use to influence their targets, for lack of a better word.
Here they are in case you forgot, or have never read the book: Scarcity, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, Commitment/Consistency, and Reciprocity.
Other cognitive biases include reason respecting, Kantian fairness, disliking, rewards/incentives ( most powerful), fear, curiosity, envy/jealousy, pain-avoidance, etc.
Now back to the Lollapalooza effect. This is what Munger calls it when you have multiple cognitive biases working on someone at the same time. This is ultimately what you're looking for when you create a marketing or sales message.
Let's think of an example:
Starting off people either are rewards based, or fear based. With that in mind, it is important to have both elements in your pitch.
You always want your product to be a reward for them. An incentive that either helps them out directly, or makes them look good to people that are important to them.
To accommodate people who are fear based, it is important to let them know what will happen if they don't buy your product. How will their life go downhill?
Now adding in the rest of the cognitive biases is similar to the idea of creating marketing bullets for your products: you don't know which one will work, so you cover your bases by adding in as many as possible.
In a world of 7.3 billion people, it is impossible to have one single way to persuade every single person, no one sales pitch or any one thing will do it.
Think of the classic sales advice: be confident, look people in the eye, and say their first name. This will work on maybe 25% of people. Other people will be turned off by someone confident or from the eye contact, or both.
That's why it is so important to be able to create a Lollapalooza effect. We are all different, but we DO make decisions in the same way. The 25 cognitive biases is simply a checklist that our brains go through before saying yes or no.
By creating a Lollapalooza effect in our targets mind, we will have the greatest chance of influencing the majority of people who hear our message.
Knowing that our brains are lazy, it is relatively easy to hijack this decision making process for your own (hopefully good) purposes, once you know how.
Now let's talk about some real life Lollapalooza situations. Sometimes the only way to win the game, is to not play it!
Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett always start off with open cry auctions ( I think that's what they call them).
You know the ones. There will be an auctioneer talking really fast and people bid more and more on some random thing. These incorporate biases like scarcity, social proof, rewards, loss aversion, authority, and so on.
Other Lollapalooza type events are things like really good infomercials. If you watch certain infomercials, their script is so tight and so compelling, you will almost certainly find yourself picking up the phone and buying that product.
Another Lollapalooza event is a timeshare pitch. These are so persuasive that the salespeople are willing to fly you in for thousands of dollars for a two hour pitch.
They are so confident in their ability to create a Lollapalooza ( I really wish there was a better word), that they are willing to "risk" the money to bring these people in.
So as you can tell, this bias is so powerful that if you are subjected to it you will lose all rational control over your decision making abilities.
There's something important to mention that goes along with this whole Lollapalooza effect stuff, it's not all negative.
If you can create a positive Lollapalooza in your life like Warren Buffett, the sky's the limit to how high you can climb.
So your new goal should be this: Write a sales letter/message that subtly creates a Lollapalooza effect in the mind of your target customer. If you can do that, you will have just created an asset that could reliably bring money into your business and life for decades to come.
While it is easy to understand in theory, it is one of the most difficult in practice to actually incorporate. As you can guess, there are a lot of moving parts that go into creating an effective pitch.
However, as luck would have it... I can help with that.
Here's a not so subtle plug for my services: if you are looking for someone to help you write such a sales message, check out the "hire me" page I recently added.
With that said, have a kick ass day. ( and watch out for Lollapalooza scenarios!)