The recent issue of the Journal of Marketing Research examined the correlation between relaxation and consumer spending. It turns out that all things being equal consumers are more willing to pay higher prices if they feel relaxed.
It’s no surprise then that we find luxury products typically displayed in high-end boutiques that ooze comfort and elegance. Commenting on the research Wired Magazine wrote:
Why does relaxation turn us into spendthrifts? When we feel safe, we are better able to fully focus on the potential rewards at stake. Instead of worrying about price, we can contemplate the advantages of having a sophisticated camera, or the thrill of falling through the air. As the psychologists demonstrated in subsequent experiments, those subjects who were more relaxed thought less about particulars – the specific cost of the gadget or the dangers of the risky behavior – and more about the abstract pleasures they were trying to purchase.
What has all this to do with personal historians?
We are in the business of providing a high-end product. Asking individuals to part with $10,000 or more for a personal history requires more from us than offering up a good resume, a nice smile, and an attractive brochure.
If as the research suggests a relaxed personal history client is more likely to say yes to a life story, shouldn’t we be looking at ways we can enhance the “relaxation” factor?
Here are some ideas worth considering:
Take a look at Dolce&Gabbana for some clues on how a high-end retailer provides a very subdued and relaxed online presence. Now examine your website. Is it friendly, inviting, and easy to navigate? Are the colors and photographs calming. Does it offer free resources? Does it have space to breathe? Does the copy tell a heart-warming story? In other words, does it feel relaxed! If you’ve said yes to all these, then you’ve made a good start. If not, then you’ve got some work to do.
As with your website design similar rules apply to your brochure – easy on the eye, inviting, and friendly. Also check out the feel of your brochure. Is it silky smooth and durable like an expensive art card? Avoid stock that’s flimsy and feels cheap.
If possible, choose to meet clients in a calm, relaxing setting. A good choice is often the client’s home. People are usually at ease in their own place unless it’s crawling with rambunctious kids and pets.
If you can’t meet in a client’s home, consider a location that’s subdued and attractive such as a boutique bakery/café, a quite corner of an elegant hotel lobby, or perhaps even your own home.
If you’re hungry for a contract, you’re going to be telegraphing this regardless of your outward expression. A look of desperation in your eyes does nothing to put potential clients at ease.
A more relaxing approach is to assume nothing and make the meeting an opportunity to learn more about your client’s wishes. Go with the idea of helping this person realize their personal history project even if it doesn’t in the long run involve working with you.
We know from experience that trusting someone puts us in a more relaxed frame of mind. I’ve previously written about this in 3 Keys to Creating Trust with Potential Clients.
As personal historians we need to judiciously apply all the marketing techniques at our disposal in order to reach potential clients and gain their confidence.
The “relaxation” factor isn’t a magic bullet. But combined with other marketing approaches it can give you an added advantage.
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Photo by Sarah Ackerman