Online Store Blues

After John spent thousands of hours building an online store himself dedicating the time he gets off work until he passed out in bed as well as most of his weekends, he didn't understand why a year after launch, he had less than a few dozen sales.  Not even enough to make a car payment. His google analytics says his traffic is awesome.  People are browsing lots of pages.  John even checked each week to make sure his prices are great and even tried to offer up coupons and specials.  Nothing still. After talking to John about his venture and looking at his analytics, I learned something very important.  Color.  I told him to simply change the color of his buttons and site and that might do the trick.  Six months later his media website became a full time job. *Note: People underestimate the importance of color.  They usually choose their favorite color and go with it.  The problem is that you need to choose the color that influences your customers.  Many colors that you might like are so repulsive to money spenders that it will actually convince them not to click the button.  Crazy as it may sound, there have been many studies on the mater and if you look close at your webclick hot-mapping you can start seeing trends that can fine tuned to convert better.

Trusting Politicians

Influence consultants are increasingly sought by political campaign managers and influential persons to provide a range of services, from psychological analyses of the electorate to the creation a knowledge of social influence can make the difference between success and failure of speeches, advertisements, and strategies. The key in most of these cases is in the word-smithing of speeches. On one of many occasions we have rewritten an existing speech and “spiked” the delivery to create emotional responses from the audience.  In this example we peppered a speech for an annual meeting for a CEO of a company that was in financial trouble and executives of the company were suffering from low self esteem from lack of bonuses and new ideas of what to do to turn things around. A week after the speech, the company employees had many ideas to turn things around and quickly.  Within a few months there was laughter in the halls and vacations being taken.  Although we blame a great speech, others blamed the economic turnaround.  Who knows. *Note: The best way to persuade someone to do as you wish is to speak moderately quickly, pause frequently and not be too animated. This is the rules for anyone in public office that needs to make a statement that needs it's audience to know they are in charge.  People jump up volunteering to hold the speakers hands in prayer as they form conga lines on his behalf to make his dreams of world domination a reality....  or at least that is the goal. Every word and syllable in an important public talk is gone through, rewritten, rehearsed, and rehearsed again to make every sound important and meaningful to the listeners.  Each one is important to drill the true meaning into the brains of those that might back them.  In the end, it is the difference between who makes the rules, and who follows them.

Worse Party Ever

Durning my collage masters project we decided to use our knowledge of psychology to throw a series of horrible parties.  Over a period of 6 months we had a weekly rave at various locations. The first party was thrown with about 200 people and by the fourth party we had over 1000.  The party had no obvious entertainment value, but each venue was scientifically manipulated so everyone left feeling that they had the time of their life.  Oddly enough, with no or bad music or entertainment and no typical exiting aesthetics, more than 90% of the people came early (paying the $10 to $20 cover), stayed the four hours for the horrible party, stayed late, and went around the following week bragging to others about what a great event it was. At the end of our study we revealed to the students of the scam and donated most of the door money to a worthwhile local charity. *Note: There is something to be said about the entertainment value in communication between people.  People have a fine tuned ability to entertain themselves and others without the need for outside influence.  I might ponder the possibility that those people with Drug or Alcohol issues might be lacking in social abilities.  Bring a bunch of random people in an empty room and watch how it grows into the funnest imaginary party ever.

Store in a Bad Neighborhood

A New York convenience stores had problems with teens shoplifting inside their store and dealing drugs & fighting outside. Cops were called on a daily basis and the store was often closed down during serious incidents.  Most of their issues landed when kids were either on their way to school or hanging out afterwards. The store wanted teens' business, but not the fights and drug-dealing that sometimes accompany late-night loitering. We recommended that store owners to subtly play big band jazz music, and play that music not only inside the store, but on the outside common areas as well. Upon hearing the music, the teenagers voluntarily left --and stayed away from-- the parking lot and downgraded product loss to under 1%.  We also had the security guard that was hired change into street clothes so it was less of a hostile environment. The music did not affect sales to teenagers, just influenced them to play well with others. *Note: Music has a profound effect on us and studies have shown that different music will put us in a variety of moods, anywhere from wanting to make out with that certain loved one to having the desire to rob a bank.  Music can not force us to do something, however it can create the mood for social change or behavior. There is something to be said as well for the presence of authority.  Although it is fairly controversial in our crazy times, Psychologists have shown that the Less intimidating show of force will make more people at ease and not defensive.  Defensive people tend to fight and make bad decisions in public.

Proper Workout Environment

A fitness company in Colorado was increasingly frustrated by their clientele's low compliance to the suggested workouts by the staff. For some reason, patrons were not following the exercise regimes recommended by the trainers. We quickly increased client compliance by more than 40% by having staff make some changes in workout rooms decor! Simply changing the colors of the room, rearranging the equipment on the floor to be less structured, Subtly adding vinyl words to the walls for psychological triggers, and slightly bowing certain mirrors in the environment.  We also color coded the attire of the employees to make them more visible to the clients. *Note: It's amazing and often overlooked how important an environment someone does a task in.  Whether it is where you work, or workout.  The use of color, the arrangement of objects in the room, even the placement of the rugs and picture on the wall will invoke feelings both good and bad.  Molding these important details will make a positive impact not only on your employees and client base, but most important, your bottom line.

The Worst Car Salesman

I got called out by one of the owners of a major car dealership who thought all my psychological hocus-pocus was rubbish and wagered that I could not take his worst sales guy and improve his skills.  Challenge Accepted. The worst salesperson (selling an average of less than one car a month) was selected out of 30 salespersons at a the large car dealership in Colorado (and in risk of loosing his job that he had to support his family):  He was then consulted over a 2 week period.  We showed him how to read subtle body language of potential buyers and manipulate his own body mechanics to increase his sales.  We also gave him some psychological word phrasing  for his industry to invoke psychological triggers in the people he was selling to. Over the next three months his sales increased to more than double the highest seller at the dealership and was given a promotion teaching others what he had learned. *Note: Sales is a hard hard job.  Customers come into the sales floor very defensive and on edge.  It takes some very subtile skills to be able to gain a quick trust with them, especially when you are about to ask them to part with thousands of dollars of hard earned money.  Customers engage with you right off the bat knowing whole heartedly you are trying to screw then, despite your true intentions. This often puts the salesman on the defensive and it quickly shows within the first seconds of contact.  Everything typically goes downhill from there. It is important to be positive, real, honest, and relaxed with the customer off the bat with a proper handshake, earnest smile, and calm tone.  The goal is to make the customer feel like they are in control the entire time while you are helping them make a very uneasy and scary decision.

Teaching Teachers to Read Students

Working with the school principal at a local Colorado High School who's school as a whole was in the bottom 20% in the state for student scores.  He felt strong that he had a great teaching staff, but could not figure out why student moral and connection to students was so low. Watching Teachers for a few days revealed that many of the students (like many high schoolers) were not interested in the subjects being taught, thus were not active participants in the classes. We decided to work with the teachers to make them more engaged classroom leaders, teaching them how to read their students body language and tips on engaging them.  Showing them the simple visual cues the students would have as well as showing the teachers how to redesign their rooms and proper subtile psychological posturing for themselves to portrait leadership qualities to students. The following few years the school was able to see major changes in testing and grew to be in the top 30% of the state.  We then created an introduction program for new teachers to also learn these important skills. *Note: Many people in front of the public can learn new and effective ways of how to stand, posture, move their hands, and even blink their eyes in ways in order to engage others better.  Here are some tips to start your journey in public speaking: Keep your hands visible at all times. Smile naturally. Never cross your arms and avoid touching your head. Avoid biding your lips. Don't look like you are stepping away from the audience, and try to make it look like you are stepping towards them. Every move on stage should have a definite purpose. Movement from the waist up enhances your authority and credibility. When telling a story, utilize different parts of the stage in different parts of the story.  It will give each part a different importance, with the main part of the story and the moral from the center of the stage as an anchor. One of the most important thing to do, mostly to keep nerves down, is to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.  This also helps with avoiding hisses in the microphone. People in your audience that do not believe what you have to say, or don't agree with you, will often itch their ear or cover their mouth.  If too many people in your audience are doing this, it is a good sign you need to both elaborate on your current topic, or switch gears.

Happier Shoppers

A large grocery chain was having issues with customer service.  No matter how the staff dealt with customer complaints, customers became more and more furious.  After watching these employees from afar, we noticed some major psychological we could teach the employees to be more effective and some negative triggers we could fix. The first thing we suggested was to change the color of the aprons to a more friendly color.  Next teach the customer service reps and sales floor staff how to change their body language to be more appealing to a high strung customer. We also developed psychological keywords for the employees to use to calm down customers who were upset. The overall results were happier, more satisfied customers and less stressed out, more aware staff: this was shown to have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line and customer reviews. *Note: You might think that walking into a casino might be the most manipulative experience around.  You might be wrong.  There is more thought, study, input, and tactics used in a grocery store than any other business.  It's big business and learning how to control the people that step into it's building is very important to the bottom line. For one of My biggest clients in Grocery manipulation, we spend many hours just experiencing the store and watching and documenting every step people take on their journey to fulfill their lives with needs and desires.  Entire stores are designed in order to control what brain areas light up at different stages of the purchasing process.  You might be amazed to know what different aspects of your shopping cart journey have you controlled to spend more money: “Decompression Zone” is the first few feet of the store intended to make you happy and euphoric. The grocery isle is first in order to make your nostrils flair up in happiness and give you a soothing calm feeling. The thigh to eye area of the store typically has the highest markup items with highest profit, as does the checkout lane. Doors designed not to let you leave and go in the same door force you on a path inside the store and get you to spend more money.  Every item in the store is placed in a specific manner to keep you on a designated path to the checkout lines. Those pesky snack people are always in your way for a reason, not to actually give any samples, but to slow traffic to get you to slow down to buy more.

More Effective Management

Due to client privacy, this is not actual client. I seem to get a lot of flack for telling this story, however there is always a lesson to be learned in every situation. A Brooklyn pimp was was complaining that his workers were not producing as much as his competition, despite his angry lectures and fear tactics he learned from his mentor.  He would often threaten them and get angry for random reasons. After some observations we noticed the workers sold themselves as desperate and paranoid and lacked the body language needed to conduct business.  We taught the employees about reading body language from their customers and how to manipulate their body language to achieve a better trust relationship with the clients. We then turned to the Pimp himself and taught him better solutions to his anger as well as how to deal with situations in a much more effective way.  Instead of screaming and yelling, he found that talking and consulting with the workers was way more effective.  Happy employees do make better workers. The business owner was happy with the results and was able to increase revenue and have almost no client or employee issues. *Note: Why a pimp?  I found this was a great example in the real world how many business owners treat their workers.  They constantly feel the need to threaten with termination or belittle workers.  Treating employees (despite their job title) might be the best way to make them more productive. Take time to listen to your employees regarding their concerns. Learn the key strengths of your employees with respect to knowledge, education and skills. Recommend training for employees who need it. Communicate with your employees regularly. Find out what drives and motivates each employee to perform at a higher level. Tie your employees' performance to some type of rewards program.

Better and Happier Employees

Actual Food from Restaurant A Manhattan restaurant was having difficult with turnaround, the average employee lasted only four to six weeks- one week was dedicated to training.  The costs of training was destroying the establishments bottom line. Looking at management's treatment of employees and the work atmosphere gave no hints.  However we had been able to track down some previous workers who said that the financial compensation for a food server was lacking in the establishment so they found jobs elsewhere where tips were better. In looking for new employees, We sat in a corner away from the interviewers and took notes on observations from about 40 applicants without talking to them:  We also looked at writing samples from their applications.  We then advised based on our profile for hiring compared to observations on who to hire. We sat with the new employees and taught them about using their body language and speech to increase tips and service, and how to use these skills to solve everyday restaurant issues.  One year later the restaurant had retained 90% of the employees interviewed using the new guidelines. *Note: When giving advice to people in general, they will often think that making changes is a bunch of hogwash, they are typically reluctant to change.  The one's that do take the advice however, succeed. The look on someone's face when their tips greatly increase from some simple changes to their attitude, body language, and verbal communication, is priceless.  All in all, it makes everyone much happier. Especially the customer who's wallet gladly loosens up at the end of a great experience.