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Audience Acumen - The Problem With Advice

Audience Acumen is a new blog series that focuses on various aspects of consumer psychology and the practical teachings that can be derived from them.

A short while ago I came across the Radio4 podcast series called 'The Human Zoo' that focused on psychology and the intricacies of the human mind. One episode in particular looked at the'give and take' of advice and how, in many circumstances, people will choose to ignore the advice that's given, even when it's coming from an accredited source.

Mind-Sep-8In the show we heard about an individual who was presented with a challenge and given the opportunity to take their own advice, or that of an 'advisor'. The 'advisee' demonstrated a preference for following their own opinion, particularly when they viewed themselves as an intellectual equal to the 'advisor'.

But why?

Well it's not the case that the 'advisee' didn't value the 'advisor's' suggestion, it's all to do with one thing: They understand the rationale behind their decisions, but they don't understand the reasons for the 'Advisor's' conclusion.

Working in an industry that is all about business relationships; where our foundations are built on our knowledge, expertise and ability to give sound advice in the form of recommendations, it got me thinking:

Do our clients and prospects understand the reasoning behind our recommendations?

Confidence in our ability to meet their needs comes from our ability to demonstrate our skill set - If we are not communicating this effectively to our audience, how are they meant to trust our judgements?  This may especially be the case when it comes to new contacts, where there hasn't been an opportunity to develop that relationship yet.

So what can you do to ensure your recommendations are not only heard but heeded?

  • SF-Advice-Sep-8Take the time to understand your client, their industry, their product/service. If you know as much about their line of work as they do, they will be more likely to trust your advice/recommendations.
  • Ensure your marketing communications continually demonstrate your broad range of experiences and expertise in dealing with similar clients. Make your clients feel assured that you know best.
  • Effectively highlight the reasons why your product is the best solution for solving their challenge. If your client doesn't see the benefit, they may feel as though they're being led to making an unnecessary purchase, and no one wants that. Clients always appreciate a level of transparency.
  • Encourage and reward those who refer you. Some industries gain a large chunk of their business from referrals as they trust the judgements of their friends/colleagues and if your reputation surpasses you, you're more likely to be considered for your expert advice.

So, the next time you're giving advice, be it professional or personal, think about what led you to that conclusion and make certain the 'Advisee' understands that as well.

If you want to discuss more about marketing strategies and communications, you can contact us today by calling 01202 684 009 or leaving us a message online.

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