WOW Word-Of-the-Week #373: Commitment

September 29, 2011 by  

Commitment – a decisive moral choice that involves a person in a definite course of action.

Do you set goals for yourself? Have you ever written them down? Do you know that written goals are more powerful than verbal ones? Do you know that people who are truly committed to their goals make more money and are more successful in their life than those who don’t?

The Ultimate Commitment

This is the second of six WOW’s from the book “INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdina, Ph.D. These WOW’s will hopefully help you influence your customers, guests, clients or members to increase sales and repeat business, as well as, how to not be swayed by someone trying to sell you something you may not want.

“The enormously successful Amway Corporation has hit upon a way to spur their sales personnel to greater and greater accomplishments. Members of the staff are asked to set individual sales goals by personally recording them on paper. There is something magical about writing things down.”

“Companies using hard-sell tactics have faced ‘cooling off’ laws that allow customers to cancel within a few days. Since many customers felt they were duped or intimidated into the sale they began canceling in droves. One beautiful simple trick that reversed that trend was to have the customer, rather than the salesperson, fill out the sales agreement.”

“Yet another reason that written commitments are so effective is that they require more work than verbal ones. And the evidence is clear that the  more effort that goes into a commitment, the greater is its ability to influence the attitudes of the person who made it. Once even a small commitment has been made people tend to add justifications to support the commitment and then are willing to commit themselves further. ”

This week’s focus is on commitment. Both how you are affected and swayed by others, as well as, how you sway your customers, guests, clients or members. Would you agree that once you have made a commitment you stick to it? Have you ever had your customer or client fill out a sales form? Would you be committed to writing down your goals if you knew that you would be more successful just by doing so?

Reader Responses

“One of the biggest problems we have in life today is that people, especially many younger people, do not want to make a commitment – to anything or anyone. First, many want to make sure they are getting something in return. If not, they will not commit. I don’t know if it is a fear of commitment, especially in relationships, but many young people have to see something up front before they will make a commitment. When pressed, most will provide excuse after excuse as to why they did not make a commitment. Frankly, they did not want to make a commitment in the first place. I have seen it firsthand. A family friend and his girlfriend had made a commitment to being the godparents of our older daughter when she was baptized. The godfather has been very good about remembering our daughter on a regular basis. His girlfriend, the Godmother, never stayed in touch. Not long after, they broke up, and we never heard from the Godmother again. My friend then was married, and he and his wife have been very good to my daughter. The wife has basically become the “surrogate” Godmother to my daughter. I have seen many times in my life where people – friends and family members – who have initially committed to something. And then backed out. In some cases, there was no phone call ahead of time. We live in a transient age, where people commit if it is in their own best interests. If it is not, then they don’t make the effort. That could be one of the reasons why divorce is so prevalent today. If things go sour, it is easier just to get out. We will see what the future holds, but until people make and follow through on their commitments, they will find out the hard way that they are left out in the cold. Thanks, Susan. Excellent word.” – “Warrior” Joe