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Behavioral change is a universal struggle for every business.
It’s difficult for customers to break their old habits and adopt new ones.
This is why reaching leads and convincing them to buy a franchise can be so hard. You’re asking people to change. In numerous ways. And humans don’t like change, even though they do it all the time without realizing it.
So here’s a business question you probably never thought to ask:
What if you offered your leads a million dollars to talk to you?
Surely bribing your leads with cold, hard cash would get them to return your calls and learn more about your franchise opportunity.
Turns out, if you offered your leads a million dollars to talk to you, it still wouldn't be as valuable as sending them a text message. One digital nudge might be all they need to turn into buyers.
Now, this may sound like an exaggeration, but there’s real data behind it.
Recently, several state governments have tried to increase vaccination rates through numerous incentives, freebies, prizes and rewards. From dinner with the governor to free doughnuts to rounds at the gun range to hunting licenses to dating app badges, they’re pulling out all the stops to get people to get their shots.
The New York Times ran a piece about the potential backfiring of cash incentives explaining:
“Humans don’t respond to incentives like rats pressing levers for food; they try to interpret what being offered payment means. When people aren’t sure whether something is good or bad, the prospect of payment helps them decide, in the negative.”
The most notable approach was the million dollar lottery vaccine incentive. But sadly, it didn’t reverse the steep decline in adults seeking out shots, even when many pockets of the country remain vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Wow, is there any initiative compelling enough to encourage behavior change?
Indeed there is. And the trick is, it’s not only the message, but also the medium. Even if your franchise has nothing to do with vaccines, there’s a powerful lesson any business can take away from the following research.
The Washington Post recently published an article about a study involving more than 47,000 people. Scientists identified text messages that were able to nudge people who were scheduled for a primary care doctor’s visit to get a flu shot during that visit. The team tested nineteen text messages that ranged from jokey and casual to sober and professional.
Here’s the full list, but without any numerical results, which we’ll divulge later. See if you can figure out which text had the biggest impact on human behavior:
If you guessed number three, you were right.
According to the study, 72 hours before a doctor’s visit, they told patients that it was flu season and that “a flu vaccine is available for you.” Then, 24 hours before the appointment, we informed them that “a flu vaccine has been reserved for your appointment.” The proportion of people in the control group who got a flu shot was 42 percent. The “reserved for you” nudge raised that figure by 4.6 percentage points.
Here’s the list of nineteen messages with results:
Who needs million dollar lottery tickets when you have digital nudges like that?
Here’s what we can glean from this study.
Personalize to monetize. Personal phrases using second person language makes people feel like the product belongs to them, and they may not want to miss out. If something is already arranged and waiting for you, all you have to do is say yes. Are you making your appointment scheduling that simple for your leads?
Time messages intelligently. While the content of your marketing outreach is vital, the context in which it’s sent is critical as well. The medium and the message have to work together, so if you’re not automating your lead forms with instant text responses, you’re missing out on potential sales. What’s more, once isn’t enough. Reminders aren’t rude.
Costless equals scalable. Sales and marketing tactics like expensive ad campaigns, cash incentives and other gimmicks are expensive, don’t scale, and rarely move the needle. But if you leverage the force multiplier of texting, you can not only reach an unlimited pool of prospects, but preserve the autonomy of leads to make their own decisions when and how to respond to you
Build momentum. One nudge intervention doesn’t guarantee a deal. Nor do a hundred nudges. It’s the accumulation that pays off, not to mention the integration with your other tactics. The nudging power of texting won’t save your franchise, but not using it might hurt it. Make sure automated messaging syncs up with your larger strategy as one speaks on a larger wheel.
Look, selling franchises can be a long slog. And your team might be willing to try almost anything to stir leads from their silence.
But before you pay someone a million dollars to talk to you, consider how effective a simple, personal and compelling text message could be. Seek out low cost, personalized behavioral nudges and interventions for your leads, and it will help you achieve meaningful improvements in contact and close rate.
If you want to learn how to incorporate automated text messaging into your sales strategy, set up a demo with FranFunnel.
It’s easier than sending your leads lottery tickets, and much more affordable.
Scott Ginsberg is Head of Content at FranFunnel. He does not play the lottery, but is willing to get a third vaccine for one million dollars.