Well, tonight I won one for the parents – and here’s how I did it.
First, the back story.
You see, our boy Andre is about to turn 7 years old. And as embarrassing as it is to admit, we still cannot get him to eat an apple. Or pretty much any fruit for that matter!
And whilst the judgemental non-parents of this world sit there and judge me with their inexperienced eyeballs, the battle rages in every household of this world nonetheless.
Whether it’s going to bed without fuss, brushing teeth, getting dressed for school or eating an apple. Every house has a sticking point.
For us, it’s the damn apple. Who knows, maybe Snow White scarred our boy for good!
Anyway, with less than a week to his 7th B’day, and his previous promises of I’ll eat it when I’m 7, tonight I wasn’t stopping until I got a result. The tears flowed. The breathing went hyper. The positives flowed first. “You’ll like it”. “It’s nicer than lollies” (do you think I’m stupid I hear his cogs turning). The threat of cancelling his birthday party, no bike, and no playdates with his mates and he still wasn’t budging. “Holy shit” is all I could think as I was fast running out of options.
So good old fashioned bribery (with a twist) and I’m down to flush out of ideas. But guess what…
Got your attention haven’t I?
Bet you’re wondering what I said AND what happened, aren’t you?
Well here’s what I said. “If you try it and you DON’T like it, I’ll still buy you your bike.” Yes it’s a hefty reward for something so small but I needed some leverage for God’s sake!
Low and behold he shoved that apple in his mouth.
How did this happen? The psychology of it is rather simple. In fact, we should all remove the risk for people more easily like this in sales, marketing and family negotiations more often.
Psychological Factor # Remove RISK
Once my little boys brain was NOT going to be punished (with bad taste), he was left with an easy decision to try it. All the rewards of fun, parties, good taste meant nothing when the risk of bad taste was so high in his mind.
Once the risk of bad taste was removed, he was free to act. In fact, there was a reward if it disappointed him.
Think about how this psychological factor is at play the next time you have to make a decision. Or maybe you are selling and marketing to someone else.
And whilst I am fully aware there are simple methods of persuasion in the moment, you sometimes have no choice but to resort to bribes and threats to inspire the actions. Just make sure you use them for the good of the people you are trying to persuade.
Parents – 1, Children – 7,492