Commitment and Consistency Principle


Hello, Troy Moore her from  Today we’re going to discuss a leverage principle that you can use in marketing called commitment and consistency, the Cialdini principle from Dr. Cialdini when he wrote the book The Psychology and Influence of Persuasion.   It’s a doozy.  This is a really cool one that a lot of people underestimate the power of.  I don’t see it being used enough online.  It’s very, very, very powerful for persuading somebody to purchase something from you.

The Background

And to give you an idea of how powerful it is and why you want to learn this, let’s check out the Sherman experiment.  There was a doctor named Dr. Sherman.  He was a sociologist who devised this one little interesting experiment where he called randomly on local residents – I think he was in Bloomington, Indiana.  And this is what he did.

He asked these residents to predict what their answer would be if someone asked them to donate three hours of their time to the American Cancer Society.  And this is not something that a lot of people would jump for joy and do, “Ooh yeah, let me donate my time to the ACS, the American Cancer Society.”

But when they felt like there was no obligation for them to actually do this – they just had to predict their answer – very innocently they made a commitment.  And a certain amount of people who made that commitment that said, ”Yeah I think I would donate three hours of my time,” kind of said it whimsically or said it because they didn’t think they’d actually have to follow through on it because it was just a question.

Well, what happened is three days later he had someone actually ask them from the American Cancer Society to donate their time, and here’s what he found out.  Those people who said yes, that they would donate three hours of their time if somebody asked them, were 700 percent more likely to actually donate three hours of their time regardless of whatever context that they said or whatever context it was said under, whether they actually meant it or not.  And this is because it’s a commitment and consistency principle.

And so this is very powerful.  If you can get people to even harmlessly commit to taking a certain position, and that position is beneficial for you selling something to them in a few days, well this is really what you want to use because you’re going to knock this out of the park.  You’re going to get some really good leverage.  So this is what it’s all about.

People are more confident about their chances of winning the lottery after they purchase their ticket.  The same is true for a lot of things.  People are more confident about their chances of winning the lottery after they’ve purchased their ticket even though the numbers are the same; even though nothing absolutely changes the actual effect of them winning or not, people are just more confident because think about the psychology that goes into it.

The Justification Factor

Before they have to make the decision to buy that lottery ticket they’re kind of unsure.  “Should I buy it?  Should I not?  I don’t know.  I’m kind of worried about it.”  And there’s a lot of turmoil going on in their mind, but as soon as they’ve bought it there’s no more of that.  So now they have to justify it, “Okay, I bought this.  I feel good now.  I bought this.”  They made the commitment to buying it, and then they acted in a way that was consistent with their purchase.

So that’s a way to make yourself feel good, and I call it the justification factor.  We as human beings, we have this tendency to justify whatever we do; the way that we can justify it that makes us look good so we can protect our own self-interest.

There’s another benefit for consistency, and that is autopilot mode.  If you can make a decision and then just continually make all your decisions on that one decision in the future, you can do things mindlessly and get away with it.

And really we need shortcuts in this world with so many distractions and so many opportunities around us.  We do need shortcuts, and a lot of people rely on this commitment and consistency principle as a shortcut.  ”Well, I made the commitment to this, and so I’m going to now base all my decisions that are related to this by being consistent with my commitment so I don’t have to think anymore” because people love to turn their mind off, and they love not to think.

The other thing I know about human nature is that people have a lot of trouble making a decision.  It is just the root of all procrastination is indecision.  So people have a lot of trouble making a decision, and what’s easier than to just make it an autopilot?  So you make a commitment to something, and so then when it comes up later – bing, I’ll just do that.  Bing, I’ll just do that.  I’ll just be consistent so then it kind of negates them having to actually make a decision, a real decision every time because they can go into autopilot mode.

And then there’s the guilt factor, too.  People have to re-examine themselves and say, “Well geez, I made that decision, and I made that commitment to donate my time to the American Cancer Society.  I said I would.  Am I the kind of person that backs out on their obligations and things that they say they were going to do?  I don’t think I am.”  So there’s that self-worth there, that preservation of self-worth.

A lot of salespeople use this wrongly.  I’m not going to advocate you use this way, but what they would do is they get you to commit.  So they act like they pose it in the form of a survey.

They say, “You know, Mr. Prospect, I’m giving a survey today.  I’m wondering if you’d answer a couple of questions.”

“Okay, sure.”

“Are you somebody who likes and enjoys entertainment?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“How many times a month do you go out and see the movies?”

“Oh, I go out a lot.  I go out about three times.”

“And how many times do you eat out a week?”

“Oh, a couple times a week.”

“And how many times do you do this, this, and this?”  And then they say, “Okay, based on all the answers you’ve given me – I’ve totaled it up here – I think I have a package here that could save you $1,200.  That would make sense for you wouldn’t it?  Because these are things you enjoy doing.  Wouldn’t you like to save money on that?  Isn’t that right?”

And you’re like, “Ooh, oops.  I just made a commitment that says I’m all these things and so in order to say no to the offer I have to call myself a liar basically.  I have to tell these people I lied to them or I have to tell them I’m an idiot who doesn’t want to save money.”  And so they guilt you into purchasing.

I’m not advocating you use it in that method.  I’m just showing you how the power of making a commitment is for persuasion because people then have to say, “Well, I’m going to have to call myself a liar.”  The other thing is they’re going to have to re-examine the situation, and the other thing they’re going to have to say that they made an incorrect decision.

So all of those things are painful to them, and so they want to avoid pain.  So it’s easy if you can get them to commit to something that is actually in their best interest and not something you’re trying to trick them on.  And that is a way to get people to work in their own best interest, and that’s good.

Their Worse Interest

Here’s an insight, too.  People typically do not work in their best interest.  They overeat, knowing that it’s bad for them.  They go out and drink all night, knowing that it’s bad for them.  They put off things that they need to get around to, and they do all these things that are not in their self-interest because of the way that they react to certain situations; just a programming that they’ve had and the bad habits that they’ve cultivated.

So you have to overcome a lot of those bad habits; so it’s hard to get somebody to purchase something from you, especially an information product, because everything’s telling them, “Well, just procrastinate.  Just keep doing what you’re doing.  Just stay in your comfort zone.  Don’t spend that money.”  Blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

And so everything is working against them.  Even if this product could change their life, they might miss it unless you do everything in your power to get them to purchase.

So a desire for consistency is a large behavioral motivator, and it’s one that you should use to get people to purchase your stuff.  So your stuff can change their life.

I honestly know the quality of my products can change people’s life.  If a reasonable person uses a reasonable amount of my product, it will somehow increase the happiness in their life.  I know that to be true.  So I have to use a lot of these covert communication tactics, and I have to use a lot of these things to help people see the value; and a lot of these things to help educate people to make good decisions.  So that’s why you want to learn these things.

So here’s how you get commitments.  This is how I systematize them when I use this in my business.  And I’ll give you some examples here.  But really these are all based around getting your prospects and/or customers to take a stand on record.

The Easiest Exchange

So one of the simplest ways to do this – this is a good technique is you get them to give you a written or an audio testimonial in exchange for a free report.  And the free report has to be related to a paid report that you’re going to sell them later, or a paid product.

So let’s just say you wanted to sell them a product on how to build a list in 17 days or less; a list of 2,000 people in 17 days or less.  Let’s say that’s your report.

So you might create a free report saying the three best list-building strategies that are in existence in 2009 or whatever, and you give that to them.  And you say, “Just give me a testimonial in exchange for this, for this free report.”

So what you get is you have people tell the testimonial of how important list-building is for them or you have them write a little creed – which I’ll get to – talking about how great list-building is.  Or you give them the first free report, and then you say, “If you give a testimonial for that first free report, I’ll give you something else.”

So to get them to write a testimonial about the free report, and then later you make the offer for the paid report, which is more in-depth than the free report, and now these people have made commitments on record.  And if you put their actual testimonials on the sales page, then they’re going to look at it when they go there and be like, “Oh man, I made that commitment.  I said that this is a good thing and that I’m absolutely on board for this.”  And so that’s just one more little switch you’ve hit for persuasion to get them to go forward on a purchase.

So if you can get people to write – get them in writing; to write about something about a free report that you gave them, and then offer a complementary paid report to that, people have now made that commitment; that yes, this is something that I think is valuable, so then when it comes time to make them an offer it’s like, “Hey, you agree that this is valuable, so why aren’t you acting on it?”  So that’s a very good way to get commitments.

The Mini Commitment

This is another really good technique here is what would you be willing to pay, what’s the value you’d put on this?  So what you can do in a pre-launch phase – let’s say you’re launching a new product or whatever, and you’re really giving them a lot of value.  You’re showing them, “This is what’s going to happen on this day.  You’re going to get this.  You’re going to get this.  You’re going to get this.  We’re super excited.  Look at the results we’ve gotten for these people.  This is going to be awesome.  We’re still nailing down a final price, but we kind of want to get an idea of the value you guys place on this.  So if this package were to be made available to you right now, how much do you think this would be worth?  Or how much would you be willing to pay for this?”

And typically people are going to put a number that’s overinflated, and that’s what you want.  You want a lot of people to say, “Man, I would pay $500 for this information.  I would pay $300 if it was made possible right now.”

So you’re going to get all these people to commit to paying all this money.  And then let’s say you debut it, and it’s only $97.  Well, now you have two persuasion triggers that you’re pushing on.  The first one is all those people that made that commitment.  They said, “I would buy this for 3 or $500, I’m going to be absolutely ecstatic to purchase it at $97.”

And secondly, you can tell everybody else, “The average person valued this at $300.  We’re making this available to you at $97.  Can’t you see you’re getting such a great deal?”  So that’s another angle you can work into your sales pitch.

And just think if you combine that with getting a testimonial up front or having them post on a blog, which is another thing that should be put on here, that I can actually – you would incorporate these.  I’ll show you how to do this later with some of this other stuff here.  What would you be willing to pay for, or what value would you put on this?

So get people to make a commitment that’s saying, “This is this valuable” so then when you make the actual offer at a lower price, it’s a no-brainer for them.  They’ve made the commitment.  They’re going to consistently purchase, and the other people are going to look at the social proof and say, “Wow, everybody else is saying it’s this much and it’s this much.  I’m going to get on board, too.”  So that’s another way.

Transform Small Purchases into Big Purchases

This one here is a really cool one, and I’ve been using this for my business.  And I think this will be the trend in 2017 with the economics the way that they’re going.  But make a small purchase into a large purchase.


So you get somebody to commit.  That’s a key word here.  You get somebody to commit, to pull out their credit card and say yes, and happily involve themselves in your offer.  So it might be like a little $7 product on how to write better copy in 3 days or less.  So like, “All right, I’ll pay $7 for that.  Okay, you got me.  You sold me.”  Boom, you buy.

And then you say, “Oh, hold on a second.  I offer special group coaching for $97.”  And that’s the upsell.  And logically we know that a certain percentage that are targeted or going to buy anyway, but the second factor is they’ve already made a commitment which says, “I want to be a better copywriter” in this case.  “I am willing to invest in my education so I can be better at…” whatever they’re purchasing.

So when you make them already a complementary offer, and they’ve committed to purchasing, it’s that much easier for them to be consistent.  They have to examine it again and say, “Wait a minute.  Am I really committed to making copywriting?  Why did I just buy this?  Well yeah, I just bought this because I am really committed.”

So if you are really committed you’re thinking to yourself, “Hmm, I should probably buy this, too.  This looks like it’ll help me more.”  Great.  So the upsell, the one-time offer – see, the one-time offer combines scarcity, which is another good trigger, so you’re combining multiple triggers here for persuasion.

But small purchase to large purchase.  And that’s why it’s much easier to sell a high-ticket item if you put a bunch of low-ticket items in front of it that logically lead to it.

So I got people to buy a $17 copywriting course, and then I sold them on a $197 coaching program, and then after that I sold people on a $297 product creation program, and next we’re going to be selling people on a $397 copywriting program.  And so we’re getting them to make these commitments, and then we’re helping them move up the ladder because they’ve made that commitment; they’ve moved forward.  We’re going to keep them consistent because we know if they consistently move forward and continue their education, they’re going to get good results; so this is how you use commitment and consistency positively, but still make a lot of money; still deliver a ton of value.

Add Accountability

Here’s another technique that you can use for the commitment and consistency.  Accountability statement followed by an offer.

So here’s what you do for your list.  You say, “Guys, I want to make sure you get the most value possible this year; you really reach your potential this year.”  And so for whatever niche that you’re in – it could be something silly like in the pick up women niche – you could say, “I really want you guys to make a commitment to really better yourselves so that you can get beautiful women where you couldn’t get beautiful women before, and you were a big loser and a dork and a nerd and every woman looked at you with disgust.  Now I want you to get that woman of your dreams and feel good about yourself and really connect with your soulmate or whatever.  So here’s what I’m requiring each one of you guys to do.  I want you to put in writing your accountability to yourself.  Say ‘Dear whatever, I will go out and I will talk to ten new women every week to find that woman of my dreams or to get beautiful women.  And I will conquer all my fear that I have with approaching women and interacting with them, and I will be more myself.  I will be more confident.  I will be more assertive, and I’ll do all these other things which women find attractive.’”

So you get them to write a statement down like that.  Well, then guess what?  Three or four days later you come out with a product that does everything that they just had to write down for their accountability statement.  So you look at all their accountability statements and you fuse together a product from it, and then every one of these persons who’s wrote down that accountability statement are like, “Wait a second.”  They really have to examine if they’re serious or not.  ”I’ve made the commitment already with this accountability statement, and now this offer’s being placed before me.  If I don’t take this offer, I’m lying to myself.  I have to admit I’m lying to myself, and I have to admit that what I wrote before wasn’t true.  That’s going to be tough.”  I don’t want to do that, but at the same time this is what people want anyway.  So this is why it’s in their best interest and why it’s good for you to do this stuff.

So you get them to write an accountability statement for anything.  Just have people write down their accountability statement, and if possible, get them to write down the accountability statement as it relates to the offer you’re going to be intending to make in a couple of days.

Sign a Petition

Another technique is the sign a petition method.  This one is slick.  It’s amazing how powerful commitment is even in its tiniest forms.

But what you can do is, “I want to write a petition to all internet marketers or I want to create a petition to all gardeners or whatever.  So would you guys sign my petition?”  So what you do is you write up a little blog post saying, “I hereby petition that all internet marketers are going to take more consistent action,” blah blah blah.  And you lay it out basically what the product that you’re thinking about offering in the future.  And you say, “Guys, I really want you guys to sign this petition so I can see if you guys are really serious or not.”

So you get your list or you get your community or whatever to sign that petition, and then a couple days later you hit them with an offer related to what was on that petition.  You have got them to commit that “Yes, I support this.”

So then when you make that offer you say, “Do you really support it?  Let’s see if you are actually committed to this.  Let’s see if you’re going to be consistent with your actions or were you lying to yourself?  You weren’t lying to yourself, were you?  Do you have to really sit back and analyze this whole situation?  Wouldn’t it be easier if you just said yes?  Because you know deep down in your heart that you are committed.  You know deep in your heart you are committed.”

So that’s another way to get people to persuade to move forward with commitment and consistency.

The Whatevers Creed

Or the brain-dead simplest approach is write the whatever’s creed: the copywriter’s creed, the list-builder’s creed, the home gardener’s creed, the raw food dieter’s creed, whatever.  And you say, “Okay, I want my customers to take this oath with me or this creed with me, that I will absolutely…”  And then you fill in the blanks.  ”Every single day I will analyze and study a copywriting technique, and I will apply it to my business.  One time a week I’ll be writing a sales letter.  I will be actively soliciting clients three times a week.  This is my creed as an A-level copywriter for 2017.”

You get them to write that and re-post it or post it on their own site or post it to you.  Say, “I want you to type out this creed or write it out by hand or whatever and show it to me.”  And so that way you get people to even if they copy the creed word for word and they just type it out, just having them type it out themselves and send it to you or post it on a blog or post it somewhere as them taking a stand on record, which was this one right here.

Then guess what?  When it comes time three days or four days later when you make that offer, the copywriter’s creed offer, where it hits everything in that list on how to do it on the creed, these people are going to be much more likely to say yes to your offer.  I hope you’re really understanding the power of commitment and consistency here.

So the final thing, the simplest one, is the contest; the brain-dead simplest one.  It doesn’t work as effectively in some markets because people are a little bit on to this technique, but it’s simply, ”I’m giving away one seat.  I’m giving away one thing or whatever to the person who tells me why they want this package the most or why they deserve this the most.”  And so people just simply write down, “I think I’m qualified for this package because this.  This is why I deserve this.”

So people are now justifying and making a commitment on why they want the product.  So then you do give one away for free, but everybody else who’s wrote down and made that commitment, they are going to feel kind of inclined to consider it and purchase it.  It’s also not as good because it’s kind of under a false pretense here.  In this case people are writing it more so to get the prize than they are to actually make the commitment; although it will help.  It’s not as powerful as some of these other ones.

So in conclusion the commitment and consistency principle is simply this:  People like to behave in a way that’s consistent with things that they’ve committed to.  Not only is it simple that way for them because it puts their mind on autopilot so they don’t have to continually re-evaluate new situations, but to go against something they committed to earlier makes them have to say, “I was wrong” or ”I lied to myself” or ”I messed up.”  And these are things that people hate to do.  And so people, once they make the stand, they like to justify it.

So I’ve shown you here how to get commitments.  Get them to take a stand on public record.  It could be written or audio testimonial.  It could be what would you be willing to pay for ________, small purchase to a large purchase, accountability statement followed by an offer, sign a petition, copy a creed, or simply a contest.  So put these to work and get the benefits from them as far as higher persuasion.

So thank you for reading.