Can guilt possibly be used as a power source?
Don’t underestimate the influence that guilt can have on us. Very few people are so cold-hearted that they are immune to those heart tugs of guilt, obligation, or pity. It is those tugs that enable the Power of Effort to be available and effective.
The Power of Effort could be explained as doing something positive and significant for a negotiating opponent in hopes that their efforts will be rewarded.
An example would be a house painter who was asked to prepare a bid on a local home owner’s house. While at the property the painter notices an old dilapidated shed in the backyard. Without notice or even permission from the homeowner, the painter has his crew scrape and paint that old shed. It was a small job but a big improvement.
Why would he do such a thing?
Well, the painter knows two things in this situation.
First, that the homeowner wants his house to be painted.
Second, that stepping out and painting the shed without permission could give him the edge on getting the whole house painting job. The painter’s risk is that the homeowner would be upset by his actions (doubtful, especially on the old shed) and the risk that he wouldn’t get the whole house painting job (his efforts were costly with no return).
But consider where such a gutsy action would place our house painter when compared to his competition. You guessed it. He would be at the very top even if their whole house price was higher than other bids submitted.
The power gained by this effort comes from showing eye-opening initiative, from demonstrating one’s capabilities, and even from laying a minor “guilt trip” on the recipient to somehow reward that effort.
If you think this power of effort isn’t effective, consider how you’d feel if you came home to find that a neighbor teen had mowed and trimmed your front lawn in hopes that you’d hire them to do that regularly. Only the most cold-hearted wouldn’t be positively influenced by it.
In other words, the Power of Effort works on almost everyone.
So here is your challenge. What’s your product or service and how can you set yourself above the competition by providing that unexpected effort?
Here are some other examples you might recognize.
• The real estate agent constructs a single property website on a seller’s house before they get the listing and demos that site during their presentation.
• The bank provides a complimentary one-year $1,000 life insurance policy on a depositor along with information about how to purchase additional coverage. My bank does this.
• The coffee service delivers a coffee maker and supplies to a business office for a one-month no-cost trial.
Be careful. If someone uses the power of effort on you, acknowledge their contribution, but also recognize that their price and terms are almost always negotiable. Don’t fail to seek the best deal possible because they may have made you feel guilty or obligated.