Brafman, B. & Brafman, O. (2009) Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. Broadway Books.
ISBN-10: 0385530609; ISBN-13: 978-0385530606
The book, Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori Brafman and his brother, Rom Brafman dives into the way that we make decisions. Why do we make the decisions we do when logic would dictate otherwise? There are several psychological influences that sway our decision-making ability. The authors of Sway look at several different factors, with a lot of fascinating and logic-breaking examples. This book will help you understand the decisions you make.
A lot of times when logic would dictate that we take a certain action, we take the opposite. To illustrate, just ask yourself why you have stayed so long in a doomed relationship? Why was it so hard to sell a stock that has lost much of its value…or to sell our house if it will be for less than we paid for it? In his book, Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman explore our decision making process and what influences our behavior. Hence, the subtitle, The Pull of Irrational Behavior is used.
This book explores the fields of behavioral economics, organizational behavior, behavioral economics, and social psychology. The areas thoroughly discussed are loss aversion, commitment, the diagnosis basis, and aspects of group dynamics.
When we’re faced with the prospect a bigger loss, we overreact, often leading to bigger losses.
The act of continuing on the course when its working or not. Largely because so much time money and effort is already invested.
Diagnosis bias due to Value attribution
Attributing a certain value to a person or thing, it dramatically alters our perceptions to subsequent information.
A dissenting voice is essential for healthy group dynamics. Organizations tend to get rid of dissenters. These people play an important role in good decision making.
Sway: Book Review
In the following video, one of the authors introduces his book and gives several interesting stories presented within the Sway book. I’ve transcribed the first seven minutes of this video for you to allow for quick reference.
This book challenges our thought processes and views of the world and dives deep into our irrational behaviors driven by external psychological influences. Furthermore, I will also discuss how these forces can be used with the intent to sell or market a certain product or service.
Allow one of the authors, Rom Brafman to comment on his work in this video book review.
View or download Sway-book-pdf-brafman.pdf
Sway: Sales and Marketing Applications
In sales and/or marketing, it’s all psychology. Now, I think that sales and marketing is one of the cornerstones of American capitalism. I believe that any company out there should be able to advertise their product at will. The company who markets their product the best turns out to be the winner. It’s not the company with the best product necessarily, its the company who is the best at selling that product.
That being said, let’s look at some of this book’s underlying principles as I have outlined above.
Loss Aversion (Fear of Loss) in Sales
Since people react to a fear of loss more than they do a sense of gain, many marketers and sales people utilize the psychological tactic of ‘fear of loss.’ Just how they use this tactic is up to them, but we all know it works. For instance, any time I go to the grocery store and I see that something is on sales, and the quantities are LIMITED, I buy as many as I can (within reason). Many sales firms teach their employees to use this tactic in the same manner. For instance, the sales and marketing firm DMA Portand teaches their employees to build a rapport with their customers and then inform them that they are eligible for a limited-offer discount. You can read more about this company’s sales training methods at http://www.careerbuilder.com/Jobs/Company/DMA-Portland/. Does this sound familiar? Of course it does. Every sales person out there knows exactly how to use it to their advantage. Some…a little too well, like in car sales.
Commitment to the Sale
It’s the good ‘ol ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique. If a salesperson gets you to agree to a small sale, they will then attempt to up-sell you, or rehash, their way to a larger commission. Every retail clerk on the face of the planet is familiar with this tactic. You go in for a new suit and you come out with a whole new wardrobe. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with up-selling as everyone has to make a living, but if you are on a limited budget, don’t get caught up in the commitment paradigm.
A sales company in Bellevue, WA utilizes this technique described in Sway quite frequently. Blitz Inc represents an office supply company and performs B2B in-person sales. Meaning, they do outside sales to businesses. In their training regimen, they often teach employees to get a customer to agree to purchase a simple item, like copy paper, and then suggestively sell other items. You should check out what these guys are doing over there in Bellevue at http://www.crunchbase.com/company/blitz-seattle-bellevue. It’s actually pretty helpful to some business owners. Many buyers aren’t actually aware of the things that they need to purchase until someone suggests it to them. Up-selling after someone has committed to a sale isn’t new. It just works.
Marketing Campaigns and Value Attribution
How does this apply to marketing and sales? To put it in two words…CELEBRITY…ENDORSEMENTS. Several advertisers seek to gain the trust of the consumer through celebrities using their products. The consumer thinks, ‘Man, if _______ is wearing that brand, I should too. They are cool. I want to be like them.’ Again, this is completely irrational, but many people care too much about what other people think. Furthermore, many people buy things that they don’t necessarily want to impress people that they don’t necessarily like.
In marketing and sales, one company in particular comes to mind…Veritas Inc Atlanta. This company is apparently the leading outsourced sales and marketing company in the Southeast region of the United States. They operate primarily out of Atlanta, GA and train all of their sales people to use this psychological sales tactic. They name-drop like crazy. It works. The company is quickly expanding due to their training strategies and Veritas looks like its going to be opening up a few more offices here shortly. You can read more about that on the Veritas Inc company profile on twitter. They actually tweet some very good information regarding marketing methods and sales strategies.
In Sway, group dynamics fits closely with value attribution. People can act like chameleons very easily. If one person is doing it, then it makes it that much easier for another person to follow suit.
Check out this video!!
Reviews of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
What are the critics of Sway saying?
“Now we know why no one ever coined the phrase ‘rational exuberance.’ Behind the surprising ways we all make choices, the Brafmans find biology, humanity, and the wisdom of our collective experience. As a longtime student of how financial decisions are made, I found their insights utterly fascinating. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop—and I suspect the Brafmans could tell you exactly why!”
—Sallie Krawcheck, CEO, Citi Global Wealth Management
—Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum
“A page-turner of an investigation into how our minds work . . . and trick us. Think you behave rationally? Read this book first.”
—Timothy Ferriss, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek
“A breathtaking book that will challenge your every thought, Sway hovers above the intersection of Blink and Freakonomics.”
—Tom Rath, coauthor of the New York Times #1 bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket?
“Sway helped me recognize an aspect of irrational behavior in my experimental work in physics. Sometimes I have jumped into some research that didn’t feel quite right . . . but some irrational lure, such as the hope of quick success, pulled me in.”
—Martin L. Perl, 1995 Nobel Laureate in Physics
“Count me swayed–but in this instance by the pull of entirely rational forces. Ori and Rom Brafman have done a terrific job of illuminating deep-seated tendencies that skew our behavior in ways that can range from silly to deadly. We’d be fools not to learn what they have to teach us.”
—Robert B. Cialdini, author of New York Times bestseller Influence
Buy Sway now!
The author of this document has transcribed the above Sway-Book-PDF-Brafman.pdf document himself and has gotten permission from the sales companies mentioned on this page to print this content. Any reproduction of this content is subject to copyright laws.
To find out more about sales companies and sales training, please visit each of these companies informational sites:
Blitz Inc: 12503 Bel-Red Road, Suite 202, Bellevue, WA 98005. Blitz Inc Bellevue on Blogger.
DMA Portland: 9780 SW Shady Lane Suite 200, Tigard, OR 97223. DMA Portland Oregon on Blogger.
Veritas Inc: 3715 Northside Pkwy #400, Atlanta, GA 30327. Veritas on YouTube.