Can a Lousy Chair Kill Your Sale?

How can a handshake, a more comfy chair or heavy box help you close more business and make the next sale? We at Successful Sales Tools are always looking for the sales tools that will give us an edge on the competition. So let me ask you, have you ever given any thought to the chair you have in your office for your guest to sit on? Is it soft and comfy like your favorite chair is at home? New research suggest it might help you close your next deal, or hurt your chances in bringing that deal home.

A report in the journal Science suggests that tactile feedback can unconsciously influence our perception and judgments. The authors say that the tactile sense is our first sense to develop and continues to influence us throughout our lives and helps us in our decision making process and our judgements.

Christopher C. Nocera, Joshua M. Ackerman, and John A. Bargh conducted research on how weight, texture and hardness can influence judgements. “Touch remains perhaps the most under-appreciated sense in behavioral research,” says co-author Christopher C. Nocera.

So what about that hard chair you have in your office? How can that kill a sale?   One of the tests the researchers conducted involved two types of chairs one hard, one soft. The subjects sat in either of the chairs and began negotiations over the price of a new car. The people in hard chairs were less flexible, showing less movement between successive offers. The subjects in softer chairs? they were less likely to be tough in negotiators.

Still not convinced? I remember a story author Kevin Hogan told about what he calls the thud factor. I don’t know if he made it up or not, but the thud factor goes like this, a customer orders your product in the mail, when it get to their house and the mail-person delivers it, they should hear a thud whens it’s dropped at the door. It seems like you received way more for your money when the box is heavier.

Nocera had an experiment for that as well. To test the effects of weight, subjects used either light or heavy clipboards while evaluating resumes. They judged candidates whose resumes were seen on a heavy clipboard as better qualified and more serious about the position. Much like the thud factor?

How can you use this in your interactions with your customers? My first suggestion is that you walk around your desk and sit in the chair…see how it feels, and what does that feel like when you are negotiating?

Lastly, how can you use the heavy clipboard or thud factor in your business? I’m looking forward to hearing how you will implement this.

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