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Psychological Trigger #2: Reason Why

Don’t forget this trigger comes as part of a set of powerful psychological influences that are explained in my eBook Product minus Sales equals Junk.

To get your FREE copy of this eBook [thrive_2step id=’1009′]Click Here.[/thrive_2step]

Do you remember the stupid beer commercial a few years back with the tagline “Why Ask Why?” Well, completely unknown to the ad agency — they had almost stumbled onto a breakthrough marketing concept.

Telling people the reason why you are doing something is one of the most powerful influencers of human behavior.

Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” talks about an experiment by Harvard social psychologist, Ellen Langer, that concluded people like to have a reason for what they do.

Her experiment consisted of people waiting in line to use a library copy machine and then having experimenters ask to get ahead in line.

The first excuse used was “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the copier because I’m in a rush? “This request coupled with a reason was successful 94% of the  time. However when the experimenter made a request only: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the copier?” this request was only granted 60 % of the time. A  significant drop.

Okay now for the shocker.

It may seem like the difference between those two requests was the additional  information of “because I’m in a rush”, but that’s just not the case.

Because in a third experiment, the experimenter asks “Excuse me,I have five pages.  May I use the copier because I have to make some copies? “There’s no reason mentioned or new information presented, just the words “because”.

This time a full 93% of the people said yes simply due to the word ‘BECAUSE’! And it didn’t even matter about the reason given. Just the word because triggered a magic response.

Using this psychological ‘trigger’ can massively increase your Marketing success. Max Sackheim, famous for the long -running ad “Do You Make These Mistakes in English” and originator of the book -of -the -month concept, says this:  “Whenever you make a claim or special offer in your advertising, come up with an honest reason why, and then  state it sincerely. You’ll sell many more products this way.

And this powerful strategy works just as well today.

Using this secret weapon for Stylepalace an online ladies fashion boutique, we achieved a massive 1,073% return on investment simply using “reason- why” copy.

Here’s the headline and subhead:


How Can We Extend Our Winter Sale For Another Week?”

The Owner is on Holiday’s in Bali and She has Left Us In Charge!


The premise was how can we continue our very generous Winter sale beyond the advertised deadline and still get a bump in online traffic and sales. What is more many girls who had already taken part in the sale felt a need to come back and make just one more purchase.

Yes we could have simply said Sale extended….. but we have tried that before. The moment we added this honest and plausible reason the results were remarkably better. What is more we had snap shots from Bali on the Style Palace face book page to verify the story.


There are lots of ways to use this idea. Keep brainstorming a reason why you are doing something.

Let people in “behind the scenes” at your company…

  • Are you overstocked on merchandise because for some reason customers only want the deluxe widget- but you ordered tons of the basic one?
  • Did you have a flood and you need to liquidate (pardon the pun) your inventory?
  • Do you need to raise cash so you can pay for your nose job? Whatever the reason. Tell them the truth.

For some reason everyone wants to be mysterious about their business. If you’re  lowering the price nobody thinks you’re doing it just because you’re” such a nice person”.  So let people in on the reason why.

I know this probably goes against every grain of business sense, but I promise if you give people a good, believable  reason why, they’ll respond with open wallets.

Secret number 3 coming soon BECAUSE I can’t wait to tell you.


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