Don’t be Fooled or Manipulated. It’s Not Worth It!

Don't Be Fooled Or Manipulated! The Anchoring Effect

Don’t Be Fooled Or Manipulated! The Anchoring Effect

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal a tactic that results in you complying or being manipulated.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about a tactic that results in you complying or being manipulated.

How often has this happened to you?

I was shopping with some friends when we entered the Armani store and I decided to try on a unique jacket. I looked at the price tag and it was $2,000. The saleslady pointed out it was on sale at 50% off. Suddenly, the extremely expensive jacket seemed like a great deal – after all – one could say that I was saving $1,000 since it was on sale.

But was it a great deal?

I was stuck on the thought that this is a great deal – I get a $2,000 jacket for $1,000!

This is known as the anchoring effect: my mind was stuck on the original price and it was impacting my decision to buy or not. And I almost bought the jacket.

This is the way the mind works. You rely heavily on one piece of information to make your decision, namely the first piece of information. In my case, the first piece of information was the original high price tag of $2,000.

Had I walked in the store and the price of the jacket was $1,000, I probably would have said ‘It’s way overpriced…it should only be a couple of hundred dollars…’

This dynamic of the anchoring effect is very common in the field of sales; it applies to all goods and services and even real estate: ‘We bought the house for $40,000 less than the advertised amount!’ Yes, you did, but what was it actually worth? Was the Armani jacket truly worth $1,000 let alone $2,000? The only way to determine that answer would be to research all of the manufacturing and other associated costs.

Here is another example.

You arrive at a restaurant only to be told that you have to wait 40 minutes for a table. You agree and then when you are given your table at 35 minutes, you feel relieved and happy that you actually got the table 5 minutes sooner than expected (sooner than the anchor number of 40 minutes.) On another occasion, you arrive at a restaurant and you are told that you will have to wait 20 minutes for your table and when your table is announced, you are angry because you actually had to wait 30 minutes – just 10 minutes more than you expected – 10 minutes higher than the anchor of 30 minutes.

Your mood and response were based on the original time, the original piece of information, known as the anchor.

The same psychological principle applies to negotiating salaries during the hiring process. It is said that in negotiations the first person to speak a number will be the loser, but this is not true. If you the candidate state a very high salary then there is a greater chance that you will get a higher starting salary than if you wait for the employer to cast a low price and then you negotiate up for a final amount. (Read the study)

The anchoring effect can also be used to manipulate people to take various other actions such as doing you a favor. In one psychological study into manipulation and compliance, researchers found that they could manipulate subjects to do a small favor (volunteer as camp counselor for a single two-hour trip) by first asking for an extreme favor which the subjects would refuse (volunteer as camp counselors two hours per week for two years.) In fact, when the researchers asked first for the small favor, they got a 17% agreement. But when they asked for the extreme favor, and they were refused, they then asked for the small favor and got 50% agreement.

Think if this has happened to you: Someone asks to borrow a high sum of money from you, and when you say ‘no’, he/she drops that amount dramatically and then you agree?

The point here is that most of our decisions (to buy or comply) are not actually based on analyzing all of the facts and factors, but rather, they are highly influenced by our first piece of information or first value.

Accordingly, before making important decisions, stop and pause, wait to review all of the information and focus on moving away from the initial anchor so that you can make a decision where you are not being manipulated.

If you need personal help to gain clarity, escape a manipulative or abusive relationship, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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