publication date: Sep 28, 2011
What do the
parole decisions of judges have to do with asking for a gift? Perhaps more than
you'd think. Researchers from Columbia
and Ben Gurion University
uncovered a clear correlation between the judges' food breaks and their
favourable or unfavourable decisions.
eating, the judges were much more likely to award parole than later on in the
day. Well-fed, their rate of approval was 65%; after several hours without a
break, their approval rate dropped to almost zero. After a food break, the rate
returned suddenly to 65%.
findings suggest," the researchers conclude, "that judicial rulings can be
swayed by extraneous variables that should have no bearing on legal decisions."
They blame mental fatigue. Tired judicial brains, they believe, find it easier
to deny parole than to make a more taxing decision and return a convicted
criminal to society.
Mental fatigue may affect any decisions
, blogging on neuromarketing.com
, cites researcher Jonathan Levav
opinion that the effect of mental fatigue could happen "anywhere where there is
sequential decision-making and some kind of status quo or default that allows
people to simplify those decisions."
are swayed towards the status quo that easily, he suggests, it's likely that
customers, clients and consumers behave the same way.
extend this idea to donors - your donors - what might it mean? Following Dooley's
reasoning about customer behaviour, you'll want to ask at different times,
depending on whether you want recurring or habitual gifts, or a first-time or
significantly higher gift.
The status quo product or gift
should avoid meetings right before lunch or at the end of the day? Not necessarily,
provided you only want your donors to repeat their giving behaviour. Gifts of
amounts they've given before, or to projects they've supported previously, are
status quo gifts. Those are easier decisions than denying or changing a
habitual gift. If Dooley's right, your odds of acceptance may actually be
higher at those mental "down times."
The change gift
asking donors to do something quite different - to give a much larger amount or
support a different project - that's the time to make sure they're fed and
mentally fresh. If you have to accept an appointment right before lunch, Dooley
suggests stretching the appointment so you can take your prospects to lunch.
Use the pre-lunch time to schmooze and impart simple information. Avoid trying
to close or to present complex details. Save all that for after lunch, when
your donors' energy is higher and they're more ready to deal with the challenge
of choosing the unfamiliar.
If you can't
persuade your donors to dine with you, then bring treats as long as you're sure
they'll be comfortable with that behaviour. Restoring their blood sugar will
quickly reduce their mental fatigue.
And if you
ever end up in traffic court, be sure to go right after lunch!
Read Roger Dooley's article at http://www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/sales-close-time.htm