Simon Sinek, renowned business author, speaker, and consultant writes in his blog about American’s tendency to tell people what not to do. Don’t smoke. Don’t eat junk food. Don’t litter. Don’t vote for candidate X. He points out the ineffectiveness of this strategy and suggests, as a test, to tell someone, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.”
Telling people what not to do is ineffective for two reasons:
- Our brains cannot process negatives. For example: we cannot quantify darkness or coldness. We can only measure each in terms of its positive counterpart, light and heat.
- Telling someone what not to do (or even what to do), imposes your dogma upon them, strips them of their power to choose, and removes value from the equation.
On the other hand, telling people about your purpose, your beliefs, their options, or the benefits of choice A or B, places the power and the accountability in theirs hand and allows them to make their own value judgments.
I can’t help but think optical professionals often fall into this trap with their customers. Don’t get your eyes examined at Wal-Mart. Don’t buy your glasses from the internet. Don’t buy your contacts from 1-800. And whatever you do, don’t post your [consumer] questions on Optiboard! When faced with these kind demands, it becomes more likely the customer will respond with, "To heck with You. You don't care about me. You just want my money. I'll do what I decide to do."
Value can only be perceived, if the buyer is accountable for their own decision instead [of] being pressured to do what you think is the right thing to do. This has nothing to do with the quality of the product or the service - telling someone not to eat McDonald's because it's bad is good advice...just not as effective as telling them to eat broccoli because it's good.