#876 Because

In 1977 Professor Ellen Langer and her team at Harvard University made a stunning if simple discovery about human behavior. They found that the word because moves people.

In the study, Dr. Langer's team was instructed to interrupt people who were waiting in line at a copying machine. Remember, this was 1977, and copiers were not connected to computers, so people didn't just print sets of documents; instead, they copied them, and long lines at the copy machine were standard.

The team approached people in line saying one of the following three lines:

"Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?"

 "Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I'm in a rush?"

"Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?

With the first request, they achieved about 60% compliance.

With the second request, the use of "because" skyrocketed compliance to 94%.

Take a look at number three. It doesn't even make sense! Yet, by using the word because compliance was a staggering, 93%.

Using the word "because" and giving a reason resulted in significantly more compliance. This was true even when the reason was uncompelling ("because I have to make copies"). The researchers hypothesize that the word because triggers automatic behavior or "mindlessness" as a short-cut that requires no thinking. And, hearing the word "because" followed by a reason, (no matter how inane the reason is), causes us to comply.

In the blog last week I asked that you send me some of your favorite books and podcasts so that I may share that list here. I go very few replies.


So, please reply here and send me the name of a book or podcast you'd like to share with all of us BECAUSE I need you to send it.

Own your sales gene…