Reduce Evaluator Bias: Showcase Best Features in Any Offer

Less can be more when designing offers, whether when offering services in job applications, crafting sales offers, or positioning for advantage in any negotiation.

Kimberlee Weaver

Kimberlee Weaver

Kimberlee Weaver of Virginia Tech and University of Michigan’s Stephen Garcia and Norbert Schwarz showed that more is not better in augmenting offers when additional elements are of lower quality.

Stephen Garcia

Stephen Garcia

Using the Presenter’s Paradox in a series of studies, they showed that positive impressions can be reduced when they are presented in the company of lower value items.

Norbert Schwartz

Norbert Schwartz

Weaver, Garcia and Schwarz offered volunteer “buyers” different iPod Touch packages: iPod and cover OR this package with a free music download.

“Buyers”, on average, offered to pay more for the lesser package, and sellers inaccurately expected that buyers would prefer the fully-featured package.
This suggests that expectations about consumer preferences may be poor predictors of people’s actual selection and purchasing behaviors.

The average price offered for the basic package, iPod and cover was $242, but the package with one free song download averaged just $177.
The additional feature reduced package’s perceived value by more than 25%.

Those designing and evaluating offers can mitigate the impact of this judgment bias by considering the value of the overall offering, then eliminating lower-value components that might reduce the comprehensive value.

This is relevant to job seekers who might be tempted to “pad” a resume with low-value activities, accomplishments and skills.
Weaver, Schwartz, and Garcia’s findings suggest that showcasing most compelling capabilities provides a more power presentations of personal and product attributes.

Santa Clara University’s Jerry Burger might argue that “more might be more” when he found that Steve Jobs’s “that’s-not-all” (TNA) technique was more effective than the much-researched “door-in-the-face” (DITF) approach in gaining agreement to sales propositions.

Jerry Burger

Jerry Burger

That’s-not-all” offers a product at a high price, then doesn’t allowing the volunteer to respond immediately.
The procedure follows up by augmenting the offer with another product or lowering the price.

Burger found “that’s-not-all” produced superior simulated sales outcomes to the much-researched “door-in-the face” (DITF) approach, which presents an unreasonably high offer, then follows with a more acceptable proposal.

Numerous replications of “door-in-the-face” have shown than people are more likely to agree to a second more modest request after an unreasonable high first proposal.
Even when the same offer is presented as a single offer, people are significantly more likely to accept it when it’s presented after an unreasonable proposal.

Burger suggested that “that’s-not-all” may have produced greater compliance because people felt obliged to respond to a new offer through an implicit norm of reciprocity,  and because the augmented offer changed the perceived anchor point that volunteers used to evaluate the offer.

-*How do you mitigate bias in evaluating offers?
-*How do you design the most attractive offer when offering something for sale?
-*Which technique for designing offers has been most persuasive to you as a purchaser?

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3 thoughts on “Reduce Evaluator Bias: Showcase Best Features in Any Offer

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