7 Drivers of Motivation – Conversion Conference Keynote

7 Drivers of Motivation – Conversion Conference Keynote

24th October 2013
Susan Weinschenk, Founder of Weinschenk Institute, LLC  was the keynote speaker at Conversion Conference.  Susan started the presentation by stating that if you know the science behind motivation, you can get people to do stuff.  You can use the science in order to get that to happen.
Susan said there are 7 drivers of motivation:
Get people to do stuff - Keynote - Conversion Conference

1. The Power of Stories

The brain is pre disposed to process information when it is in story format. One of the most powerful things people understand is that people tell one another self stories.  If you want someone to change their behaviour, get them to change the story they tell themselves.
If you want to affect long term behaviour change, get people to take one tiny action, that is contrary to their self story.  This is also called cognitive dissidence.

2. Tricks of the Mind

There are two types of thinking.  System 1 and System 2.
Codoman says most of the time we walk around in System 1 thinking.  We only go into System 2 thinking when we have to.  It is more difficult thinking and it can be seen by others as when people enter this type of thinking, people’s pupils dilate.
This leads to errors and some opportunities.  Susan said that 90% of our mental processing is unconscious which is very surprising.  However, people tend to anchor on a number in their thinking.  For example, there was a study carried out for sale on cans of soup. When there was a sale on soup and there was a  limit to 10 cans per person, people buy 7.  When there is no limit, people buy 3 cans of soups.  Therefore if you are selling products and services, silver, gold and platinum package, it is better to show the platinum package price (the highest) at the top of the page, rather than the last position.

3. Instincts

Susan said we have three brains.  The new brain sits at the front of the head and evolves the most recently.  This is where System 2, the logical thinking takes place.  The old brain evolved longest ago.   It is constantly scanning the environment for food, shelter, procreation and anything that shows danger.
When designing a product/service and you want people to take action, make sure you talk to all 3 brains.
The old brain thinks that more choice will give them more control which means they will survive. However, if you give people too many choices, they will not make a decision, despite the fact that customers say they want more choice. An experiment was conducted in a supermarket.  When there were 24 jam jars, there were only 2 sales.  However, when there were 6 jam jars for sampling, there were 12 sales.
Jam size - Keynote - Conversion Conference
People can only remember  3 – 4 things at a time.
One last point to remember is that we are more motivated by fear of loss than by anticipation of gain. So make sure you include this in the advertising of your products/services.

4. Carrots and Sticks

Skinner’s Operant Conditioning works on the below:
Behaviour – > Reinforcement -> More behaviour
Skinner said that it is more effective to reward people every 5th time, every 10th time and vary this in an unpredictable way. The casinos understand the “schedule of reinforcement”.  They reward you sometimes you play the slot machine.   It is a variable reinforcement schedule.
Punishment is not nearly as effective as giving a reinforcement.  If you want more of a behaviour, give more rewards.   Figure out more what type of reward to give people rather than punishment.

5. The Need to Belong

Susan asked for 7 volunteers to take part in the next experiment, taking the percussions and playing them in front of the audience. This demonstrated the fact that  we all want to be part of a group.  People want to belong.
People chant at sporting events in order to be apart of the group.
Being part of a group
Gregory Walton has done a lot of research on the “need to belong”. He has found that using a noun instead of a verb gets more people to take that action more.
For example  if you are a not for profit organisation and want to raise more money, instead of putting “donate” on the website, change it to “Be a Donor”.  This way people feel they belong and are being part of something.

6. Habits

It takes less than a week to form a new habit.
A habit develops in the following way:
Stimulus – > Response
Cue -> Response
Wake up -> Brush teeth
If you want other people to form new habit, in this example above, take the brushing of the teeth as the cue for the new thing you want them to do. For example the Cue is brushing the teeth and you want them to take vitamins.

7. The Desire for Mastery

People want to grow, develop, get more skills and work hard. It is therefore very important to give them autonomy, give them control. They need to be shown that they are making progress.
Susan concluded the presentation with a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower:

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it” -[/inlinetweet]

This is most powerful of way to get people to do “stuff” for you as they are doing it for themselves, but of course it is one of the most difficult things to achieve.


Written By
Jo Juliana Turnbull is the organiser of Search London and the founder of SEO Jo Blogs, which provides practical advice and tips for those in SEO.
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