Home > Consumer Behavior > Justifying a Purchase: The "Blissful Ignorance Effect"

Justifying a Purchase: The "Blissful Ignorance Effect"

Researchers at the University of Iowa, University of Utah, and Stanford University found that buyers who are "blissfully ignorant" about the product they purchased have a higher degree of customer satisfaction in their purchase than buyers who had a great deal of information.

They call this the "Blissful Ignorance Effect." To summarize this concept, the researchers found that buyers will emphasize the positive features of their purchase, and will downplay the negative features so that they feel better about their purchase. The research suggests that the less we know about something (as buyers), the easier it is for us to create our own thoughts about it, which leads to higher satisfaction.

I find this fascinating, and maybe you will, too.

Please read about the research on the University of Iowa website, then feel free to post your thoughts in this thread at Salespractice.

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
That is fascinating and the first time I've ever heard of that twist. Excellent find Skip. Thank you for sharing. thmbp2; - by Houston
Thanks for sharing Skip, wasn't really aware of that concept, but after thinking about it, I agree. Once a consumer makes that buying decision, he/she doesn't want to be told that they made a bad decision so I can see where they will overlook the negatives and defend the positives in order to justify their decision.

I would assume that in order to immplement this to our advantage one must know when to stop educating/selling the prospect and write the deal up. This is just another reason why listening to our customers, and understanding what they are telling us is very important. Good find, it's stuff like this that makes me happy that I joined SP.

~James - by Mr. Cesario
I would assume that in order to immplement this to our advantage one must know when to stop educating/selling the prospect and write the deal up.
Amen, James! And I would add that after the sale, we should verbally support the customer's decision to purchase to reinforce it.

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
Notwithstanding all those who bought way above their means homes sub prime financed looking for some kind of killing only to see forclosure as their way out - the blissfully ignorant gone astray.

MitchM - by MitchM
and those pyramid scheme guys too. iv been hit on five or six times by them. I think one was reliv even or something similer and a software thing. then when i see them a few weeks later and ask them about how their pyramid thing is going they say it didnt work out. one buddy lost a ton of money. blissful ignorance gone bad i guess. - by BobSales
Even worse than those pyramid scheme con artists are the small colleges we have around us in Southwest Michigan making bold promises of big bucks learning this or that kinda like the little ads you find in magazines offering their get rich quick and long lasting opportunities learning how to copyright, sell songs, and do legal work from home.

None of that would be welcomed on a forum like this - unfortunately those types abound.

MitchM - by MitchM
Does anybody else have a comment on the "Blissful Ignorance Effect" article? - by Skip Anderson
Having just read the article a second time I wonder what convoluting perceptions indicated from this one study using chocolate might have to do with how one sells. Answers to that could be an important contribution to this provocative thread Skip's started.

I haven't pondered this enough yet to have a reply to my question nor do I have a quick response but does anyone else?

Looking back on twelve years of sales I can't say that blissful ignorance has been much of a justification people have used to validate their purchases enough to make them repeat buyers. It's always been product results specific and concrete that have caused them to reorder.

Likewise, those who I recall appearing to communicate some kind of blissful ignorance in justifying their purchase have often not reordered some months later. Since my business is based on repeat ordering why people reorder is important.

MitchM - by MitchM
Likewise, those who I recall appearing to communicate some kind of blissful ignorance in justifying their purchase have often not reordered some months later. Since my business is based on repeat ordering why people reorder is important.

MitchM
Hey Mitch, I'm just currious as to how you might handle future sales based purely off customers purchasing through the blissful ignorance effect?

you stated that in the past the customers that did buy from you purely through blissful ignorance, that they never really panned out to be repeat customers, as in every buisness repeat customers is always important, but I would like others input as well on this as it breaks down:

If you reconize the fact that you just made a sale via blissful ignorance and with the above given information, would you (A) proceed with the sale anyways just to add to your bottom line? or (B) inform the customer that you don't believe they are making this purchase rationally, and you would like to give them some more time to think it over?

Although the later of the two would net you a repeat customer in the end, but it comes with the risk of loosing a one time sale if they never return. I'm really currious as to how everyone else would handle this situation.

I think that if I were in the above mentioned situation, that I would proceed with the sale, and try to follow up and reinforce their decision later on through constant communication after the sale. And address any problems that might come up if possible. But if I couldn't convert them to become a repeat customer, than I would just simply move on, with the one time sale. Am I just chasing the buck or is it ok to leave a sale on the table? what are your thoughts?

Thanks for the input.

~James - by Mr. Cesario
Mr C I won't change a thing. I've read and studied thousands of this and that perceptions and conclusions, cliches and ways to sell - believe me when I say while my experience in years isn't the same as some who post here my studies are very thorough.

So I will continue to be clear and honest, direct and concrete, specific and in every case do my best to get a commitment from the person I sell to laying out all the pros and cons in their decision making.

I will continue to prospect people who want TODAY exactly what I offer and from that begin an inquiry to see if it's a complete match. Having built a successful business that way and one I have big plans for I see no reason to change what works.

MitchM - by MitchM
I will continue to prospect people who want TODAY exactly what I offer and from that begin an inquiry to see if it's a complete match. Having built a successful business that way and one I have big plans for I see no reason to change what works.MitchM
Good Luck to you Mitch I hope you don't feel that I'm doubting your method as I'm not, I am just trying to pick your brain a bit in an effort to hone my skills more.

Just for my own understanding do you have any numbers on the people that call you back after the take away? IMO the take away is very powerful as I found that people want what they can't have I'm just currious would you attempt the take away if you have just recently sold a gidget via Blissful Ignorance, and through your probing concluded the customer would not purchase another Gidget from you or your company, or would you proceed with the one time sale?

Here's the thought behind this I've concluded for me I have a 20%-30% sucess rate with the take away so out of ten prospects that leaves 7-8 suspects that walk away, I'm trying to convert another sale or two out of that 7-8 and trying to get an idea if it's even worth it, or should I just focuss my attentions on that 2-3 and get the referal and move on? your thoughts on this would help me with my understanding of the situation, thanks.

~James - by Mr. Cesario
I do no take away or fear-of-loss manipulation or tactic to build my business. I first find out if the person initially wants or wants to look at what I offer. If the answer is NO I usually call back in a month or two.

When the answer is YES to my offer question modeled on the "High Probability Selling" process, I engage in an inquiry, a trust and respect conversation. Following that is usually setting a second appointment ear-to-ear or face-to-face IF there's a commitment of WANT TO AND WILL DO. The outcome doesn't always fit WANT TO AND WILL DO but as I've disqualified the 95+ % who are low probability prospects today closing numbers are high.

During the appointment/presentation I'm looking for mutual commitments of expectation and still ready to disqualify. In that conversation if fear-of-loss or take away becomes a point-of-interest it's because we've identified a real potential loss issue - it's not a tactic to produce a sale.

MitchM - by MitchM
Great point!

Depending on what you are selling, it could go either way.

A relatively small or inexpensive product that will not have a huge impact on the life or business of your customer would probably be best sold, regardless of how accurately the customer allows himself to weigh the benefits.

With larger, more high-impact transactions, like data management software, a vehicle or fleet of vehicles, consulting services, etc., it would be prudent to make sure that your customers perception of the product is congruent with it's actual benefits and drawbacks. - by jamesrobertstclair
Does anybody else have a comment on the Blissful Ignorance Effect? - by Skip Anderson
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