We are nearing the end of this five-part series on The Catalyst by Jonah Berger, and this week is one of my favorite concepts in the book because we see it everywhere we go, uncertainty.
If you haven’t listened to the other parts, check these out.
Part 1- Reactance
Part 2- Endowment
Part 3- Distance
Today I am sharing the four things you need to include in everything you share with your audience and your customers to decrease uncertainty and increase commitment.
But first, let’s talk about uncertainty.
The Uncertainty Tax
We buy everything online today.
That’s why scientists have conducted experiments on the power of choices.
More specifically, the effects of uncertainty.
Because change often involves uncertainty, and people are risk averse. So, if you give people a choice between a certain, good thing and an uncertain but potentially better thing, most people pick the sure thing.
Jonah provided copious examples of why people choose a certain thing, despite the unknown possibly being better. This devaluing of uncertain products is called the “ uncertainty tax,” and it’s a lot more prevalent than you think.
And this uncertainty makes people hit the pause button while halting people in place.
So how can we get people to overcome this barrier? Make things easier by reducing risk and letting people experience things for themselves.
Have you ever been to Costco?
The giant supermarket is notorious for grabbing products and putting them out for taste tests. Despite not having an intention to buy, most people take a bite and buy that product either right there or later.
Why is that? Trailbility.
According to Jonah, the easier it is to try something, the more people will use it, and the faster it catches on in life.
As you listen to these methods of trialability, I want you to listen through two lenses:
Where trialability has worked on you, and where you’ve had resistance because of uncertainty but changed your mind.
It’s our job as entrepreneurs to understand how powerful uncertainty is as a roadblock.
Remember, a Catalyst’s job is to lower uncertainty by making it easier for people to experience and evaluate new things by reducing friction and risk.
And there are four key ways to do this.
The number one way to reduce uncertainty is by harnessing freemium.
Freemium can be many things.
If you sell content, you can give away pieces of content for free like this podcast. Social media platforms and Youtube are other freemium outlets.
There are hundreds of successful companies that use Freemium to drive success.
The critical thing to remember is that Freemium isn’t about tricking people; it’s about encouraging people to upgrade by getting them to try before buying.
Where in your business can you create a Freemium model?
Is it a podcast? Is it a Youtube channel? More social media videos?
Choose one method today, be consistent with it, and you’ll start reducing uncertainty among your audience.
Reduce- Upfront Costs
Think about the last time you went to a gym. Maybe you were offered a 30-day trial, and the gym waved your initiation fee for joining on the spot.
Why do they do this?
They reduce uncertainty and make people more likely to take action by waving upfront costs.
I like to think of reducing upfront costs in three buckets.
People always want more of these because they are valuable assets.
As an entrepreneur, you need to think about all the ways you can reduce upfront costs to get a deeper commitment or an easy yes.
Jonah mentions ice cream shops in the book because they always give out samples. He says you’ll instantly reduce uncertainty if you can get people to switch their usual behavior by lowering the barriers with free samples, like in an ice cream shop.
Where can you start?
Is it a lead magnet?
Is it a free book for shopping?
Is it a webinar?
Is it a challenge?
Your job is to give your customers an experience to reduce uncertainty and make people more likely to take action.
Freemium and up-front reducing costs work if someone is interested in trying your services out, but what happens when they don’t know who you are?
You find ways to drive discovery.
Have you ever gone to a nail salon or gotten a massage?
They offer you complimentary upgrades. Naturally, you say yes, even if you weren’t looking to get an upgraded service, because it feels good.
What do you think happened? They drove discovery by giving it to you for free.
And guess what? When you come back next time, chances are you’ll spend more because they helped you experience the upgraded service.
I love doing this at events.
It’s one of the main reasons I am good at what I do. I’ll stay later to answer questions and coach for free. I do the same in my DM’s.
I’m driving discovery and teaching you what it’s like to work with me, just like this series of podcasts.
There are many ways you can drive discovery, and it’s up to you to figure out what feels the best for you and how to implement it in your customer journey.
Make It Reversible
The last way to reduce uncertainty is by making things reversible. It’s where money-back guarantees come to play.
Here is an example:
When I consult with people, I give them my phone number regardless of the time frame if something that we did feels unclear. I tell them I’m here to help you. I am your team in your corner.
Why? Just like reducing up-front costs, reducing back-end friction encourages trust and action.
Even airline tickets do this with a 24-hour cancellation policy.
Making it reversible means, we’re mitigating risk for our customers. We’re giving them ways out.
What can you do today in your business to reduce upfront costs and make them reversible?
Wrapping Part 4 Up
Catalyst constantly asks questions that reduce friction and upfront costs by making it easier for customers in their journey by including a freemium model. They look for ways to mitigate uncertainty by reversing it because if their customers like what they offer, they will always come back for more.
If you want to know how this applies to your business, make sure you send me a DM on Instagram to get a FREE worksheet so you can start being the Catalyst today.