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I just returned from San Diego, where I participated in a 3-day course on advanced persuasion techniques. Led by Dr Eric Schaffer, Global CEO of Human Factors International, the seminar was called “PET” for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust. However, Dr Schaffer admits they call it PET only because it’s a better acronym than TEPC: Trust, Emotion, Persuasion and Commitment.


Trust comes first because if customers don’t trust you, they’ll never even enter a conversation.


As much as we hate to admit it, our purchase decisions are rarely based purely on logic. Emotion always enters into it — in fact it’s usually paramount. So to truly connect with your customers, you must do so emotionally. This involves uncovering their deep-seated needs. The discovery process is challenging, but if you skip this step, you’re unlikely to come up with messaging that truly resonates with customers.


Next you must persuade customers to take action. There are a host of techniques, some of which are downright diabolical if used for the wrong reasons. (Dr Schaffer repeated warned that there is “Potential for Dark Arts” in PET design.)


Finally, there are methods you can use to evoke commitment from customers, possibly even turning them into fanatics who will evangelize on your behalf.

In upcoming blog posts, I’ll give some specific examples of how PET principles can be applied. Many of these techniques will be familiar to anyone who’s worked in advertising or conversion optimization. The real value of PET is how it combines a vast quantity of proven principles and assembles them into a systematic methodology.

It probably goes without saying, but I highly recommend this course. Here’s a link to more information about PET design, including course description, fees and registration.